IPA Chief talks ongoing growth for probiotics and the online explosion

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ipa International probiotics association Probiotics Amazon Dietary supplements

“Growth for probiotics this past year on Amazon was 50%, and it’s pointing still north,” George Paraskevakos, Executive Director of the International Probiotics Association (IPA), tells NutraIngredients-USA.

Speaking with us at the recent SupplySide West in Las Vegas, Paraskevakos said that the global probiotic supplements category experienced growth of 10% in 2020 to hit $6.5 billion. That growth has continued into 2021, with another 6% this year. “We’re almost hitting US$7 billion for supplements,”​ he said.

And the online space has been a key driver in all of this growth, he added. “We looked at data from Lumina, and they reported a [$1.7 billion] online market [for probiotics in 2021],”​ said Paraskevakos. This was interesting, he said, because at Probiota​ in Dublin [February 2020] Lumina valued the online probiotics market in 2019 at about $1 billion, indicating huge growth in just a couple of years.

In addition, Lumina told NutraIngredients-USA that probiotic supplement e-commerce sales had a growth rate of 35% in 2020, and the analysts expect the market to grow 15.5% in 2021. Online sales of probiotic supplements in the USA were US$579.5 million in 2020 and US$664.2 million in 2021. The growth rate for 2020 for the US market was 31%, and Lumina estimates this will be just under 15% in 2021.

Paraskevakos added: “We also did some work with another data partner who does specifically Amazon, and we saw that probiotics is the number one selling in VMS [on Amazon].​ “Probiotics outsold the multivitamins, outsold the collagens, and the interesting thing is that the other ingredient categories grew fast and then you’re starting to see waning off, whereas the growth for probiotics this past year on Amazon was 50%, and it’s pointing still north.”

But what kind of positioning are consumers seeking?

“I can say that probiotics is one of the most researched categories next to omega-3s, and the research is multiplying. The science is really cutting edge, some emerging trends, and we had brain-gut and now we’re starting to see a lot of metabolic syndrome science and research, but what resonated the most with people in this lockdown situation and emerging from those was the most classically researched areas, which are digestive health and immune support,” ​said Paraskevakos. “That’s important because that’s what the whole category was built on.”


Paraskevakos also discussed a potential collaboration with the Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA)​ around quality standards and compliance.

“If you recall we worked on the probiotic manufacturing guidelines​… that took us about two years,” ​he said. “I’ve been talking to GRMA – they have a public ANSI 455 standard – I’ve been talking to them to see how we can use the guidelines we’ve created at IPA, and we’re targeting a collaboration. We’ll create a working group between IPA and GRMA, do an assessment and then see how our guideline would be added as an addendum to that standard.”

“I’m really proud of this work”

Additionally, Paraskevakos talked about IPA’s regulatory manuscript, which covers regulations for probiotics in food and supplements across 28 countries and will be expanded to eight more countries in 2022. “It can serve as support to a regulatory affairs department for our companies or can serve as strategic thinking about whether to enter a market. I’m very proud of that work because it was a long process, and it was thoroughly vetted and evaluated.”

Click on the video above to watch the full video.

For more information about Probiota​, which will take place in Copenhagen, 23-25 February 2022, please click HERE​.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this article stated that the online market for probiotic supplements was $3.4 billion. The correct figure is $1.7 billion. The error was not IPA's but was due to a discrepancy in the original Lumina data which has now been corrected. 

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