The amazing world of biotic foods
Probiotic foods are defined as viable (live) microflora that can act as dietary supplements and provide health benefits to the host (humans, in this case) through their effects on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are used in the preparation of fermented dairy products and have the potential to be successfully incorporated into fermented meats and vegetables. Probiotics have multiple beneficial health effects, ranging from enhancing immunity to alleviating lactose intolerance. There is ample scientific evidence that probiotics reduce the risk of rotavirus-induced diarrhea and colon cancer.
Prebiotics, as the name suggests, are essentially the food provided for probiotic bacteria. Prebiotics are indigestible dietary fiber / food ingredients present in different fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, onions, and garlic, that stimulate the growth or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, thereby benefiting the host. . There is a great need for more research on prebiotics in order to provide strong and conclusive evidence of their health promoting effects. However, recent studies have provided valuable information on how taking prebiotics can result in better mental health.
The global probiotics market is estimated to be worth nearly $ 65 billion by 2022. Probiotics have a strong position in the functional foods market. Almost half of the functional foods available on the market included fermented dairy products. A report from a market research firm estimates that the global probiotic yogurt market is set to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% over the period 2017-2022. There is a growing awareness of the health benefits of yogurt among consumers and a growing popularity of probiotic dietary supplements.
Probiotics include bacteria (Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, Streptococcus, etc.), as well as yeasts. These bacteria are found to increase the production of the enzyme lactase, which prevents lactose intolerance by fully digesting milk sugar, that is, lactose. Apart from this, probiotics exhibit myriad health benefits such as preventing diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome by enhancing immunity. Additionally, the growing demand for probiotics is due to the fact that they induce health benefits that are not limited to the gut alone. Probiotics are emerging as one of the most popular functional foods, going beyond their digestive health benefits, with conclusive clinical evidence suggesting the positive role probiotics play in some mental health disorders, lowering cholesterol, and minimizing the severity of certain allergies and eczema. Probiotics in liquid form are the most popular and leading segment, as most of the new product launches on the market are primarily probiotic-based functional drinks.
The global market for prebiotics is estimated to be worth around $ 8 billion by 2022, primarily driven by growing interest in gut treatments. This interest is supported by recent scientific evidence that validates the positive impact of gut bacteria on overall health and well-being. The preventive approach to health care is becoming increasingly popular; therefore, there is an increase in demand for functional foods. Growing concern about high rates of infant morbidity and mortality, as WHO notes, also increases the growing demand for prebiotics. Weight-control diets are also emerging, and an increasing number of consumers are opting for high-fiber foods, strengthening the overall demand for prebiotics. The future growth trajectory of prebiotics depends on the large-scale application of prebiotics, especially in nutraceutical products, making food and beverage application the fastest growing segment for prebiotics.
The prebiotic type of inulin is poised to lead the market. It is a soluble dietary fiber that, by undergoing the intestinal fermentation process, greatly nourishes the healthy microflora (Bifidobacterium). Inulin is also found to improve the taste, texture and moisture in food products, thus providing essential added value. Galactooligosaccharide (GOS) is another popular prebiotic; contains a mixture of substances produced from lactose. Its slightly sweet taste makes it an ideal sweetener for baby food.
When it comes to regions, the developed regions of North America and Europe account for the majority of the market share for both prebiotics and probiotics. Growing consumer awareness and growing concern about improving digestive health are driving markets in these regions. These regions have witnessed the introduction of innovative functional products to meet the growing demand for prebiotics and probiotics. Asia-Pacific, led by India, Japan and China, represents the fastest growing market for prebiotics and probiotics, as markets in this region have not yet been penetrated or have experienced insufficient market penetration. Increasing disposable income among the rapidly growing middle class in this region is allowing the latter to make discretionary purchases of more nutrient-dense and health-promoting foods, thus fueling market growth.
The world markets for prebiotics and probiotics are highly and moderately fragmented, respectively. Key players are increasingly investing in R&D for healthy product claims, launching new products that add variety to markets, thus providing more choice to consumers, while expanding the regional presence of players.
There is no doubt that both prebiotics and probiotics benefit human health. Market sentiments are strong, especially in light of the growing health awareness seen globally. The well-established and documented safety profile of new emerging prebiotics and probiotics is the first step in the direction of organic and sustainable market growth. Regulatory approvals, considered a roadblock for this market, rely heavily on robust safety data for different products, in addition to the authenticity of different health claims.
Probiotics suffer from a major problem, namely, they are heat and acid labile; therefore, a relatively small number of live probiotic organisms reach the intestine. However, the high-quality combination of prebiotics and probiotics is expected to confer, through symbiosis, greater health benefits so that the body can effectively and fully utilize the full health potential of probiotics. This is achieved by making the latter available in the large intestine and especially in the colon. There is growing scientific evidence on the synergistic effect produced on the gut and general health if high quality probiotics and prebiotics are taken together.