Prebiotics consumption expands in food and beverage applications – key nutritional benefits drive the ingredient demand

Published Date: December 17, 2018    Author: Sunil Jha

One of the most rapidly progressive verticals of the global nutrition space, prebiotics market has come a long way since its inception, having now emerged as a niche entity in itself. With the increasing consumer spending on food and beverage products, the global prebiotics market has been expanding at a steady rate over the last few years. A gradual rise in consumer awareness regarding the benefits of including fiber rich food in their diet has also tremendously popularized this sector.

Science has established long since, that consuming prebiotic fiber improves digestive health and bone density, supports immunity, along with helping to manage weight. Albeit the remarkable increase in the consumption of supplements and health products, prebiotics in food products is still an emerging segment. As more consumers become mindful about the advantages of these fibers through registered dieticians and educational initiatives of food producers, the probiotics industry could witness an accelerated growth in the imminent future, reaching a valuation of USD 9.5 billion by 2027.   
 

prebiotics market
 

Evidence suggests that prebiotics in food and beverages assist in elevating the level of healthy bacteria already present in the gut. These bacteria are known to lower the risk of diseases and improve the overall heath, demonstrating the importance of the probiotics industry.  The usefulness of these ingredients for ensuring the health infants was already understood long back, shown by the fact that a number of infant formula products with prebiotics are available in the market. However, as most customers did not know about the presence of helpful bacteria in the gut and the need to feed them, the category took a longer time to markedly penetrate the consumer food and beverages sector.
 

A key factor driving the prebiotics industry worldwide is that the ingredients like Inulin and Fructooligosaccarides (FOS) are found naturally, in food like onions, tomatoes, artichoke and bananas. The mention of natural sources on a food and beverage product considerably enhances its identity as a healthy consumable in the eyes of a health-conscious consumer, while the wide availability of these food sources helps to meet production demands. From adolescents to the elderly, these ingredients can be supplied for products meant to boost calcium absorption or treat people suffering from short-bowel syndrome, diarrhea, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibroses and other disorders.
 

How scientific research has supported the adoption of prebiotics ingredients

Prebiotics have become the mainstay in food and beverages sector and for dietary supplements. Prebiotic science has leapfrogged to address gut barrier functions, digestive discomfort, sleep disorders and influence on metabolism. Of late, researchers have shown increased traction towards developing potentially best prebiotics supplement on the market. In doing so, they are showing links between brain and the gut.
 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in the U.S. each year. Findings from BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health claim that probiotics, when combined with prebiotics or taken by themselves, may help ease depression. One of the studies proclaimed the role of prebiotics in anxiety, cognition and depression. They claim that prebiotics can have positive influence on the central nervous system and have a pivotal role in the modulation of cognitive impairment.
 

The market is gaining prominence from new and emerging prebiotics, including likelihood of polyphenols to act as prebiotics, introduction of neoagarooligosaccharides and the influence of HMOs. A new study has revealed the likely health benefits of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) through influencing the gut barrier and immune function. Scientists from Quadram Institute Bioscience were quoted in the journal Nutrients, stating that use of HMOs will help in promoting or restoring gut barrier functioning in adults.
 

Some of the studies have contended that polyphenols can act as candidate to prebiotics. Moreover, animal studies have exhibited that the consumption of catechins, proanthocyandins can boost the abundance of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Roseburia, Facecalibacterium and Akkermansia.
 

Products such as polyphenols and XOS are formulated to bolster their formulation viability in supplement forms.  Robust developments in science will foster the use of prebiotics in an array of applications and open new avenues of growth in the global prebiotic ingredients market.
 

An overview of emergent food and beverage products that are representative of the prebiotics industry expansion:

Leading companies and emerging brands have put prebiotics at the forefront, paving the way as pioneers in the landscape.
 

  • Kellogg’s rolled out all-brain prebiotic oaty clusters in March 2020, meant to support digestive health. Catering to the demand for healthier consumer options, the company is gearing to develop a new microbiome-based solution to enhance gut wellness.
     
  • Cargill and Eagle Genomics came on the same page in May 2020 to use AI in microbiome and life sciences research and development. The accord is believed to help the former boost its portfolio in the gut microbiome.
     
  • Abbot developed a novel hydration solution, containing prebiotics, zinc and vitamins B12, C and E in December 2020. Expanding its Pedialyte product portfolio, the company is developing products targeting customers eyeing for major immune-supporting nutrients in the hydration solution.
     

Regional trends fostering the expansion of prebiotics industry

The prebiotics market can be expected to witness an augmented growth rate if experts in different segments come together to educate consumers and market products. in Europe, the French government gave green signal to innovative companies in the field of microbiome. Institutional investors of the country are expected to pour more than €5 billion to fund companies through 2022.
 

Bullish demand for prebiotics has prompted key suppliers to boost production through influx of funds. Galam, for instance, announced investment of $20 million in July 2020 in two new production plants for prebiotic fiber. The Israel-based company asserted that they would be producing fructooligoscchardies/oligofructose, with a rigorous quality control system.
 

Organic inulin can be the next big thing as it has become a major subject of research and interest across producers. Intrinsic Organics bolstered its footfall in the North America market in August 2020 through the expansion of organic inulin portfolio. The company is allegedly supplying USDA-certified organic inulin —a prebiotic fiber—and is boosting its raw material storage capability.
 

In a nutshell, the present dynamics of the global prebiotics industry are highly concentrated around changing consumer preferences and rising awareness among not only customers but also nutrition product manufacturers regarding the significance of prebiotics. Powered by a favorable regulatory spectrum and the discernible inclination of people toward healthy diet patterns, the food and beverages sector worldwide could witness a robust adoption of prebiotic ingredients in product development and as a positive marketing stance.
 

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