Although Yakult was one of the original products and has strong scientific back up, its performance is slowing - possibly because the market has become hugely competitive, with heavy consumer campaigns from the newer brands.
The success of our star lines is down to the fact they offer consumers specific benefits that help identify conditions - for instance Benecol claims to lower cholesterol levels.
This category is not noticeably affected by weather or seasonal factors. People who buy probiotic drinks tend to be loyal and drink them as manufacturers advise - Yakult, for example, sells in packs of seven - one for every day of the week. Although typical consumers are happy to pay the recommended price, there are lots of promotions and multibuys in the market, all good for driving trial.
Health-consciousness is not going away. Consumers want products that do them good and make them feel they're doing the right thing. But they also want taste and variety. Hence, the manufacturers are continually introducing new flavours to keep consumer interest alive.
The market still has room for growth in innovation and there are products coming through all the time. The best suppliers are looking closely at the market and their ranges to be sure they have covered all potential health aspects and all opportunities.