Sales for prebiotic fibers look bleak at first glance in SPINS data, as they are declining in food, beverage and supplements departments. But some SPINS trend spotters offer another perspective: Several of today’s consumer priorities align with a focus on fiber, both from the perspective of growing interest in gut health and contemporary ways of eating, such as the ketogenic diet and other related carbohydrate-conscious approaches, where fiber plays a role in calculating “net carbs.” While momentum in the market has slowly grown, recent developments, including several exciting product launches in a variety of categories, point to significant runway for prebiotics in the future.
In frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable grocery departments, food and beverage products marketed for prebiotics showed a 19.1% decline to US$1.0 billion from November 2018 to November 2019. Combination pre- and probiotic products—known as synbiotics—showed a 9.6% decline to $114.2 million. A closer look by category revealed more nuance and several pockets of growth. In wellness bars and gels, prebiotic products were up 15.5% to $135.9 million, led by several brands formulating with tapioca, a derivative of cassava, or chicory root. Both ingredients double as sweeteners in this category and elsewhere, as do acacia and yacon root, making them versatile additions for other sweet categories such as candy and frozen desserts. The shelf-stable sweeteners category itself showed 74.0% growth to $5.0 million for prebiotic items.
Recent changes to regulations of the Nutrition Facts panel may also make room for more widespread incorporation of certain prebiotic ingredients. With a new line for added sugars, those fibers that add natural sweetness may have the additional benefit of flavoring products without requiring a declaration of added sugars.
Both refrigerated and shelf-stable functional beverages showed prebiotic promise too. With a limited number of tonics and sodas making up what is still an emerging area of innovation, prebiotic products amounted to $2.2 million in functional-beverage categories with 55.0% growth.
Read the full article and learn more about pockets of promise for prebiotic products in INSIDER’s Prebiotics digital magazine.
Jessica Hochman is senior manager of natural insights & innovation research at SPINS.