The survey found that American consumers increased their probiotics usage from 15% six months prior to the time of the study to 25% in May, an increase of 66%.
Among probiotic users, the data also showed that the number of Americans taking probiotic supplements every day or more often increased from 37% to 61%.
The average times per week they took probiotics increased too, from 3.57 to 5.35, said the survey.
DuPont commissioned the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) to perform the survey to learn more about consumers’ evolving attitudes towards probiotics during the pandemic.
“From previous research, we’ve seen that consumers are very aware of probiotics for immune support, and while digestive health remains the number one health benefit, immune health is number two. The pandemic has definitely been a catalyst to bring people into the category,” Megan DeStefano, Global Marketing Director for Probiotics and Prebiotics at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, told NutraIngredients-USA.
The survey also collected data from Italy and China, both of which experienced huge increases in usage of probiotic dietary supplements. Consumers in Italy reported the greatest increase in usage (188%) and weekly compliance (83%) in May, compared to six months prior, while China saw a 108% increase in total users (23% vs 48%), according to the survey.
Digging into the data revealed that the daily users in Italy skewed younger (under 50), while in China they skewed older (over 50). In the US, the increases in daily users were spread across the ages.
The respondents in the three regions were also asked about their expectations of future use of probiotic dietary supplements and compliance three to six months out from the survey dates.
For this, American consumer usage is expected to grow from 15% (pre-COVID-19 levels) to 22%, so a slight drop from mid-May. In Italy, 9% vs. 18%), consumer usage is expected to grow from 9% (pre-COVID-19 levels) to 18%, while in China, usage is expected to fall back to the baseline level. However, compliance among those Chinese users is expected to increase.
“The data indicates that consumers are really enthusiastic about the category,” said DeStefano.
As usage and compliance increases, the dietary supplement industry can expect the value of the global probiotic supplement market to grow as well, said DuPont. According to Euromonitor International, the global probiotic supplement market is forecast to grow from $5.97 billion in 2019 to reach $7.42 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.4%.
DeStefano recently moderated a webinar on the new survey’s findings and presented other research on delivery formats. The webinar, which can be found HERE, also featured a presentation by Matthew Oster, Euromonitor’s Head of Consumer Health.