China Leads the Global Probiotic Boom
Bacteria are often considered dirty things, cause disease, and are bad for your body in general, but there are actually good and bad bacteria!
Probiotics are good for your body, especially live bacteria and yeasts in your digestive system. They are beneficial bacteria for the body because they help keep your gut healthy and strong. They also help your immune system fight off harmful bacteria when you have too much of them in your body. Probiotics are a kind of functional bacteria that help regulate the gut microbiome by fighting bad bacteria because these bad bacterias are the biggest problem that puts the body’s system out of balance.
How Many Types of Probiotics?
There are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most come from both groups.
Lactobacillus is probably the most common probiotic. And consumers can find this kind of probiotic in yogurt and other fermented foods through their daily purchases. Different strains can help relieve diarrhea and help people who cannot digest lactose, which is the sugar in milk.
People always find bifidobacterium in some milk and dairy products. It may help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, IBS for short, and some other conditions.
Saccharomyces Boulardii is a yeast, and it exists in probiotics. It may help fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.
How Do Probiotics Work?
The main role of probiotics is to maintain balance in the body. You can even think of manipulating your body to operate in a neutral state.
When humans start to get sick, it means that harmful bacteria have entered the body and started multiplying. This situation creates an imbalance in the system between harmful bacteria and probiotics. And probiotics are an extra line of defense that the human body can rely on to save the situation.
- It boosts your immune function and controls inflammation.
- It supports your body during digestion.
- It helps vitamin production.
- It regulates harmful bacteria and prevents you from getting sick.
- It helps cells that line your gut prevent toxic substances you ingest through food or drink from entering your bloodstream.
And recently, as consumers seek out functional ingredients in food and beverage products that can improve their health, probiotics are experiencing a boom in global demand, especially in China.
Probiotics are functional bacteria that help regulate a person’s gut microbiome by fighting “bad” bacteria that throw the system out of balance. Nutritional supplements, once primarily associated with yogurt and kefir to support digestion, are now added to everything from cereals to juices.
In the Asia Pacific, product launches with digestive health claims increased by 23% between 2016 and 2021. In 2020, China surpassed the United States and Europe to become the world’s largest probiotic yogurt and supplement sales market.
In Europe, sales of probiotic supplements, probiotic yogurt, and yogurt products reached $10.2 billion in 2019, and the region accounted for nearly one-third of global consumption of probiotic supplements. In North America, where the U.S. dominates the probiotics market, the probiotics market is expected to reach $14.28 billion by 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence.
What Probiotics Can Improve Your Body?
This growing demand has spurred manufacturers to expand the use of probiotics. Research in recent years has explored and discovered links between probiotic-supported gut health and major organs such as the brain, lungs, and skin. The gut microbiome affects a wide range of health problems and has also been shown to help control inflammation and boost immunity.
With the impact of Covid-19 still lingering globally, there is an opportunity for global manufacturers to take advantage of the benefits probiotics can provide for personal health. The study found that almost three-fifths of U.S. adults are looking for foods that boost gut health or microbiome. And, Americans’ annual consumption of yogurt will increase from 13.4 pounds in 2010 to 13.8 pounds in 2021.
Manufacturers Invest in Probiotic-Infused Products
Consumers’ minds have a growing awareness of the relationship between probiotics, gut health, and overall health. However, there is still an opportunity for the market to grow if companies educate consumers about the benefits of probiotics. In 16 countries, 48% of people consume probiotics every day or almost every day. Meanwhile, 71% were interested in further education on the benefits of probiotics. Currently relying mainly on the packaging and online resources to deepen their understanding.
In Europe, where the EFSA, the organization full named European Food Safety Authority, has taken a tough stance on labeled health claims. S o many consumers are looking to other sources of information to help them make purchasing decisions, which offers manufacturers an opportunity to educate consumers and spark interest in their products.
The Importance of A “Clean Label”
The focus on gut health reflects another trend: clean labeling. As more consumers focus on how the microbiome supports their overall health through the gut, they are also starting to focus on how other ingredients affect their overall health. As part of this trend, there has been an increase in clean-label products that are free of hormones, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
And gut health will be a key and largest growth area for U.S. personalized nutrition brands throughout 2023 due to the development of more user-friendly microbiome test kits and the importance of gut health to U.S. consumers. Personalized nutrition in the U.S. is far from being a niche category and is firmly moving out of the early adopter stage to enjoy mainstream appeal.
1. Microbiome Testing to see 50.5% growth in 2023
Personalized nutrition products are still dominated by surveys and questionnaires, with such methods accounting for nearly 82% of U.S. personalized nutrition product sales in 2021, according to data collected by the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). In contrast, microbiome testing accounted for only 8.1%, followed by biomarker testing with 5.7%, and genetic testing with 4.6%.
Crucially, however, these methods provide more accurate personalization by analyzing an individual’s microbiome, genes or biomarkers and will see the highest growth in the coming years. Microbiome testing leads the way, forecast to grow 50.5% in 2023, while survey-based nutritional testing will grow by 26.3%.
2. Motivation: Gut health is America’s top health concern
Microbiome testing is currently the most popular advanced testing method. But it has to admit that the testing method is invasive and unpleasant because it requires consumers to collect stool samples and then send these samples to a laboratory for analysis.
This may be due to the importance of gastrointestinal health to millions of American consumers. In 2021, more than a quarter of U.S. consumers say this is their top health concern, up from 22.7% in 2017.
3. Non-Invasive Testing Methods: Differ from microbiome testing
As testing methods develop and become less invasive, consumers interested in gut health but previously put off by the undeniable “nausea factor” of microbiome sampling may join.
Therefore, developing more user-friendly processes and products is a key improvement area that the company is already delivering. The market can be changed by making consumers more satisfied with the test itself.
4. “A Virtuous Circle”
Regular testing improves understanding of gut health. As researchers learn more about the gut microbiome, so does the ability of companies to deliver personalized products optimized for gut health. They are also supported by the fact that many microbiomes plan to conduct regular sampling, accumulating large amounts of data in the process that they can use to produce better products.
The microbiome has long been the most complex challenge for nutritional products, a system that both affects and is affected by every system in the body. But personalized nutrition may build a scientific foundation that brings gut health one step closer to fulfilling its full function.
5. Cost Issue? A Hurdle!
Cost, however, is a major hurdle for one-third of U.S. consumers. If you ask consumers why they don’t currently use personalized nutrition services to get dietary supplements, 33% of respondents say the service is too expensive. This is a “sobering” fact for industry players. However, there are other reasons for this as well.
Still, looking at some of the leading personalized nutrition players targeting gut health through advanced testing methods reveals differences in pricing. Microbiome company DayTwo, for example, creates personalized meal plans based on an analysis of an individual’s microbiome, with plans ranging from $499 to $515. And gut health specialist Sun Genomics, which creates customized prebiotic and probiotic formulas for consumers based on microbiome analysis, is priced between $95 and $110. There are other lower service pricing as well. Regardless, once they join, personalized nutrition users focus on the results they receive. The Nutrition Business Journal surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who are current or discontinued using a personalized nutrition plan and found that most changed their diet or nutrition after receiving their results: one-third said they started taking dietary supplements, and a third said they had changed their eating habits.