The ‘unstoppable’ market for women’s probiotics

A global report on probiotics for women by Lumina Intelligence lists the UK as one of the world’s most dynamic markets for the product. And it states that Brexit may see the UK shake off the shackles of EU legislation and take a more liberal approach to food health claims.

The report, ‘Women, probiotic supplements and digital immersion’, says the trend for women’s probiotics is “unstoppable” as scientific data builds and is reflected by an ever-increasing number of government-approved health claims in most global markets.

Claims are highly restricted in the UK as they are in the rest of the EU, notes the report, but Brexit may see a more liberal approach to food health claims than the EU, which has adopted a highly restrictive regime since 2008 when the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) began issuing mostly negative opinions linking foods, ingredients and health benefits.

The challenge to probiotic health claims in the EU and subsequent decline in the market, especially the probiotic yoghurt category, is proof that consumers value authorised health claims.

The report concludes: “That aside, the rise of the online review and instantaneous customer engagement has simplified the equation for success to the core of why people consume probiotic supplements in the first place: do they optimise health and relieve symptoms? Do they work?

“If they do it’s a win-win situation for the companies manufacturing efficacious products and the individual lives that are improved by them.”

Lumina also notes that there are between 140 and 580 million IBS sufferers globally, many undiagnosed, and there is a pool of 220 million young women in need of nutritional support for IBS symptoms.

Direct and indirect costs to society include reduction of physical activity, lost work productivity and absenteeism, increased prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders, as well as social stigmas and societal alienation.

A significant body of research has found that single- and multiple-strain probiotic supplementation, as well as synbiotic supplementation, can be effective in offering relief for most IBS symptoms. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifido animalis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidobacterium breve are the dominating strains for IBS following scientific research.

Lumina Intelligence is part of William Reed, publisher of food and drink news sites including Nutraingredients.com and FoodNavigator.com. See the report preview here.

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