So far, most of the probiotics available in the market are unstable at room temperature. New technologies such as microencapsultion are addressing this shortcoming to enhance the lifetime and usability of probiotics. Scientists have been screening and identifying new strains that can withstand high and low temperature and be used in high-pressure applications.
However, these processes require considerable time and resources. They also involve rigorous and different approval methods for the registration of probiotic cultures fortified food. Once these improved cultures are developed and approved, manufacturers must roll out smart marketing strategies along with validated health claims supported by appropriate clinical trials.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan Strategic Analysis of the Asia-Pacific Probiotic Cultures Market, finds that the market earned revenues of US$310.0 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach US$522.8 million in 2018.
Awareness campaigns about the benefits of consuming probiotics are vital to catapult the Southeast Asian probiotic fortified foods market into the league of the European and North American markets, which have high levels of productivity.
"The current market trend is to use probiotic cultures to address specific conditions like allergy and travellers' diarrhoea and lower the risk of nosocomial infections in children," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Nandhini Rajagopal. "The projection of probiotic fortified foods as a solution to improve gut health and enhance immune system will go a long way in driving the market, especially since the aging population is expected to increase in the next 20 years."
Age-related physiological changes to the gut affect the protective abilities of the human intestine. The high number of people aged above 60 in Japan (29 per cent) and Australia (19 per cent) and the significant number of infants and children in Malaysia and Indonesia have created a substantial market for probiotic cultures.
"The future of probiotic cultures fortified foods is bright due to the indispensable nature of these products in enhancing health and wellness," notes Rajagopal. "The importance of developing customized probiotic strains for specific applications and the clear advantage of consuming probiotic fortified foods should be communicated to end users."
Manufacturers can make the most of the consequent rise in demand by developing strategic relationships to synergise their strengths and overcome individual company's weaknesses. Such alliances have been successful for the largest market participants, and could be replicated by other companies too.