Russian probiotic market booming (with medical backing)

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Physician Medicine Russia

Russian probiotic market booming (with medical backing)
Russia’s probiotic market that has shown annual growth rates of around 50% in recent years and settled closer to 10%, is benefitting from medical profession support, according to a leading paediatrician.

The Russian State Medical University’s Dr Leyla Namazova-Baranova told NutraIngredients that probiotics were heavily researched and supported for varying conditions in Russia and other former Soviet-controlled states like the Ukraine and Hungary.

“Probiotics have for a long time been respected by the medical profession in areas like immunity and children’s infections and considered normal treatment for different diseases,” ​said Dr Namazova-Baranova (pictured), a member of the standing committee of the International Pediatrics Association, and the Executive Committee of the Union of Pediatricians of Russia.

“The trend has grown in the past ten years. Probiotics are now widely used in different fields of medicine: As rehabilitation after antibiotic intake, immuno-modulation, restoration of digestion and nutrient absorption. We also know about such effects as atherosclerosis’ prevention, metabolic optimisation, anti-allergy.”

Strong research tradition

The state of paediatric science, much of it conducted by Russian researchers, was showcased at a recent meeting in Moscow where more than 40 specialists gathered to discuss the status of the probiotic scientific literature.

They concluded various probiotic bacteria could improve the health of pre-term infants by strengthening immune systems and help prevent gastrointestinal disturbances.

Euromonitor figures put the Russian market at €340m, with about €140m of that in probiotic food-pharma supplements, and €200 in probiotic yoghurts. But supplements are growing faster at 10% compared to 7% for yoghurts.

IMS Heath analyst Andrey Lebedev observed: "During the last few years this market has been showing significant growth and we can expect that this trend would continue during the next 2-3 years under condition that no dramatic changes would happen in the Russian market."

Advertising pressure

Dr Namazova-Baranova said child-targeted liquid forms, pills and tablets available from brands such as Hylak Forte, Bifiform Baby drops, Linex and Acipol were most popular among Russian doctors and paediatricians.

“Brand awareness very much depends on advertising pressure,”​ she said. “Medical doctors pay attention to product effectiveness and safety, quality of clinical studies and their own experience. That is why ‘popular OTC brand’ sometimes are not equal to the brand, which is mostly recommended by doctors.”

That Moscow congress was sponsored by Ferrosan, the Danish supplements company that has probiotic supplements brands called Idoform and Bifiform and which was purchased by Pfizer for an undisclosed sum in February.

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