The global market containing probiotics in food in 2010 estimated at $21.6 billion and is expected to grow to $42 billion by 2016. North America leads the market and Asia-Pacific region is No. 2 generating $18 billion last year. The Western Europe ranked No. 3 with $11 billion sales last year.
The fermented drink market is dominated by Japan’s Yakult Honsha and Paris, France based Danone, the maker of Dannon Actimel, Activia yogurt, DanActive dairy drink, Activa and other brands. The West especially North America is tough on food health claims. The U.S. prohibited Danone claims of avoiding catching colds or flu and placed restrictions on claims of irregularity in 2010. Danone withdrew its claims of immune system power boosting of Actimel fermented drink in Europe in 2010.
However, Danone and Yakult are teaming up and promoting their products heavily in Asia especially in China and India where they have more freedom to claim health benefits of their products. China allows immune-regulation claims and Taiwan allows beneficial bacteria claim. Yakult has been marketed in Japan for more than 50 years. Danone owns 20 percent of Yakult in Japan and expect grab more ownership in coming years. They also have a joint venture in Vietnam.