Speaking at IPA Probiota World Congress in Barcelona on 8 February 2023, Rosanna Pecere, Executive Director of IPA Europe, presented the overview of the European market ‘It is not only “in some third countries” that the use of the term ‘probiotics’ may be regulated differently’ she said. Since 2018, some EU countries are progressively allowing the use of the term ‘probiotic’ as a ‘commercial practice’, while others are setting national conditions and guidance at national level. This increased use of the term ‘probiotic’ is also reflected by the market evolution: during the period 2018-2021 the European market of probiotic food and food supplements shows a significant increase of sales of +9,08%. All the ‘probiotic’ products, from European countries and from third countries are in free circulation in the European single market.
‘E-commerce growth is driven by Europe’ by Lumina Intelligence. The research, based on 25 countries around the world, shows a high increase in the probiotic supplements’ e-commerce market size, which was valued US$ 928 million in 2018 and reached US$ 1.7 billion in 2021 (+81%). Moreover, we observe that the e-com growth in 2021 for probiotic supplements is driven by Europe, with an increase of +20% in 2020 (versus +15% in America and APAC). Customer reviews grew by 2k% (or 510k ) with the growth peaking in H1 2021.
We can conclude that, the lack of agreed criteria and conditions of use to define the probiotic category in the EU expose the manufacturers to a situation of unfair competition and the different practices can create confusion for European consumers who are actively looking for these products. It is time to establish certain criteria within the EU and at international level in order to improve consumer protection against misleading practices and to avoid serious disruptions of the European market.
The presentations are available here: