While the share of South America in the global market for probiotics is the smallest, estimated to be 12% in 2016, the region’s demand for these products is expected to post a healthy growth. Brazil forms the largest as well as the fastest growing regional market for probiotics in South America, with an estimated share of 52% in 2016 and a forecast CAGR of about 11% between 2016 and 2021. By segment, dietary supplements and functional foods & beverages constitute the two largest segments, which are also projected to be fast growing.
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 that 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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