Europe is the second largest global market for probiotics after Asia-Pacific, cornering a share estimated to be 25% in 2016. Growth in demand for probiotics in the region is also likely to maintain a fast pace over the 2016 - 2021 analysis period. Germany and the United Kingdom are the two largest probiotics markets in Europe, with a combined share estimated at about 55% in 2016, with the United Kingdom also expected to be the fastest growing. By product type, dietary supplements and functional foods & beverages are the largest, as well as the fastest growing segments.
Probiotics is defined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as live micro-organisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.
Prevention and cure of disorders, such as lactose intolerance and inflammatory bowel disease are some of the benefits offered by probiotics, with rising health-consciousness levels and wider access to probiotic dietary supplements being the major factors sustaining growth. The past decade has been witness to the launch of more than 500 food & beverage probiotic products, which have garnered exceptional response in terms of acceptance. Some of the factors implicated in causes of digestive disorders, bloating and reduction in resistance to infections include poor and not-in-time diet, age and stress levels. Studies have revealed that consuming products enhanced with probiotics has been successful in moderating these conditions to a large extent.
Manufacturers and suppliers of functional foods, in particular, have gained wider margins because of the seal of approval granted to probiotics. However, the players would need to focus on product innovations in order to account for greater market share in the dynamic and ever-evolving field of probiotics. In fact, companies, such as Japan-based Yakult Honsha and Denmark-based CHR Hansen have been successful in developing patented strains of micro-organisms, with the claim of having effect on specific health conditions. In addition, a raft of probiotic ingredient suppliers has also demonstrated success in developing bespoke strains of micro-organisms capable of being incorporated into a range of food products.
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