“The domestic probiotic market, which is comparatively nascent now, valued at US$12m in 2011, is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 11% by 2016,” said a report by global research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
“The future of probiotic foods is bright, as Asian consumers perceive these products to be indispensable in nature, specifically for enhancing health and wellness.”
Customisation is needed
According to the report, there is a need for developing customised probiotic strains for specific applications to promote growth in the country.
But it is equally important, it said, that the advantages of consuming probiotic-fortified foods are explicitly communicated to end-users, specifically in nascent regions like India.
India specifically has an inherent bug of sorts in the market as products like probiotic supplements are treated like pharmaceutical drugs by consumers. This results in prescription-based consumption trend, the report said.
“The current market trend is to use probiotic cultures to address specific conditions like allergy and travellers’ diarrhoea and lower the risk of nosocomial infections in children in the Asia-Pacific region,” the report said.
Young to drive growth
The report also pointed out that the early adopter segment of the population has driven consumption of probiotics in yoghurt, beverages, ice creams, and other food products.
“With boosting immunity being its prime USP, the probiotic market is primarily focused on promoting consumption in this population segment, which includes children and young families,” it said.
“When coupled with hectic working lifestyles and shifting food habits from homemade food to readymade processed food, the youth represents a huge market opportunity for health and wellness product manufacturers, especially probiotic manufacturers,” the report said.
The report recommended that to fulfill the rise in demand, different manufacturers would need to come together and develop strategic relationships to synergise their strengths and thus overcome any individual weaknesses.
“Such alliances have been successful for some of the largest market participants in APAC, and could be replicated by other companies, too,” it added.