Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent SupplySide West show in Las Vegas, Paraskevakos noted that the probiotics market is growing globally, with the needle starting to move in new regions.
“We’re seeing growth in APAC, and within APAC we have China. We’re starting to see a trickle of growth in some Latin American countries. I think this was anticipated because of the benefits that have been published around probiotics, and the education and awareness that has been created.”
The categories that are delivering the growth depends on the region, said Paraskevakos. In APAC, for example, that region favor yogurts, while in Latin America there yogurt and some fermented milk products.
Globally, supplements are not at the same levels as seen in the US, where consumption levels are over 30%, he said.
According to Euromonitor International data, probiotics are the fastest growing supplements globally, worth $5.1 billion in 2017. The market is predicted to grow to US$7 billion between 2017 and 2022, which is 40% growth. Generation X and baby boomers are the two leading consumer groups.
Yogurt is the dominant form globally for probiotic consumption, making up 73% of the $42.5 billion global retail value in 2017. Dietary supplements represent only 12%. Yogurt dominates in North America with 67%, but supplements represent 32%, according to Euromonitor data.
Responding to negative media
The probiotics sector has been the target of negative media coverage recently, with headlines in September, for example, focusing on two studies conducted by scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel published in Cell (Zmora et al., Vol. 174, No. 6, pp. 1388-1405.E21 and Suez et al., Vol. 174, No. 6, pp. 1406-1423.E16).
Paraskevakos admitted he may be biased, but noted that there was a often quite a difference between what the study actually said and what the headlines stated.
“If you look at the studies [that have been the focus of the negative media], if you actually drill down from a perspective of knowing the industry and compare that to what’s being reported there are definite gaps. I don’t think it’s fair what has been published [in the mainstream media],” he said.
“The media will paraphrase certain parts of these studies and then use that as a headline to attract clicks.”
Moving forward, the IPA has formed a response team to quickly – within 24 hours – respond to any negative media or studies, explained Paraskevakos. A second team will focus on sending press releases, educational material, infographics on the benefits of probiotics, he said. These will be published at a planned rate, “just to put out the good word on the probiotic industry”.
The bulk of the work done by IPA is committee work, said Paraskevakos, including committees for regulatory affairs, science, manufacturing guidelines and best practices, and the recently formed analytical and technical committee that will look at publishing analytical standards.
“All of these committees are working on elevating the bar and ensuring best quality. The mission of IPA is to promote safe and efficacious probiotics globally so all of these actions happening at the committee level will address what’s being put out into the market and drive home the message of the IPA mission.”