For years, people have been encouraged to educate themselves and take control of their own health. Until recent years, this advice was often ignored by the masses. Fortunately, with more accessible information, the increase in access to personal health data, and new tools to make health information easier to digest, many individuals are becoming their own advocates.
As this shift continues, many consumers are turning to supplements to help maintain their wellbeing, and this phenomenon is not relegated to the United States alone. Between 2014 and 2015, sales of supplements worldwide grew 8% to a staggering $88.3 billion, and this growth is projected to increase. This market increase makes perfect sense, as health supplements such as probiotics are safe and affordable ways for consumers to have some control over their own health and vitality without radically changing their lifestyles.
Probiotics are naturally occurring microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract and provide a myriad of beneficial and necessary functions vital to our wellbeing. This includes improving the immune system and intestinal tract. With a growing global population and awareness of these health benefits, the probiotic supplement industry has a bright future.
As a sector with a wide public and scientific following, probiotic supplements are expected to ride this wave of growth, according to the global market research company Euromonitor. However, many possible geographic market areas are hampered by cost issues, lack of access, and an absence of knowledge about probiotic benefits. There is also the question of delivery method. Currently, global sales of probiotic foods such as yogurt and sour milks exceed $41 billion. Sales of probiotic supplements now reach $3.8 billion. Compared to food products, supplements are an efficient delivery method for probiotics, so as more consumers learn about the effectiveness and ease of supplement use, the consumption gap between the two is projected to narrow.
By 2020, the global probiotics market is expected to reach $52.34 billion, up from just $32.06 billion in 2013, making it one of the fastest growing global markets. One of largest prospective markets for probiotics is the Asia Pacific region, which accounted for an estimated 38% share of the global probiotics market in 2016. This part of the world lacks widespread awareness about probiotics, and the opportunity exists for new health-awareness campaigns for consumers to ensure the market continues to grow. Some underdeveloped markets are looking at huge growth projections, such as the Middle East and Africa, both of which are anticipated to grow 126% over the next five years.
For many regions, this bright future will rely heavily on marketing to communicate the advantages of probiotic supplements over food options. Many regions already have popular probiotic foods, yet few probiotic supplements. Latin America, for example, has 97% of its probiotic market claimed by yogurt, and only 1% by supplements. The story is similar in Asia. Understanding what consumers want and who influences their purchases will be critical for probiotic manufacturers, brands, and retailers.
Currently, the United States, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Taiwan hold a combined 77% of the global probiotic retail market. As a result, there is still a huge area of untapped market potential around the globe. Increased scientific evidence to support probiotic health benefits, specialty strains to improve targeted action, and new delivery systems will help expand the worldwide adoption of probiotic supplement use.
Keeping track of these global probiotic trends is vital for understanding and preparing for the future of this rapidly expanding industry, which promises to keep growing thanks to continuing awareness, marketing, and a supportive regulatory climate.