If current trends hold true, probiotic dietary supplements will be the fastest-growing supplement category in North America in 2016–2021, according to a presentation by market researcher Euromonitor at October’s SupplySide West trade show. During this time frame, North America’s probiotic supplement growth (55%) will also outpace the rest of the world’s (38%).
North America is by far the largest consumer of probiotic supplements. In 2016, for instance, Euromonitor expects supplements in North America will end up accounting for 31% of the North American probiotics market—far outstripping the market share supplements hold in probiotic markets in other parts of the world.
This preference for supplements in North America is far stronger compared to countries like Latin America, for instance, where the greatest share of the probiotics market lies in probiotic yogurt (at 97% of the market) instead of probiotic supplements (1% of the market).
Although North American probiotic supplement sales are expected to grow fast, for now, North American yogurt sales are still bigger (at 61% of the total North American probiotic market). But growth of probiotic yogurt in North America may be leveling off, said presenter Ewa Hudson, global head of health and wellness, nutrition and ethical labels research, Euromonitor. Whereas the North American probiotic yogurt market saw strong growth until 2013 or 2014, sales are now “fairly stable” at this point, although Hudson noted that Euromonitor expects the yogurt market to “bounce back a little bit.”
Given the numbers, Hudson said, it’s possible that one day the demand for probiotic supplements could outpace demand for probiotic yogurt. “The consumption gap between yogurt and supplements is really closing” in North America, she said. “It looks like it’s just a matter of time…when probiotic supplements could potentially overtake consumption of yogurt” in North America.
In North America, sales of probiotic supplements will outpace sales of all other kinds of supplements, including glucosamine, combination dietary supplements, protein supplements, CoQ10, omega-3s, and eye-health supplements, Hudson added. She also said that given that protein supplements are set to be the second-strongest-growing supplement type, “definitely combining probiotics and protein is the way to go at some point.”
Strong Opportunity for Probiotic Supplements to Grow Globally, Too
But global probiotic marketers need not worry: probiotic performance is strong all over the globe, even if more of the demand is coming from food than from supplements, added Hudson. All told, globally, the sum of all probiotic products—probiotic supplements, probiotic yogurts, and sour milk products—amounted to $40 billion in 2015, in the following breakdown: supplements (10%), sour milk products (14%), and the giant, yogurt (76%).
Lower consumption of probiotic supplements in other countries points to potential for supplement growth, Hudson said, adding that in markets like Latin America, there are “plenty of opportunities out there. There isn’t this tradition of having probiotic supplements, so it will take time for [consumers] to embrace that.”
Hudson predicted the biggest opportunities for supplement growth may come from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Australasia.
Still, she said, if you work in probiotic supplements, North America “is definitely the place to be.”
In the United States, “we expect sales [of probiotic supplements] in 2016 to surpass $2 billion, so it’s really the largest market,” Hudson said. “This is really spectacular performance, so I really hope you will make the most out of that opportunity because things like that don’t happen that often. Other industries only dream of these figures to be projected for them.”