The concept of 'functional foods' is gaining momentum with the category growing by leaps and bounds.
While this industry is witnessing new product launches and the entry of new players, the probiotics category has witnessed the entry of international and local brands in India.
Probiotci foods are marketed as functional foods globally, whereby they are consumed for their well established health benefits for digestive health. The Global Probiotics market is forecast to reach $20 billion by 2011.
The category is still regarded as a "niche" as it is still at a developing stage, with low awareness. According to a recent Nielsen study, Delhi leads from Mumbai in terms of awareness about probiotics and is more receptive to the category. The overall awareness about probiotic in Delhi is 44 per cent followed by Mumbai by 20 per fent
Increasing consumer awareness, rising healthcare costs, scientifically proven health benefits, and consumer interest towards preventive healthcare are the major factors propelling market growth.
According to the currently adopted definition by FAO / WHO, probiotics are, "Live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".