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he European prebiotics market is diversifying and expanding across the food and beverage industry, with new developments in various application sectors, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report.
The firms Strategic Analysis of the European Human Food and Beverage Prebiotics Markets finds that the market earned revenues of 295.5 million in 2008 and is expected to reach 766.9 million in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate of 14%.
The food ingredients industry remains less affected than many others despite challenging economic market conditions. And manufacturers have noticed that consumers will continue to pay for functional ingredients like prebiotics as long as they continue to associate these ingredients with clear benefits to their health.
The increased frequency of research results detailing the effects of prebiotics and the benefits possible from these ingredients should allow the formation of new manufacturing partnerships, according to Frost & Sullivan. In this way, innovative products can be developed and targeted towards health, and positive marketing initiatives can clearly demonstrate the advantages of these products in the market.
In its research, Frost & Sullivan analysts examine the following segments: fructans (Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides) and lactose-derived prebiotics (galacto-oligosaccharides and galacto-fructans), with separate forecasts for each type of ingredient. Resistant starch and other novel prebiotics are also considered.
Prebiotics in food and beverage products are attractive and extremely useful in a wide variety of applications, as they have properties for enhancing texture, general fiber provision and, most importantly, their primary market driver is their high functionality, which corresponds with the increasingly health-driven market in Europe and the growing importance of digestive health to consumers, said Deborah Cross, industry analyst.
Increasing consumer awareness about prebiotics represents the main barrier to market growth, along with the availability of results from scientific research trials to support their beneficial effect in areas like satiety and calcium absorption.
Forthcoming results from the Nutrition and Health Claims Legislation are expected to have a strong effect on the entire functional foods market, as only successfully registered ingredient products will be able to claim positive effects on health and nutrition in the market.
The majority of ingredient manufacturers consider that this will strengthen the functional food ingredients market in the longer term, as it will remove less-than-optimal products from the market, said Dr. Cross. As such, the outcome of the initial claim submissions under this new legislation will have a definite impact on the level of added value that scientific trials will add to a product in the functional food ingredients market.
Part of the lack of clarity regarding prebiotics in the European market can be explained by the confusion among consumers as to what represents an effective daily prebiotic dose. Without central regulation in product labeling, many European consumers are consuming far fewer prebiotics per day than they need to see health benefits. Further research and consensus in this area would be essential to communicating to consumers what they need to include in their diets in order to promote good digestive health.
The increased focus on research and development in order to establish a scientific basis for product introductions, and the promotional techniques and literature to describe the benefits of prebiotics in the market will promote a greater awareness of these ingredients in the minds of consumers and stimulate their continued market development, Dr. Cross said. The profile and awareness of prebiotics in the human food and beverage market continues to increase and more consumers are beginning to associate them with positive digestive health benefits, satiety enhancement and other benefits.
In the future, development of partnerships for technological advancement and innovation will promote strong market development for prebiotic ingredients.