Probiotics are consumed for their beneficial qualities and contain live bacteria or yeast, which are said to have a variety of health benefits; they come in a range of formats, including food and drink products or nutritional supplements
Made up of micro-organisms intended to enhance health, probiotics are frequently formulated into yoghurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements and beauty products; 80% of global consumers stated that they take such products as part of an everyday balanced diet. The probiotic market has witnessed considerable growth during the last couple of decades.
Consumer attitudes towards probiotics
Consumer motivations to buy probiotics are primarily health based; 73% disclosed that their motivation for using probiotic products was to support digestive health, followed by 71% who said it was to help boost their immune system.
Two thirds claimed to use these products for general health and well-being purposes and half of the participants want to ensure they have enough “good” bacteria in the body.
Consumers prioritise the benefit claims and product efficacy of the probiotics they use and these are leading factors that they look out for when choosing what products to buy.
Seventy five per cent of consumers who use probiotics say that they take them as part of an overall balanced diet as opposed to using them when wanting to address health symptoms. With consumers taking a “prevention is better than cure” approach to health, they are investing in products to build and support their immune system and other areas of well-being.
The overall aim is to minimise vulnerability to illness and maximise and maintain fitness and general welfare. More than half of consumers said they did not experience any symptoms; but, of those who did, almost all of these were digestive issues.
The most common symptom for consumers was bloating (17%) when first using probiotics, but this could potentially be a result of poor dietary habits.
Consumer behaviours and claims
Of those who take probiotics, 74% prefer food and drink probiotic products compared with any other format, with only 14% claiming they prefer supplements; 74% of consumers say they prefer food and drink probiotics because they’re tastier.
Of those that claimed that they preferred probiotic supplements, 59% said this was because they have a proven effect, which represents the significance of scientifically supported claims.
Seventy four per cent of global consumers say science-based claims are important when choosing probiotic products. This highlights that people are concerned about the content of the products they consume and prioritise validity, reassurance and transparency of claims.
Fifty six per cent of global consumers believe the best format of probiotics are multi-strain food and drink and nutritional supplements.
The most popular probiotic food product reported by global consumers was yoghurt in a cup (65%) followed by yogurt drinks (56%), putting dairy as the preferred format for the consumption of probiotics. When asked what flavours consumers like, almost 9 in 10 said vanilla (88%), with the top five answers being vanilla, orange, chocolate, lemon and blueberry.
When consumers were asked why they haven’t bought probiotic food and drink products, 56% said it was because of the price and 63% cited the cost of nutritional supplements, suggesting that these products are deemed to be too expensive and beyond consumer budgets.
With the rising cost of living, it is to be expected that consumers will live with disciplined spending habits. Therefore, to appeal to consumers throughout the probiotic market, brands and manufacturers must recognise that price is an influencing factor and consumers are looking for good value for money as well as quality — prioritising taste, affordability and health efficacy.
This article is based on FMCG Gurus: Probiotic Surveys and is reproduced with kind permission.
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