Probiotics are live microbial food ingredients, which are beneficial to the consumers as they improve the intestinal microbial balance. The live microorganisms are perceived to confer specific health benefits when consumed in adequate amount in food. The microorganisms are measured in colony forming units. The primary factor driving the global success of probiotics is their direct relation to digestive health as individuals have become more health conscious across the globe. The probiotics market is segmented into probiotic products and probiotic ingredients.
With the probiotic strains acting as a common factor among manufacturers, taste and convenience continue to be the most important factors to secure the market share. Overall, the Probiotics Market indicates a flourishing market for functional food and beverage suppliers and manufacturers, wherein product innovation will be a key factor to increase the market share.
The issue of counterfeit products making unsubstantiated health claims in the market is diluting the image of authentic products. Moreover, the market faces stiff competition from other categories of functional and good-for-health foodstuffs that have significant market share as well as goodwill among consumers, such as products with lesser carbohydrates, products fortified with omega-3, and vitamins.
The Asia-Pacific region, owing to its high awareness of the benefits of probiotic yogurts and fermented milk, is the largest market for probiotics, followed by Europe. However, the market is growing rapidly in the U.S. as well. This is because the general affinity of the U.S. population towards probiotic dietary supplements and the concept of preventive healthcare are expected to drive the market in future due to which the sales of probiotic yogurts are already on the rise. The overall probiotic yogurt market is estimated to grow with a good compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The market size of probiotic dietary supplements accounted for a share of about 8.5% in 2012.
To capitalize on the growth trend in this market, several leading companies are quickly taking to new product launch as a growth strategy. The growing demand for probiotic products is forcing the global players to diversify their product range. The companies enjoying substantial market share include Yakult Honsha (Japan), Danone (France), and Nestle S.A. (Switzerland).