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Global Industry Analyst (GIA) estimates that the global probiotics market will be worth USD$28.8 billion (NZD$39.34 billion) by 2015, even though the market is still considered to be in infancy, according to NutraIngredients.com.

“Enhanced efficiency of ingredient and increasing scientific evidence of the advantages of probiotics are the other major factors facilitating market growth,” the report cited the GIA report saying.

Increasing health consciousness and a desire to engage in preventative healthcare to avoid rising healthcare costs were others factors driving probiotic growth.

“The global H1N1 pandemic also acted as a major catalyst, boosting growth in the probiotics segment, which witnessed a minor hiccup during the economic recession. Rising healthcare awareness and the consequent gravitation towards digestive and functional foods has managed to offset the high cost disadvantage and sustain the growth momentum in the industry,” the report said.

GIA noted probiotics were expanding beyond the European and Asian markets where they have traditionally been the strongest, with a particularly rapid uptake occurring in the US.

In Europe, Germany and the UK are the biggest markets – accounting for about 45% of the total market.

Japan – the birthplace of probiotics – was reaching maturity, GIA said, and would demonstrate only moderate growth in coming years.

Research work was continuing to improve the efficacy of probiotic ingredients and the variety of platforms in which they could be present.

“The increased consumption is also a result of the probiotic product being available in the form of dietary supplements and food such as baked and dairy products, which induced major players to integrate probiotics with products such as chocolates, cheese, muffins, and sausages,” the report said.

“With further advancement in technology, probiotics usage is likely to extend beyond the current realms of gut, dental, and immune health to several other areas of human health. As consumers across the world are becoming increasingly aware of the favorable benefits of the ‘friendly’ bacteria, the market is likely to reap rich gains in coming years.”

Consumers were also increasingly likely to pay premiums for probiotic products, GIA said.

Despite regulatory challenges stemming from government agencies in the US and the European Union questioning the validity of some probiotic claims, probiotic scientific research remained “extensive”.

The report added that probiotics are also increasingly being targeted to provide relief in new areas such as inflammatory diseases, allergy prevention, cholesterol reduction and prevention of colon cancer, among others. — Source: NutraIngrediets.com

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