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US per capita spending on probiotic supplements expected to nearly double by 2016

By Elaine Watson , 02-Feb-2012
Last updated on 02-Feb-2012 at 16:40 GMT

Hudson: 'Here in the US, per capita spending on probiotic supplements is expected to nearly double by 2016 and overtake Japan'
Hudson: 'Here in the US, per capita spending on probiotic supplements is expected to nearly double by 2016 and overtake Japan'

Per capita spending on probiotic supplements is forecast to almost double over the next five years in the US, according to market researcher Euromonitor International.

Speaking at Pre-& Probiotics 2012 , a virtual conference and expo organized by NutraIngredients-USA and NutraIngredients yesterday, the market researcher’s head of health and wellness research Ewa Hudson said global sales of probiotic supplements were predicted to rise 48% from $2.7bn in 2011 to $4bn in 2016.

Within that, the strongest growth was coming from the US, which generated new sales of $140m in 2011 alone, she claimed. However, there were also strong sales in Italy, Russia and Brazil.

Here in the US, per capita spending on probiotic supplements is expected to nearly double by 2016 and overtake Japan.”

Global sales of probiotic foods and supplements predicted to grow by 50% from 2011-2016

However, significant growth is predicted for probiotics across the board, predicts Euromonitor, which forecasts that global sales of probiotic foods and supplements will surge by 50% in the next five years from $28bn in 2011 to around $42bn in 2016.

In 2011, the biggest revenue generator was drinking yogurt at $14bn, followed by spoonable yogurt at $11.3bn, supplements at $2.7bn and juice at $135m.

In 2016, sales are expected to rise to $42bn, with supplements expected to account for $4bn in sales – up 48% from 2011; spoonable yogurt for $17bn – up 50% from 2011; and drinking yogurt for $21bn - up 50% from 2011.

For yogurt, she said, the majority of growth is coming from emerging markets, particularly Brazil and China. However, there was also strong growth in the US, she said.

Probiotic yogurt grew faster than non-probiotic yogurt every year from 2006 to 2011 reaching nearly 35% of global yogurt sales in 2011.”

Ganeden: Claims are getting softer…

Mike Bush, vice president of business development at Ganeden, who was speaking at the same event, said consumer research showed interest in products that supported digestive and/or immune health was high across all ages and both genders – which came as a surprise.

While sports supplements represented an exciting growth opportunity for probiotics, the key to success in food and beverages was to supplement “normal” products that are consumed daily, from dairy products to cereals and juice to tea, coffee, snack bars and bread, he said.

As for communications, the science must be relevant to the consumer, he added, (so avoid discussing gene expression in mice).

“If you look at launches, claims are increasing but at the same time they are becoming a little softer. ‘Contains probiotics’ is the top claim consumers are looking for, or ‘supports digestive health’ and ‘supports immune health’."

The bottom line is that probiotics do not cause harm

Fellow speaker Dr. Glenn Gibson, professor of food microbiology at the University of Reading, UK, said: “Like any bacteria, gut microflora can be involved in disease onset, but most are benign and some can be very positive for health.

“The bottom line is that good probiotics are harmless, which is not something you can say about many interventions.”

As for probiotics research, he said: “Tools now exist to definitively and accurately determine microbial type in humans based around molecular biology so we have been able to develop genetic tools which allow the entire microflora of people to be assayed and determined without actually resorting to any cultural type of microbiology.

“These advances have been very useful for determining functional foods and probiotic integrity and functionality.”

Prebiotics: Growth for GOS?

As for prebiotics, while the market was currently dominated by inulin (which is derived from chicory root), dairy-based galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) showed just as much potential, argued Sarah Staley, vice president business development, FrieslandCampina Domo.

She said there had been a sharp rise in use of GOS in China, Japan, Vietnam, Germany and the Netherlands in recent years, although sales in North America were still very small.

While GOS ingredients have traditionally been used in infant formula and babyfoods, there had been an increase in their use in other products from yogurts, desserts, snacks and meal replacements to flavored milks, energy drinks and waters, as they were heat, cold and acid stable, she said.

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