Since launching in 2006, BENEO-Orafti's BENEO Label has added 30 products in Latin America. The majority, 13, were in Brazil, followed by six in Mexico and four in Costa Rica. The remainder included Argentina, Guatemala, Panama and Peru.
This growth is strong indication of prebiotics' potential in the region, the company says.
"The prebiotic concept is gradually moving from Europe and the US to Latin America," explains Sabine Brusselmans, BENEO-Label account manager. "I think this is in part thanks to growing consumer awareness of the probiotic concept introduced by giants such as Danone. This has subsequently paved the way for prebiotics such as ours. Also, thanks to the media and various health prescribers, people are becoming more aware of the importance of good gut health and its influence on well-being."
The BENEO Label Program first began as a joint European-led initiative between food manufacturers and BENEO-Orafti in Belgium; it is designed to communicate the health benefits of its prebiotic ingredients, Orafti inulin and oligofructose, through the use of one easy-to-understand quality label. The label provides a product with a recognisable symbol that indicates to consumers that the product contains a sufficient amount of Orafti inulin or oligofructose to support a scientifically proven health claim.
Since the launch of the BENEO Label, some 380 products have been launched bearing the label in 33 countries. In the past 12 months, BENEO-Orafti has seen a large increase in the number of products launched in Latin America; some of the new products include Fibralac Milk for Adults from Costa Rica; and Wickbold 'Estar Bem' breads and Doces de leite (milk jam) from Brazil.
The company has seen particular interest in the baby food, dairy and bakery/cereal product categories.
"This interest also seems to be following the trend noted by Innova in their 'Global NPL with prebiotic claim 2009' survey, which showed the following breakdown of product launches: baby food 29 per cent; dairy 17 per cent; and bakery/cereals 17 per cent," Brusselmans says.
Data from Datamonitor indicates Brazil has shown significant growth in prebiotics, in addition to strong growth in fibre/wholegrain and probiotics. "Digestive health is obviously of great interest in this region," Brusselmans says.
BENEO-Orafti declined to say what percentage Latin America makes up of its global shares but noted that "Latin America is an important market for us and the growth potential that is displayed here is of great interest to us," Brusselmans says.
BENEO-Orafti is part of the BENEO-Group, a division of the Südzucker Group that specialises in functional ingredients; BENEO-Orafti is a leader in the production and sales of ingredients derived from chicory. The company's Orafti inulin and oligofructose products have been scientifically proven to improve the balance of the body's intestinal flora by stimulating beneficial bifidobacteria, helping the body to absorb more essential nutrients, such as calcium, from the diet.
(CAGR=Compound Annual Growth Rate)
Source: "Opportunities in Digestive & Immunity Health: Consumer Attitudes & Trends,” Datamonitor, 02/2008