Probiotics and Prebiotics Find a New Audience as Functional Ingredients

November 4, 2022
by SPINS Marketing

Trends to watch in VMS, Beverages, and Yogurt

Probiotics and prebiotics are longtime staples of the health and wellness market, and they have gradually gained new audiences as gut health became a popular topic for mainstream shoppers. The result has been an interesting shift in what is driving growth for probiotics and prebiotics.

Amazon Leads Growth

Looking at top line trends, we see how shopping habits are shifting. Within the Natural Grocery channel, total channel sales are moderately down by 1.7%. Yet, regional and independent grocery and conventional multioutlet stores both show growth, with 2.5% and 2.0% respectively. The most positive story is on Amazon, as both total revenue (up 7.7%) and total units sold (up 6.0%) tell a very different story.

Shoppers Turn to Functional Ingredients

Within the VMS channel, prebiotics and probiotics experienced a modest 1.6% year-over-year growth. As a functional ingredient—that is an ingredient that offers additional health benefits to the product—the growth is much stronger. Perhaps most interestingly, that growth now extends beyond the VMS aisle. Looking at products containing probiotics:

  • Deodorant grew 43.3%
  • Wellness shots grew 35.2%
  • Refrigerated drinkable yogurt grew 22.9%
  • Frozen Novelties grew 16.4%

Why Shoppers Are Turning to Probiotics and Prebiotics

Their use as functional ingredients is also taking place within the VMS aisle, especially to address health concerns beyond gut health. Supplements with other health focuses are incorporating these probiotics and prebiotics for added benefits and seeing year-over-year growth:

  • Prenatal and postnatal are up 15%
  • Mood support is up 9%
  • Bone health is up 6%

Food and Beverage Trends to Watch

As Shoppers seek these ingredients for everyday consumption and brands respond with innovative options, a few trends are emerging as ones to watch. These are 3 probiotics and prebiotics trends to watch within the food and beverage departments:


Apple cider vinegar contains some probiotics and has become a catch-all for shoppers who want to address a variety of health concerns, from high cholesterol to weight loss to gut health. Apple cider vinegar supplements come in several delivery forms, including gummies and tablets, however, beverages and shots are popping up as exciting options for shoppers who want some variety for their regular dose of apple cider vinegar.


Probiotics have made their way into both savory and sweet snacks. Shoppers who are going to grab a bite between meals or satisfy their sweet tooth can also tackle gut health. Store shelves are filling up with chips, granola bars, and cookies that proudly announce the included probiotics on their packaging.


Yogurt is perhaps the most known source of probiotics for shoppers. While refrigerated yogurt accounts for 81% of the market share, plant-based yogurt is showing the most growth, with cashew-based up 25% and coconut-based up 14%. Refrigerated drinkable yogurt is also showing power with an impressive 20% growth, while plant-based refrigerated drinkable yogurt is up 11%. Shoppers are choosing probiotics and prebiotics as they pursue their wellness goals, and they are seeking options that suit their lifestyles. Pills, drinkable yogurts, shots, and snacks allow health-minded shoppers to find the products that work best for them. Consider how you can bring the right options to shoppers as they continue to explore the many benefits probiotics and prebiotics bring.