Japan is the largest market for probiotics in Asia-Pacific, with an estimated share of about 45% in 2016 with a revenue of USD 6.76 billion. Probiotic functional foods & beverages account for a market share of 85% in 2016 in Japan probiotics market, with consumption of yogurt being highly widespread in the country. In terms of growth, however, demand for dietary supplements is likely to outpace other segments. By application, regular usage of probiotics is most common in Japan, with preventive and therapeutic measures also gaining wider acceptance.
The top three segments in the Japanese functional packaged foods sector for 2015 were dairy, confectionery, and bakery products. Dairy records a significant growth rate and is expected to continue to grow, at a CAGR of 14% during the forecast period, 2018 - 2023. Prevention and cure of 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. The past decade has witnessed the launch of more than 500 food & beverage probiotic products, which have garnered exceptional response in terms of acceptance.
The beneficial effects of food with added live microbes (probiotics) on human health are being increasingly promoted by health professionals. Probiotic products available in the markets today are usually in the form of fermented milks and yoghurts. However, with an increase in the consumer vegetarianism globally, there is also a demand for the vegetarian probiotic products.
Probiotic yogurts and beverages are widely available and are ideal healthy snacks for busy Japanese workers. The market players 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.
Feed probiotics are used to improve animal weight gain and feed efficiency, and also to maintain and promote normal health status of domestic animals and fowls. Feed probiotics are used widely by the major mills as feed ingredients for piglets, calves, sows and fowls. The Japanese probiotic market in dietary supplements was valued at USD 0.325 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.98% during the forecast period. The market will continue to experience growth on account of increasing traction for dietary products by general population.
Probiotics market for preventive medicinal applications account for bulk of the Japanese probiotics market, with a share of approximately 52%. The Japanese probiotic market in preventive application was valued at USD 4.42 billion in 2016. Probiotics based products are available as both food and drugs in Japan, and companies manufacturing probiotic based products claim health benefits for ailments like blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, bone minerals (especially calcium), and dental health.
Tokyo based Morinaga milk offers products such as functional food and infant formulae with “Bifidobacteria”. The benefits include intestinal regulation, protection from infection, and immune modulation. Milk drinks, lactic acid drinks and yogurt products containing BB536 are now among Morinaga Milk's core products.
Some of the prominent players in the market include Arla Foods, Bongrain SA, General Mills, Frieslandcampina, Dean Foods, and Fonterra.