Thursday, January 20, 2022


Growing interest in immune health is forecast to continue to grow, according to the International Food Information Council’s online surveys completed November 4 to 9 (n=1000) and December 2 to 6, 2021 (n=1000). More than half (57%) of respondents expressed interest in foods or beverages that support immune health. 

Dairy foods have long been a player in this space with probiotics in cultured dairy foods, with or without vitamin D fortification. It’s time to make sure you are adding these beneficial bacteria to everything from yogurt to kefir to cottage cheese. This includes frozen variations, as well plant-based alternatives.  

Probiotics has become a familiar term to many since the pandemic. Awareness of their immune benefits is rising and companies are exploring ways to differentiate in the competitive market. This might be through the inclusion of other recognized immunity-boosting ingredients or prebiotic fiber. Maybe it’s the inclusion of botanicals or nootropics. 

The global probiotics market size was estimated at $54.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% from 2021 to 2028, to a valuation of $95.3 billion, according to Grandview Research. It is driven by the growing consumer inclination towards preventive healthcare in conjunction with the development of efficient probiotic strains. 

Probiotics, when consumed in adequate amounts, have desirable effects on the body, such as improved gut health and reduced intestinal inflammation. Probiotics play a great role in preventive healthcare as they prevent the occurrence of diseases by strengthening the immune system. Thus, rising awareness regarding preventive healthcare is expected to boost the market growth over the forecast period, reports Grandview Research in “Probiotics Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Food & Beverages, Dietary Supplements), By Ingredient (Bacteria, Yeast), By End Use (Human, Animal), By Distribution Channel, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 – 2028,” which was published in August 2021. 

“The market in the U.S. is characterized by the presence of demographic-specific probiotics, such as for geriatrics and genders. These niche markets have offered regional players the chance to adopt different strategies to enhance their product portfolio and maximize their resources. Excessive demand for probiotic-based food and beverage products as well as dietary supplements is expected to drive the U.S. market over the next few years,” according to the report. 

The human probiotics segment led the global market in 2020 with a revenue share of more than 91%, according to Grandview Research. On the basis of end use, the market has been broadly classified into human and animal probiotics. Technological advancements with respect to human-grade probiotics have broadened the scope of the products fit for human consumption. This is in reaction to the integration of novel food-grade ingredients in juices and other non-milk-based applications by prominent market players. 

Probiotics are a great way to keep consumers focused on dairy, where, despite all the marketplace challenges since the onset of the pandemic, demand has only kept growing. Per-capita dairy consumption in the U.S. is at the highest levels since 1960. Exports in 2021 are on pace for a record, too, reports the National Milk Producers Federation. 

Retail sales figures from 2020 are now available from IRI. The data show that 2020’s gains in grocery-store purchases weren’t just a rechanneling of lost school and restaurant business toward at-home consumption. By comparing 2021 with 2019, we can see that dairy’s gains are built to last.

Retail fluid milk may have declined when compared to 2019, but this is attributed to consumers shifting toward dairy in other forms. Plus, don’t forget, kids are back in school and getting their daily dose of milk in the classroom. And, fast-food kids’ meals are back in style for quick meals between activities. Milk makes them better.

Did you know that my wonderful state of Illinois is helping kids get the nutrient-dense milk they need when they are eating out? Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 3490 into law on Dec. 10, 2021. It states that if a restaurant includes milk as a beverage in a kids’ meal, the drink must be dairy milk and contain no more than 130 calories per container or serving. 

The National Milk Producers Federation said that even though retail fluid milk sales are down compared to the 2019, there still are some bright spots. Because grocery-store milk prices have increased, actual fluid-milk revenues rose nearly $900 million over the past two years. That’s actually a bigger gain than plant-based beverages, which saw sales of their more-expensive products rise only $513 million.

Further, fluid’s decline wasn’t uniform across all categories. Whole milk consumption increased 0.5% over the past two years and is now well-established as the most popular variety of conventional milk, showing that fluid milk is more popular when it tastes more like milk. Just think of the potential if probiotics were included!

Hope to see many of you at Dairy Forum 2022 this week. 

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