One of the most rapidly progressive verticals of the global nutrition space, prebiotics market has come a long way since its inception, having now emerged as a niche entity in itself. With the increasing consumer spending on food and beverage products, the global prebiotics market has been expanding at a steady rate over the last few years. A gradual rise in consumer awareness regarding the benefits of including fiber rich food in their diet has also tremendously popularized this industry.
Science has established long since, that consuming prebiotic fiber improves digestive health and bone density, supports immunity, along with helping to manage weight. Albeit the remarkable increase in the consumption of supplements and health products, prebiotics in food products is still an emerging segment. As more consumers become mindful about the advantages of these fibers through registered dieticians and educational initiatives of food producers, the probiotics industry could witness an accelerated growth in the imminent future.
Evidence suggests that prebiotics in food and beverages assist in elevating the level of healthy bacteria already present in the gut. These bacteria are known to lower the risk of diseases and improve the overall heath, demonstrating the importance of the probiotics industry. The usefulness of these ingredients for ensuring the health infants were already understood long back, shown by the fact that a number of infant formula products with prebiotics are available in the market. However, as most customers did not know about the presence of helpful bacteria in the gut and the need to feed them, the category took a longer time to markedly penetrate the consumer food and beverages sector.
A key factor driving the prebiotics industry worldwide is that the ingredients like Inulin and Fructooligosaccarides (FOS) are found naturally, in food like onions, tomatoes, artichoke and bananas. The mention of natural sources on a food and beverage product considerably enhances its identity as a healthy consumable in the eyes of a health-conscious consumer, while the wide availability of these food sources help to meet production demands. From adolescents to the elderly, these ingredients can be supplied for products meant to boost calcium absorption or treat people suffering from short-bowel syndrome, diarrhea, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibroses and other disorders.
How scientific research has supported the adoption of prebiotics in food and transformed the industry outlook:
Few years ago, a study revealed in the British Journal of Nutrition confirmed that prebiotics promote the absorption of minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium in the body. It is a well known fact these minerals are essential for the retention of strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Supporting this claim, another study had shown that the uptake of calcium in the body was increased notably by consuming just 8gms of prebiotics per day. Such findings have helped to drive food and beverage companies towards the prebiotics industry to develop nutritional offerings like cereals, fermented meat as well as dairy products. The journal has also reported that these ingredients help to improve bowel consistency and frequency, lowering the risk of contracting gastroenteritis and other infections.
A research which compared the calcium absorption in teenage girls aged 11 to 14, who had a calcium-rich diet, consisted giving Inulin to the subjects. It was found that as compared to the placebo group, the girls taking the prebiotic ingredient displayed up to 18% increase in the absorption of calcium, greatly cutting down the possibility of developing osteoporosis. It has been established that prebiotics in food can enhance calcium-absorption without hindering the absorption of other essential minerals. Statistically, over 8.9 million fractures worldwide are attributed to osteoporosis while more 75 million people suffer from the condition in the U.S., Europe and Japan combined.
According to medical experts, the more bone a person has at the time of peak bone mass, which is ideally reached between ages 18 to 25, the less is the probability of that person breaking a bone or developing osteoporosis later in life. Undoubtedly, with mounting efforts by physicians and nutritionists to enhance the diet of their patients, the prebiotics market will expand tremendously when food and beverage producers look to supply healthier alternatives to traditional products.
An overview of existent food and beverage products that are representative of the prebiotics industry expansion:
- Recently, global cereal brand Kellogg’s introduced its HI (Happy Inside) product which consists of key nutrients and fibers to maintain as well as improve the gut health, including prebiotics, probiotics and other fiber. Conventional wisdom says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the company is naturally looking to exploit the vast prospects present in the market. Kellogg’s had quoted a study which showed only 15% of its customers are aware about prebiotics, indicating the huge untapped demographics breakfast cereal companies can target.
- A renowned producer of fruit-based energy drinks, Keep Moving, Inc., sells its products in pouches and is part of a promising application area for the prebiotics market. Keep Moving adds 6g prebiotic fiber from acacia to each of its servings and has reported a notable increase in sales after it rebranded its product name to gutzy for communicating its potential in maintaining gut health.
- In May this year, Dairy Crust had announced it would be launching a prebiotic drink to be sold as a syrup in small quantities. Aimed at stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, the drink was already being supplied to food producers, along with animal feed and infant formula companies. The move represents the expansive reach of the prebiotics market, which is gradually finding its way into homes through different products.
Unveiling a novel approach for educating more consumers about the significance of prebiotics
The prebiotics industry can be expected to witness an augmented growth rate if experts in different segments come together to educate consumers and market products responsibly. Freedom Foods launched a unique product range constituted of prebiotic resistant starch and fiber, Barley Plus, which is developed using the BarleyMax grain for improving gut health. To better commercialize Barley Plus range of nutritional bars and cereals in the U.S., the company worked with registered dieticians at retailers locally and boosted the reach of its products in over 2,000 stores. With the help of the dieticians, the company decided to conduct a gut reboot camp spanning 28 days, an initiative it had first piloted with some stores in New Jersey.
Expounding on the company’s efforts to educate the consumers, the camp involved asking consumers to switch their cereal with Barley Plus products and get 5 minutes of incidental physical exercise daily for 28 days. It was found that the program not only assisted the company increase its sales, but also helped the consumers who participated in the camp. Essentially, Freedom Foods has taken an innovative approach to reach customers in way that commercializes their products and increasing consumer awareness simultaneously. Dieticians promoted the brand and their regular interactions with customers made them a prominent source information. Undoubtedly, similar means of product targeting would help other food and beverage companies expand their market penetration, invariably fueling the prebiotics industry growth.
In a nutshell, the present dynamics of the global prebiotics industry are highly concentrated around changing consumer preferences and rising awareness among not only customers but also nutrition product manufacturers regarding the significance of prebiotics. Powered by a favorable regulatory spectrum and the discernible inclination toward healthy diet patterns, the global prebiotics industry size has been forecast to cross USD 8.5 billion by 2024.
Global Market Insights, Inc. has a report titled, “Prebiotics Market Size By Ingredient (Inulin, GOS, FOS, MOS), By Application (Animal Feed, Food & Beverages [Dairy, Cereals, Baked Goods, Fermented Meat, Dry Foods], Dietary Supplements [Food, Nutrition, Infant Formulations]), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2017 – 2024” available at https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/prebiotics-market