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Dairy and beverages dominate immune-supporting ingredients

By Mike Stones , 14-Apr-2010
Last updated on 14-Apr-2010 at 13:15 GMT

Dairy products and beverages dominate equally the immune-supporting ingredients sector both within Europe and globally, according to a new report from Danish-based research group Bio2com.

Its report, The daily defence support immune-supporting ingredients for foods and beverages 2010, focuses on consumer immune supporting nutrition, the role of individual ingredients and claims. The research covered 900 new consumer food and beverage products launched between 2008 and the first quarter of 2010. Included were ingredients with immune health potential such as pro- and prebiotics, flavonoids, carotenes and antioxidants and biotanicials.

The company’s executive director Karin Nielsen told NutraIngredients.com: “The dominance of dairy in this sector clearly reflects the extended use of probiotics which strongly influences this whole area.”

Half of all fermented diary products contain prebiotics and about 10 per cent are vegetarian based on soy or rice.

Health and wellness

The versatile health and wellness characteristics of the beverage sector also lead it to dominate the immune-supporting ingredients, highlighted the report. “Because of their flexibility and versatility, I often think of beverages as the supplement vehicle of the food sector,” said Nielsen.

The ingredients in beverages are dominated by natural antioxidants and bioactives from fruits and berries and prebiotics/fibres, GTEs, traditional medicinal herbs such as ginseng and gingers as well as probiotics.

Between 2008 and 2009, the highest growth was shown by the sub categories of nectars, fruit or flavoured still drinks and beverages mixes.

Across all immune supporting ingredients, the European market is driving innovation. “This reflects the diversity of European companies,” said Nielsen. “European markets are much more sensitive to immune health than any other countries apart from Japan.”

But communication about product claims continues to stall progress in the European market. “Product claims communication is an issue and I can see a real need for getting the probiotics question solved. The whole group of diary products is highly dependent on probiotic claims and that’s breaking progress,” said Nielsen.

Global market

Meanwhile, the global market for pre and probiotics is forecast to reach $20bn within the next five years with Europe and USA claiming 15 per cent of the total market.

The launch trends over the survey period point towards growth being dominated by immune beverages and fermented dairy drinks. This category is expected to include more vegetarian products and fibres.

Nielsen also highlighted opportunities for the development of immune-supporting ingredients in the bakery sector. Traditionally the focus has been on heart health in this segment but in future more attention could focus on innovative immune-supporting ingredients, she said.

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