A prebiotic, GOS is a non-digestible food ingredient that stimulates the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon, created through the enzymatic conversion of lactose in cows’ milk.
The market for the prebiotic was likely to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 9.3% for the period 2018 to 2028, according to business consultancy Fact.MR. This was in spite of challenges posed by stringent regulations on the use of prebiotics as a functional ingredient.
Key to the growth of GOS was its similar composition to human milk, making it attractive to infant formula producers. Its supposed health benefits were also likely to make it popular with consumers, argued Fact.MR.
‘Multitude of opportunities’
“Prominent consumer trends in the food and beverage industry are providing a multitude of opportunities for stakeholders in the GOS market,” said a Fact.MR analyst. “Investing in research and development to stay ahead of changing consumer needs and emerging trends will prove to be an underlying strength for manufacturers.”
The analyst predicted that, apart from gaining certifications and approvals from governing bodies, staying highly adaptive to constantly changing consumer trends was expected to continue driving the market.
One producer to have jumped on to the trend is Dairy Crest, which recently announced it was set to launch its own GOS product under the Promovita brand name. Sold as a liquid sachet ‘shot’, the product has been designed to be taken daily and is claimed to nourish health-promoting bacteria in the gut.
Direct to consumers
The dairy firm already offers GOS products for use as an ingredient by the food and drink industry under both the Promovita and NZMP Sure Start brands. However, its new product will be the first to be offered directly to consumers in the form of a supplement.
Ireland-based Kerry Group has also been pegged as an influential manufacturer in the GOS market by Fact.MR, having invested €500m (£443m) in the prebiotic by acquiring seven ingredient manufacturers – including two Chinese companies.
Kerry has adopted a five-year strategy, which involved an “acquisition spree” in some developing markets in Asia.