The region is the fastest growing in the world, with Brazil contributing to 52% of the areas total probiotic market. Mexico is second, with 28% of regional growth, according to a new white paper from Kerry, titled, A Global Look at the Digestive Health and Probiotic Market.
Functional foods and beverages are one of the largest growing market segments in Latin America and are projected to grow quickly, said the company. A rising middle-class, with more disposable income is expanding awareness, innovation and product availability across the region.
“Latin America is one of the largest opportunities for probiotic fortified foods and beverages, but the challenge here is that education plays a big role in consumers understanding the health benefits associated with probiotics,” said Bush.
“This highlights the importance for manufacturers to look for probiotics that can easily convey their specific benefits while offering flexible formulation attributes. Choosing a science-backed probiotic that is well-positioned and can be efficiently formulated into better-for-you versions of everyday foods and beverages will reach an untapped consumer base.”
According to the Kerry white paper, Brazil is the largest and fastest-growing regional market for probiotics in Latin America, and is predicted to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 11% through 2022.
The two largest segments are dietary supplements and functional foods and beverages.
In Mexico, awareness of probiotic benefits is reported to be lower than in other countries, according to Mintel, but consumers are increasing their intake of ingredients they consider healthy, such as protein and probiotics.
“In Latin America, education plays a big role in understanding the health benefits associated with probiotics,” states the white paper. “While interest in foods and beverages to promote better health is growing, manufacturers need to look for functional ingredients that can easily convey a digestive health benefit while offering flexible formulation attributes for food and beverage developments.
Bush added: “The challenges with introducing new probiotic products and brands into untapped economies such as Latin America and China must be met with science-backed probiotics that are well-positioned and can be efficiently formulated into better-for-you versions of everyday foods and beverage.
“The ingredients that win out are well-studied, branded probiotics that easily convey a benefit-driven story that consumers can understand and trust. A strong branded functional ingredient should be backed by documented safety, efficacy and quality.”
Formulation challenges and solutions
The company’s spore-forming GanedenBC30 strain (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) has significant advantages in food and beverage applications owing to its ability to withstand extremes of temperature and harsh processing techniques like heat, shear, HTST and HPP pasteurization.
According to Kerry, the strain is included in over 900 products currently on shelves – over 350 of which launched in 2017.
“Successful probiotic products across all global markets must include innovation into new product categories,” said Bush. “In the past, probiotic stability has led to manufacturing challenges that may have stifled innovation, because it was thought probiotics could not be incorporated into different types of foods and beverages.
“New probiotic technologies, like GanedenBC30, have opened up avenues of innovation because it means they can be used not just in chilled dairy products but also in applications such as non-dairy beverages, frozen foods, cookies, cereals, baked goods and even hot drinks.”
The other region with significant growth is Asia (with 8.5% CAGR through 2022), with China unsurprisingly leading the growth in that region with an estimated 35.4% of market share.
A lot of growth in China is coming from older consumers’ interest in probiotic fortified food and beverages with digestive health benefits. For example, 42% of Chinese consumers are buying beverages with digestive benefits, and half of all mothers in China are concerned about digestive issues, according to Mintel.
Many different delivery forms are being used for probiotics, with yogurts being complimented by beverages, confections, chocolates, baked goods and snacks.
Kerry acquired Ganeden and it’s GanedenBC30 strain in 2017. The acquisition was seen as a good compliment to its Wellmune beta-glucan ingredient, which it acquired from Biothera in 2015.