Microbiota has been associated with almost all aspects of human health and disease. Subsequently, the potential applications of probiotics broadened. However, health claim regulation has had a major impact on the probiotic market, particularly in the EU.
At the Probiotics Congress in Amsterdam, Maria Saarela, Senior Principal Scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, presented ‘Recent Developments in Probiotic Research and the Market’ in which some of these impacts were discussed.
Here we’ve summarised some of the key market trends examined in Maria’s talk.
1. The market has grown but diversity has reduced
While the market is expected to reach 43 billion euros by 2020, significantly fewer probiotic strains are found in products compared to 10 years ago. Today, the ‘classic’ AB combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 can be found across the board. In single strain products, Lactobacillus casei danone/Shirota/f19, Lactobacillus johnsonii and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG dominate.
2. Interest continues to increase in digestive health
Across the globe, there has been an increasing interest in digestive health which is reflected in the growth in digestive health supplements. Probiotics in this area focus mainly on two areas of concern: health and aesthetic aspects, such as bloating.
3. The introduction of probiotics to heated products
While it is still unusual to find probiotics in foods anywhere but the refrigerator aisle of your local shop, more recently probiotics have been added to juices, chocolate and cereals. Even some heated products contain the heat-stable spore-forming bacteria, Bacillus coagulans. For example, the probiotic pasta (cleverly dubbed ‘provioli’), pancakes and pasta filata soft cheese.
4. Pet probiotics
It has been thought for a long time that having pets improves the health of humans. But what about pet health? Are we improving the lives of our animals? The findings that people share more microbes with their own dogs than stranger’s dogs may have kick-started a trend of not only looking after man’s best friend, but doing so with probiotics.