Thailand, with its substantial population of health-conscious consumers who recognise the pivotal role of digestive health in overall well-being, presents a robust opportunity for food and beverage products containing prebiotic ingredients.
This insight emerges from a recent global consumer survey conducted by One Inch Whale on behalf of BENEO, a prominent manufacturer of plant-based functional ingredients. The research encompassed 9,243 respondents across nine countries, including 1,002 participants in Thailand. BENEO will participate in this year's Food Ingredients Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, from September 20th to 22nd. At their shared booth (Booth number: S01) with Sales Network Partner DPO International, visitors can gain insights into the company's prebiotic solutions derived from chicory root fibres and their positive impact on gut health, inner well-being, and overall health.
Heightened Awareness of How Digestive Health Significantly Impacts Overall Well-being
The research reveals that 55% of consumers in Thailand identify as health-conscious, with approximately 29% already demonstrating a keen interest in healthy foods and ingredients. Among these Thai consumers, there is a widespread recognition of the inherent connection between digestive health and overall well-being, including physical and mental health and a robust immune system. Notably, one in five consumers in Thailand already incorporates prebiotic foods and/or supplements into their daily routine.
Awareness of the Link Between Prebiotics and Health
The majority of consumers associate prebiotics with supporting digestive health (58%). Moreover, a significant 70% of Thai consumers draw a direct link between prebiotics and overall health. This is notably higher than the global average of 53%, underscoring the awareness and understanding among Thai consumers.
Additionally, consumers place significant importance on on-pack communication when making purchasing decisions, with 67% referencing this information before buying. In Thailand, the appeal of prebiotics in on-pack communication stands at an impressive 62%.
Despite their keen interest and awareness of the benefits of prebiotics on health and well-being, there remains unmet demand in Thailand. More than half of respondents express the need for additional healthy products to integrate into their daily routines, reflecting a holistic approach to digestive health as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle that promotes well-being (55%).
During Food Ingredients Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, from September 20th to 22nd, Christian Phillippen, Managing Director of Beneo Asia Pacific, and Thomas Schmidt, Marketing Director of Beneo, highlighted the potential prebiotic market for food and beverage in Thailand. They emphasised that Thai consumers recognise the importance of the gut system for the immune system and overall health. Beneo's chicory root fibres, Orafti® Inulin, and Oligofructose are plant-based, non-GMO, and scientifically and clinically proven. They can serve as sugar and fat replacements, helping to reduce calorie content in the final product and promoting weight management while also contributing to blood glucose management.
Moreover, Beneo offers a portfolio that supports healthy aging, including carbohydrates that promote a low blood glucose response and the addition of beta-glucan-rich barley flour, which slows down food transit in the gut, aiding in cholesterol management. Beneo's commitment to plant-based products aligns with Thailand's heightened awareness of the link between nutrition and health, offering manufacturers the tools to create healthy, flavourful, and sustainable products to meet Thai consumer demand.
According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), a prebiotic is "a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms, conferring a health benefit." Beneo's chicory root fibres, Orafti® Inulin, and Oligofructose are among the few prebiotics that are scientifically and clinically proven to meet this definition. They are also the only proven plant-based prebiotics available.
Additionally, the National Agency of Drug and Food Control of Indonesia (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan) has granted a prebiotic claim for chicory root fibres inulin and oligofructose, making them the first and only recognised prebiotics in the country. The Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS), China's largest professional nutrition body, has also acknowledged inulin and oligofructose as accepted prebiotics. More than 150 high-quality human intervention studies have been published on chicory root fibre, providing strong evidence of its distinct physiological benefits.
With BENEO's technical expertise spanning all continents, food manufacturers are well-equipped to develop new products incorporating prebiotics tailored to the regional tastes of their consumers. This combination of scientific and technical prowess is instrumental in BENEO's ambition to connect nutrition and health by supporting manufacturers in offering healthy products on store shelves.