COVID-19 Impact on Probiotics in Food and Beverages Industry
The novel coronavirus has affected all industries, including food and beverages, automobile, and pharmaceuticals. This pandemic has led to mass production shutdowns and supply chain disturbances that have affected the economies of nearly every nation in the world. Despite this major hit by pandemic, impact on global probiotic market has been a rapid upward trajectory due to growing demand for healthy foods, increase understanding of health and rising cases of chronic and acute diseases among the individual irrespective of age. In addition, this substantial growth in this market can be attributed to rising health awareness due to improved understanding of health. Moreover, the rising popularity of functional and acceptance of on-the-go and ready-to-drinks probiotics drinks, combined with the growing awareness of health-conscious customers, are anticipated to contribute the growth opportunities for the market in the coming years.
In addition, the growing evolution of the food industry and the introduction of different types of food and snacks, such as tastes, shapes, sizes, and nutritional value, are also adding momentum to the market.
However, processing problems, side effects such as bloating and allergies due to the presence of amines group in probiotics may pose significant challenges to market growth.
IMPACT ON DEMAND
Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and yeasts that naturally live in your body. It is made up of good bacteria that help keep your body healthy and working well. It interacts with our gut microbiome to reinforce our immune system, increase immune responses and promote specific immune signalling with physiological relevance. Thus in the wake of the recent pandemic, consumption of probiotics can significantly reduce the transmission of coronavirus, thereby boosting the overall immunity in the body. Moreover, probiotics have been shown to decrease the duration of viral infections. Most of the information available regarding the reinforcement of immune health through probiotics consumption has been demonstrated in animal models.
• According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, intranasal inoculation of L. reuteri or L. plantarum has been shown protective effects against pneumonia virus lethal infection in the mice.
• Another study from the University of Indonesia, a randomized placebo-controlled trial with L. reuteri ATCC 55730 showed improved workplace healthiness by reducing short term sick-leave caused by respiratory problems in Tetra Pak workers in Sweden.
• A recent study from the University of California showed that probiotics might be associated with fewer antibiotics use in infants and children in the context of reducing the risk of symptoms of the common cold
• In February 2020, China’s National Health Commission and National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine recommended using probiotics in patients with severe COVID-19. They stated the role of probiotics in COVID-19- related illnesses.
Thus, due to the health effects of probiotics, Manufacturers of probiotics are focusing on the production of probiotics. Moreover, several probiotics manufacturers are reforming their strategies to set on rising consumption and thereby grab the opportunity to enhance focus on health and wellness.
• In June 2020, BioGaia, one of the major probiotics manufacturers has launched biogaia.es a new website in Spanish-speaking countries that will further improve awareness related to the use of probiotics in the treatment of COVID immune and thereby well-being of health. Additionally, the company has stated that its probiotics strain L. reuteri DSM 17938 effectively treats the common cold in children.
Thus, probiotics have been a critical element for boosting the immune system in the body, which is a crucial factor in batting the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, combining a healthy and balanced diet with prebiotics, probiotics, vitamin supplementation, among others, could help us to reinforce our immune system during the COVID-19 outbreak, which will tend to increase the demand for probiotics in the coming years
IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN
Food system disturbances due to COVID-19 are projected to have a negative effect on access to probiotics foods and drinks due to the failure of dairy farmers to export them, resulting in less nutrient-rich food diversity on the market. In addition to growing freight costs, food processors have faced difficulties obtaining raw materials due to limited and costly local transport options. Such logistical breakdowns have led to high stock levels within the producers and made problems for probiotics manufacturers. Moreover, the increase in export restrictions has made it difficult for the importers and manufacturers and has affected the supply chain.
• According to an article from the food trade tracker, fifteen countries placed export restrictions on probiotics and fortifiable crops in response to the pandemic.
Despite the hurdles, e-commerce and private label saw a sharp rise as the industry braced itself for the second wave of the pandemic and beyond. The pandemic has shifted the consumer shopping interest and forcibly satisfied with online shopping and thus resulting in a massive share from e-commerce websites. The boom in online/e-commerce platforms has significantly affected the market's supply chain as it provides greater flexibility and convenience to the consumer. This also helps maintain a better social distancing compared to traditional store-based retailers or supermarkets. Globally, after the lockdown, Google's search for food delivery services rose by 300 %.
At the same time, the manufacturers and companies are also building ties with supermarket and hypermarket brands to ensure that their offline consumers also get the same offering or discounts.
• By offering "click and collect," major supermarket companies such as Walmart have enhanced their offerings enables customers to place their order online and receive it at the shop.
• Companies like Big basket have risen 84% during seven months - January to July. The startup also claimed the retention rate of customers grew 50% during the period
The ease of buying products through online channels offers greater flexibility and safety to the consumer. It not only provides a discount but also ensures that the product ordered is reached on time. Therefore, the online e-commerce website will continue to expand and serve its customers in the coming year.
COVID-19 has changed the buying behavior of consumers. Consumers are more cautious about health and looking for more hygienic products. In our view, this trend should continue and particularly in our industry that should help in the shift from unorganized to organized or unbranded to branded products
Amit Kumat, MD & CEO, Prataap Snacks
The two overarching themes that have emerged among consumers. As a result, the pandemic is: products with better nutrition and products with better immunity for the entire family
Suresh Narayanan, chairman, and managing director, Nestle India
Clorox Co. and Proctor & Gamble Co. have seen sales for their hygienic and cleaning products skyrocket during the COVID-19 pandemic, with both consumer goods giants struggling to keep up with demand.
Clorox Co. and Proctor & Gamble Co.
Sun Genomics aims to make every human’s gut healthy through its direct-to-consumer custom probiotics solution, and thanks to a Series A, has more investor dollars to put toward that mission. The company’s flagship product is Floré, a microbiome test, and gut probiotics solution that uses whole-genome sequencing to evaluate samples, then recommends personalized products based on users’ unique gut profiles, The company also has a digestive powder product for children called Floré Tots.
Sunny Jain, founder and CEO of Sun Genomics
Clorox, which manufactures disinfectants, vitamins, water filtration devices and other products, has seen sales increase in large part due to increased demand brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic. While sales at the company increased overall by 22%, the company’s health and wellness segment sales—which includes its disinfectant products—shot up by 33%. In terms of net cash from operations, Clorox made $1.5 billion in its fiscal year 2020, up 56% from the previous year’s take of $1 billion.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a significant disruptor in 2020, prompting the attention to move globally to the food industry. However, the probiotic market has seen a rapid upward trajectory growth due to increased demand for the nutritious product, growing health awareness, and change in the lifestyle, and increased focus towards immunity since during the pandemic that helps to support healthy immune systems has been a primary concern among the individual’s years. Moreover, the rise in case studies and research on the consumption of probiotics its fruitful impact on the virus is further anticipated to increase the consumer demand in the market as there has been an increased understanding of health and immunity post-pandemic. In addition, factors such as an increase in immunity as an area of interest for the consumer in the probiotics market will continue to rise in the coming years.
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