Prebiotics are specialized fibers. They provide nourishment to the beneficial bacterial gut in the human body. They differ from probiotics (which introduce good bacteria to the body). Prebiotics are used to improve mental health and overall well-being. They are found naturally in asparagus, onion, and garlic. They also reduce digestive problems and improve immunity.
The prebiotics market is projected at USD 5.7 billion by 2020. It had a demand of 581 kilotons (KT) in 2013. The market should be over 1,084 KT by 2020, at around 9.3% CAGR over the forecast period (2014 to 2020). Health benefits of dairy consumption coupled with demand for sugar free products can augur market demand in the future.
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But, the popularity of probiotics and huge expenses in the research & development of prebiotic ingredients can hamper the market. Moreover, strict labeling policies and registration of ingredients in the U.S. and Europe may act as market challenges.
Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS), and mannan-oligosaccharide (MOS) are the ingredients needed for manufacturing prebiotics. Inulin is used most widely owing to its health benefits. It was the largest ingredient of the prebiotics market, accounting for over 42% volumes in 2013.
GOS was the second largest segment that year, accounting for 16% volumes. It has many health benefits and enhances the internal defense system. FOS promises healthy bacterial growth to deal with digestive issues. Food & beverages, dietary supplements, and animal feed are the market applications. Food & beverages was the largest segment, accounting for three-fourths of the overall demand in 2013.
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Popularity of dairy products drives this application. Animal feed is used to boost metabolism and immunity. It is predicted to be the fastest growing segment on account of animals used as protein sources. Dietary supplements and animal feed should grow at respective CAGRs exceeding 9% in the coming six years.
In terms of geographies, Europe dominated the prebiotics market due to regional demand for better health and consumer awareness regarding prebiotics. This region accounted for over 39% volumes in 2013. Asia Pacific was the second largest market, with most of the demand from Japan. It may remain the largest market (in terms of volumes) during the forecast period, at about 9.6% CAGR.
Key players of the worldwide prebiotics market are Abbott Laboratories, Cargill Incorporated, Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Jarrow Formulas, Inc., and Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd.
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