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A Guide to Probiotics Market Trends and Opportunities

The global growth of the probiotics market and digestive health products market is being shaped by shifting consumer attitudes and purchasing behaviors. With more consumers turning to functional foods and beverages for digestive health benefits, product manufacturers have a massive opportunity to create probiotic fortified products that go beyond traditional applications, such as yogurt and supplements, and diversify into unique products that offer improved nutritional value. Meeting consumers within their health and wellness journey is the key to meeting their needs. But it all comes down to understanding the probiotics market.

In this guide you will find:

  • A snapshot of the global digestive health and probiotic market trends
  • Top digestive and probiotic market growth drivers
  • Unique insights into consumer sentiment and expectations for healthy foods and beverages
  • Product insights and innovation ideas
  • Information about probiotic ingredient solutions that meet formulation and consumer demand
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The Global Digestive Health and Probiotics Market Size

The growth of the digestive health category has been a nutrition industry success story. Ingredients with digestive health benefits now command very high levels of consumer awareness, and this is particularly true of probiotics.

Market Stats: 

  • The 2018, the global probiotics market was estimated to be worth $49.4 billion; by 2023, it is projected to reach $69.3 billion, growing at a CAGR of 7%.1
  • Global probiotic market statistics project the market to grow to $69 billion at a CAGR of 7.0% through 2023.2
  • Functional foods and beverages are by far the biggest segment for probiotics, currently standing at $40 billion and representing more than 82% of the total market.3

What Are the Differences in the Global Digestive Health and Probiotic Markets Regionally?

North America Probiotic Market Snapshot

With one in four U.S. consumers reporting digestive health issues on an “almost daily” basis, gut health has become a top health concern.3 Demand for digestive-related products in North America is growing, and food and beverage producers are responding by aggressively launching products that offer positive digestive health benefits.

Market Stats: 

  • The U.S. market for digestive products grew 12% between 2012 and 2017.4
  • In Canada, foods and beverages fortified with probiotics are expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% through 2022.5

Icon Map of North America

Latin America Map

Latin America Probiotic Market Snapshot

In Latin America the expanding middle class and diet are influencing the digestive health market. Like most growing economic regions, an expanding middle class with more disposable income, combined with unhealthy eating habits, has been a major driver in the growth of digestive product sales.

Market Stats: 

  • Brazil and Mexico account for 70% of regional probiotic market growth in Latin America.6
  • Brazil forms the largest and fastest-growing regional market for probiotics in Latin America with a forecast CAGR of about 11% through 2022.7
  • Dietary supplements and functional foods and beverages are the two largest segments and are also projected to grow quickly.8

 

Asia Pacific Probiotic Market Snapshot

Japan holds the distinction of being the “country of origin” for probiotics, first brought to market in 1930, so it’s no surprise that Asia is the largest market for probiotic foods and beverages. China, however, leads the way.

Market Stats: 

  • China holds an estimated 35% of Asia Pacific probiotic market, helping drive the region’s estimated 8.5% CAGR through 2022.9
  • Opportunities for probiotic fortified food and beverages with digestive health benefits are driven by increased interests in key consumer groups including an expanding population aged 60 and older, as well as families with children.

Icon map of Asia

Icon map of Europe

Europe Probiotic Market Snapshot

In Europe, harsher regulations make it more difficult to bring probiotic products to the market. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has banned the use of the word “probiotics” from appearing on any product, as the definition of probiotics is seen to be a health claim in and of itself: “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” While regulations may impact product innovations from a regulatory perspective, consumer demand and overall interest in probiotics for digestive health remains strong.

Market Stats: 

  • Europe, the second-largest food and beverage probiotic market (behind APAC), is expected to show moderate gains, posting a 3.5% CAGR through 2022.8
  • Europe is second to the Asia Pacific region in the number of foods and beverages launched over the past year with a digestive health claim.9
What's Driving Growth in the Digestive and Probiotic Markets?

A More Proactive Consumer Turns to Nutrition

With nutrition in mind, consumers are turning to foods and beverages to proactively support their digestive health and and overall wellness.

infographic of consumer food and beverage needs

Gut Health is Top of Mind 

Consumers who want to support their digestive health may do so for a wide range of reasons. One survey asked:

“Why are you interested in improving digestive health?”10

  • 35% of respondents said “I want to feel more relaxed”.
  • 33% said “I want to feel more active”.
  • 30% said they wanted to improve their bodies’ natural defenses.

The Microbiome Connection

With food and beverage a top driver for wellness, today’s consumers are both more aware of, and more interested in, the impact of nutrition on the microbiome.

  • Over the past five years, the number of searches for “Microbiome” and “Gut-Brain Axis” grew by 267% and 204% respectively.
  • Over the past five years, the number of internet searches for “Gut Health” has grown by 669%, with the largest leap occurring in early 2019.11

 

Why are Consumers Turning to Probiotics to Support their Digestive Heath?

Awareness of Probiotics for Digestive Health is Growing

We surveyed over 11,000 health-conscious consumers in 14 countries. When asked which health benefits they associated with probiotics, they demonstrated particularly high levels of understanding of the importance of probiotics to gut wellness. As our research shows, consumers across the world have not only heard of probiotics, but also understand the digestive health benefits they can provide. This leaves a big opportunity for including probiotics with digestive health benefits into foods and beverages.

Globally, 54% of consumers are already aware that probiotics can promote good digestive health.12

What Do Consumers Expect From Probiotic Foods And Beverages?

Transparency

With more consumers doing their own research about the efficacy of probiotics and the important of digestive health, it is no surprise that many of the top purchase drivers directly related to ingredient transparency. When asked:

 “What would encourage purchase of particular healthy lifestyle products?” Answers included:13

  • I recognize active ingredients.
  • I did my own research on ingredient/product benefits.
  • I saw research or data claims for the product.

Watch the video on the influence of transparency on probiotics market consumer demand. 

 

Scientific Substantiation

In a competitive digestive health and probiotic market space, in which consumers are often skeptical about the claims made for functional products 14, the only sustainable strategy is to use high-quality ingredients supported by scientific substantiation. Manufacturers should look for research-supported probiotics that give consumers a clear point of reference when they’re browsing shelves. Find a partner that can help formulate probiotic ingredients into foods and beverages, while helping to navigate innovation challenges to solve current and future needs.

What Type of Probiotic Products do Consumers Want?

Go Beyond Traditional Applications

Opportunity for innovation comes from understanding the product format consumers are most interested in. So perhaps the most important trend is the growing demand for probiotics beyond the traditional categories. Our proprietary consumer research asked consumers if they would be interested in purchasing products across various categories that contained ingredients that promoted digestive health.

It’s probably unsurprising that yogurt and yogurt-based drinks emerged as the most popular option at 48%. Yet, digestive health market trends are showing significant interest in less traditional categories.15

The proprietary consumer research asked consumers if they would be interested in purchasing products across various categories that contained ingredients that promoted digestive health.

Globally, the top digestive health food and beverage categories included:

bar graph of product preferences

In North America

Top 4 product formats consumers are interested in purchasing if they contained ingredients that promoted the digestive health benefits:

  1. Yogurt and yogurt-based drinks
  2. Milk and non-dairy drinks
  3. Fruit / vegetable juices
  4. Cereal /granola/ breakfast bars

Latin America

Top 4 product formats consumers are interested in purchasing if they contained ingredients that provided digestive health benefits:

  1. Yogurt and yogurt-based drinks
  2. Cerealgranola/breakfast bars
  3. Fruit/vegetable juices
  4. Snacks

Asia Pacific

Top 4 product formats consumers are interested in purchasing if they contained ingredients that promoted the digestive health benefits:

  1. Yogurt and yogurt-based drinks
  2. Fruit/vegetable juices
  3. Snacks
  4. Milk and non-dairy drinks

Europe

Top 4 product formats consumers are interested in purchasing if they contained ingredients that promoted the digestive health benefits:

  1. Yogurt and yogurt-based drinks
  2. Fruit/vegetable juices
  3. Cereal/granola/breakfast bars
  4. Milk and non-dairy drinks
How Can Probiotic Ingredients Meet Demand?

Innovation Opportunities with Spore-Forming Probiotics

In short, food and beverage innovators curious about digestive health and probiotic ingredients for end-use products are trying to better understand both market opportunities and limitations for product development. Globally, what remains clear is that in order to capture unmet demand for probiotic products, companies must:

Start with product diversification — including exploring new food and beverage formats.

Product manufacturers will find opportunities to diversify their product offerings by creating innovative foods and beverages fortified with probiotics. It is important to note that not all probiotic strains survive manufacturing, so look for strains that can remain viable through most manufacturing processes. Further, sourcing a probiotic from a company that has taste, nutrition and formulation expertise will help create products that meet regional expectations for “good for you” yet better tasting foods and beverages.

Look for probiotic strains supported by science.

Education plays a big role in understanding the health benefits associated with probiotics. While interest in foods and beverages to promote better health is growing, manufacturers need to look for functional ingredients that can easily convey a digestive health benefit while offering flexible formulation attributes for food and beverage developments. Choosing a science-backed probiotic that is well-positioned and can be efficiently formulated into “better for you” versions of everyday foods and beverages will reach an untapped consumer base.

Source spore-forming probiotics for manufacturing and shelf stability.

Consumer demand, brand recognition and regulatory concerns play a role in many markets. Manufacturers should look for research-supported, branded probiotics that give consumers a clear point of reference when they’re browsing shelves. Find a partner that can help formulate probiotic ingredients into foods and beverages, while helping to navigate innovation challenges to solve current and future needs.

Learn more about probiotic market growth and innovation opportunities.

The Solution? Spore-Forming Probiotics Meet Demand for Diversity

Demand can be met with Bacillus coagulans probiotic strains. These are hardy, spore-forming bacteria with a structure that is much more resistant to extremes of pH, heat, cold, and pressure than vegetative cells, making them a better fit for fortification of everyday foods and beverages. GanedenBC30® (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) is the leading spore-forming probiotic ingredient for foods and beverages. It is a patented probiotic which can be incorporated into most everyday foods and beverages.

Get More Insights
Learn more from our white paper on how GanedenBC30helps meet the needs of consumers.

Sources:
1, 2 MarketsandMarkets, Global Probiotic Market Forecast to 2023, Dec 2018.
3, 6, 8 MarketsandMarkets Probiotic Market, Sept. 2017
4 Innova Market Insights, 2017
5 FONA International report, 2017
7 Euromonitor, 2017
9 Modar Intelligence, 2017
10 Mintel GNPD Analysis 2013–2017
11, 12 Mintel – Attitudes towards Healthy Eating – UK, February 2019
13, 15, 16, 17  Kerry Global Consumer Survey – Digestive & Immune Health, 2019
14 Mintel Nutrition & Performance Drinks, US, March 2018