Probiotics market set to hit 120m by 2013, report says

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Nutrition

The European food and beverage probiotics market is expected to
more than double by 2013, according to a market report, with the
proposed EU health claims rules presenting "untapped" potential.

Analysts at Frost & Sullivan say the probiotic market size has increased rapidly in Europe in the last five years, with research and development efforts helping to grow the market "substantially." The Strategic Analysis of the European Food and Beverage Probiotics Market, says the market is expected to rise from its 2006 position of $61.7m (€45.4m) to $163.5m (€120.3m) by 2013. "There is significantly untapped potential in the dietary supplement probiotics market, as this market stands to be most affected by the new European legislation on health claims in food products,"​ the report stated. Legislation EC 1924/2006, which came into force in July 2007, means any food product claiming to have a health or nutritional benefit must be backed up by scientific evidence and meet a list of European Commission approved wording. Some trade bodies feared the health claims could have a negative impact on the role of botanicals while other criticized the EU for making the rules too "complex" for companies to follow. However, Frost & Sullivan say the law may cause the dietary supplement market to experience an increase in growth as supplement probiotics are "targeted towards a more specific function than the food probiotics, so supplements have the potential to become a higher value market commanding a higher consumer spend.​" By sector, the dairy yoghurt and yoghurt drink application sector accounts for the highest market share, but the rate of growth is expected to slow, the report predicts. Dairy products remain as the most popular form of consumption of probiotics, and several new applications are being introduced into this market which will spur growth until 2013. The non-dairy food and beverage market will experience rapid growth during the next few years, and many varied products are expected on the European market. In Western Europe the largest value markets are led by Germany, closely followed by France and the UK. In Southern Europe the Italian market for dietary supplement probiotic products is the largest in Europe. However, in other market segments, the awareness of dairy probiotic products are relatively low in both Italy and Greece. Eastern European markets have recently started growing, the report said. Probiotics for younger children are already growing healthily, with increasing numbers of products developed each year. The report added: "The increase in growth rates for probiotics between 2002 to 2006 reflected the increased interest in nutrition and healthy foods in Europe, as part of an effort to cope with the stresses of modern living and to curb the increasing incidence of obesity.​" One of the main obstacles to the market Frost & Sullivan said is one of strain stability, as bacterial strains must be protected against light, heat, moisture and oxygen. However, "new technologies and bacterial protection systems​" are also playing an important role which could help the industry overcome this challenge.

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