China leads the global boom for probiotics30 Mar 2022
Probiotics are experiencing a boom in global demand - particularly in China - as consumers look for functional ingredients in food and drink products that can improve their health.
Probiotics are functional bacteria that help regulate a person’s gut microbiome by fighting off 'bad' bacteria that unbalance the system. What was once a nutritional supplement primarily associated with yoghurt and kefir to support digestion has now become an addition in a wide variety of products from cereal to juice.
In the Asia-Pacific region, product launches with digestive health claims have grown by 23% between 2016 and 2021, according to Mintel. In 2020, China surpassed both the US and Europe to become the top global market for probiotic yoghurt and supplement sales.
In Europe, sales of probiotic supplements, probiotic yoghurt and sour milk products attained $10.2 billion in 2019, and the region accounted for nearly a third of global probiotic supplement consumption. In North America, where the probiotic market is dominated by the US, the market for probiotics is anticipated to reach $14.28 billion (€13.01 billion) by 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence.
Research explores what probiotics can improve in the body
This growth in demand has spurred the expansion of probiotic use by manufacturers. Research in recent years has explored and found links between probiotic-supported gut health and major organs including the brain, lungs and skin. Gut microbiota affect a wide range of health concerns and have been shown to also help manage inflammation as well as improve immunity.
With the effects of Covid-19 still fresh in mind, global manufacturers have had the opportunity to play to the advantages that probiotics can provide for an individual's health. Mintel research found that almost three in five US adults are seeking foods that encourage a healthy gut or microbiome. The US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found that Americans' annual consumption of yoghurt has increased from 13.4 pounds (6.08 kilograms) in 2010 to 13.8 pounds (6.26 kilograms) in 2021.
Manufacturers invest in infusing products with probiotics
Awareness of the link between probiotics, gut health and overall wellbeing is growing, but there is still an opportunity for the market to grow if companies educating consumers about the benefits of probiotics. A survey from Danish ingredients manufacturer Chr. Hansen found that across 16 countries, 48% of respondents consumed probiotics daily or almost daily. Of those surveyed, 71% were interested in further education about the benefits of probiotics and were currently primarily reliant on packaging and online resources to deepen their understanding.
In Europe where the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has taken a tough stance on label health claims, many consumers are searching for alternate sources of information to help them make purchase decisions. This presents an opportunity for manufacturers to educate consumers and drive interest in their products.
Twin trends: Clean label and functional health
The focus on gut health mirrors another trend: clean label. With more consumers paying attention to how microbiota can support their overall health through their gut, they have also begun to look at how other ingredients affect their overall wellbeing. As part of this trend, there has been an increase in clean-label products that are free from hormones, pesticides and artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
Sales of clean label ingredients are expected to jump from $38.8 billion (€35.34 billion) in 2021 to $64.1 billion (€58.38 billion) in 2026 according to data from Market Data Forecast.
Functional food in Japan centres on health and proving claims
8 Dec 2022
The latest Japanese functional food and drink trends put health and product efficacy firmly on the production agenda for new releases.Read more
Philippines to restrict trans fats in processed foods
5 Dec 2022
Use of artificial trans fats in pre-packed processed foods will be restricted in the Philippines as the country looks to eliminate its consumption from other sources too.Read more
Food brands are getting creative to help customers save
23 Nov 2022
As consumers are hit by the cost-of-living crisis, retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK and Target and Kroger in the US are rolling out various strategies to help people save money and reduce food waste.Read more
China bans celebrity endorsement of health and formula foods
22 Nov 2022
China is to ban celebrity endorsement or advertising of certain products, completely banning high profile figures with “lapsed morals” as the country attempts to drive society towards “core socialist values”.Read more
Quorn and Nature’s Fynd among founding members of the Fungi Protein Association
15 Nov 2022
Global fungi protein manufacturers have formed the Fungi Protein Association (FPA), a trade body that promotes fungi as a sustainable protein in public policy and conducts consumer research on the ingredient.Read more
Ice cream innovation draws on health and wellness trend
19 Oct 2022
Manufacturers are formulating ice cream ranges with probiotics, protein, and plant-based ingredients to appeal to growing health and wellness demand.Read more
Editors’ choice: Our roundup of the most innovative global dairy products
6 Oct 2022
From omega-3 goat milk in the Netherlands to banana-flavoured cheese from China, the global dairy space is an exciting area full of new and innovative products which are constantly changing perceptions in the sector.Read more
Editor’s choice: Our roundup of the most innovative dairy alternative products
19 Sep 2022
There is so much innovation in the alternative dairy space it can be hard to keep track. From sesame milk to bean-based cheese, our editors have rounded up of some products that showcase the trends in this constantly-evolving category.Read more
How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges
12 Aug 2022
Today’s consumers want plant-based milk products that mimic the desirable sensorial attributes of their non-dairy alternative counterparts. In response, brands and manufacturers are focusing on taste, texture, education and sustainability.Read more
Dairy industry explores advanced technologies to digitalise global production
11 Aug 2022
Dairy manufacturers are increasingly integrating automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into their production plants in order to meet growing global demand for dairy products, particularly in Asia.Read more