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General awareness, especially about health, is growing at a steady pace with people taking more efforts to preventively take care of their health instead of waiting for an illness or injury to strike. Among the proactive measures to encourage positive health, is the consumption of prebiotics, which significantly help the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are food ingredients that are generally non-digestible fibers that feed the healthy bacteria in the human gut and stomach, promoting the health and growth of the beneficial bacteria. Since the first identification of prebiotics in 1995, the prebiotics market has grown significantly.
The global prebiotics market size and industry analysis provides important insights to know more about the prebiotics market. Currently, the global prebiotics market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent until 2022, to reach a value of approximately $6 billion.
Prebiotics Market Size
Several factors are driving the growth of the prebiotics market, the most significant being greater awareness of the benefits of prebiotics.
Infant food formulation is the among the largest end-user segments for prebiotics, accounting for 24 percent of the demand share, and the demand is expected at the fastest rate, compared to other applications. Research has found that prebiotics natural occurrences in human breast milk, and so to replicate the benefits of breast milk in infant formula, prebiotics are added.
Prebiotics are also popularly used in livestock feed and food ingredients as a replacement for antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) that have been banned by the EU as well as the U.S.’s FDA.
Apart from nutritional benefits, prebiotics also provides sensory benefits as its ingredients, namely inulin, Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS), Mannan-oligosaccharide (MOS), and Fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) enhance the texture and taste of food and beverage items such as baked goods and beers.
At a regional level, Europe leads the consumption of prebiotics, accounting for almost 50 percent of the market, however, in the next 5 years; the APAC is expected to witness the highest growth in the prebiotics market. In comparison, the growth of the prebiotics market in the U.S. and Europe is projected to be slower as the markets move towards maturity.
Prebiotics Industry Analysis
The prebiotics industry can be considered to still be in its nascent stages, since the identification of its benefits is relatively recent. While the applications in infant formula for GOS and FOS are already gaining popularity, further growth is expected to be driven by the health maintenance organization (HMO) market.
Prebiotics are immensely easy to access as they are found in natural food items such as onions, bananas, and garlic, and food items such as breads, biscuits, and cereals.
Technical complexities and high production costs of using prebiotics in HMOs are posing a challenge to the market, but as more research takes place, the demands are expected to increase.
Many health benefits of prebiotics, such as their role in controlling childhood obesity and effect on diabetes are still being tested, increasing the likelihood of prebiotics being used as a safe medical treatment option in the future.
The sensory applications of prebiotics are also expected to increase as they gain popularity. Prebiotics not only enhance the texture of the food/beverage, but they also sweeten the taste without any significant sugar content. These characteristics make prebiotics an ideal ingredient for low-calorie sweetening.
Key suppliers include in the global prebiotics market are Sensus, Cargill Inc., GTC Nutrition, Clasado Ltd., Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd., Royal Cosun, Parmalat S.p.A., and FrieslandCampina Domo.
Prebiotics are emerging as an amazingly beneficial food ingredient and as the advantages of prebiotics are discovered further, the market and industry are set to expand even further. Whether it’s the texture of food or its nutritional benefits, prebiotics are likely to be the next big thing in preventive healthcare and nutraceuticals.