BENEO’s New Consumer Survey Demonstrates Promising Market Potential for Prebiotics in Thailand




Bangkok, 21 September 2023 – With a high proportion of health-conscious consumers who are aware of the importance of digestive health to overall wellbeing, Thailand holds strong opportunities for food and drink products containing prebiotic ingredients. This is according to a new global consumer survey conducted by One Inch Whale on behalf of BENEO, a leading manufacturer of plant-based functional ingredients. The research surveyed a total of 9,243 consumers in 9 countries, including 1,002 participants in Thailand. BENEO will be participating in this year’s Food Ingredient’s Asia in Bangkok, Thailand from 20 – 22 September. At their shared booth (Booth number: S01) with its Sales Network Partner DPO International, visitors can gain insight into the company’s prebiotic solutions derived from chicory root fibres and their beneficial effect in terms of a healthy gut, inner wellbeing and overall health.


Heightened Awareness of How Digestive Health Significantly Impacts Overall Wellbeing


The research indicates that 1 in 2 consumers in Thailand (55%) define themselves as health-conscious, while about 1 in 3 already exhibit a strong interest in healthy foods and ingredients (29%). There is also a widespread recognition among these Thai consumers of the intrinsic link between digestive health and overall health — especially with regard to physical and mental wellbeing, as well as an effective and functionable immune system. The survey highlights that 1 in 5 consumers in Thailand are already incorporating prebiotic foods and/or supplements as part of their regimen.


Awareness of the Link Between Prebiotics and Health


The majority of consumers associate prebiotics with supporting digestive health (58%). Also, the link to overall health is strong, with 70% of Thai consumers making that connection. Compared to the global average of 53%, this is much more outspoken in this region and shows that Thai consumers are highly cognisant.


In addition, consumers look closely to on-pack communication as a crucial purchase motivator, with over three-fifths referencing this information before buying (67%). In fact, the appeal of prebiotics in on-pack communication is high in Thailand — at 62%.


Although consumers are extremely interested in prebiotics and understand its positive effects on health and wellbeing, there continues to be an unsatisfied demand; with more than half of respondents in Thailand stating that there are not enough healthy products to incorporate into their daily routine. This is particularly pertinent as their interest in digestive health goes beyond constipation or medical issues, and encompasses an understanding that a good working digestive system is part of a healthy lifestyle, or makes them feel good (55%).


Christian Philippsen, Managing Director of BENEO Asia Pacific, and Thomas Schmidt, Marketing Director of BENEO, shared during Food Ingredient’s Asia in Bangkok, Thailand from 20 – 22 September that “our survey underscores the potential of prebiotics in the food and beverage sector in Thailand due to the high health awareness and positive attitude towards prebiotics by Thai consumers.


Thai consumers also demonstrate an understanding of the pivotal role the gut plays in strengthening the immune system and overall health. BENEO’s chicory root fibres, Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose, satisfy this demand as they are plant-based, non-GMO, and are scientifically and clinically established to meet ISAPP’s definition of prebiotics. Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose can serve as a replacement to sugar and fat, reduce calories in the end-product, and can provide benefits in terms of weight and blood glucose management.”


Furthermore, BENEO boasts a comprehensive portfolio that supports healthy ageing, as well as carbohydrates that facilitate low blood glucose response. In addition, they recently extended their fibre portfolio by introducing their latest barley beta-glucans ingredient, that delivers positive impacts on heart health and blood sugar management. The ingredient helps to effectively delay the passage of food through the large and small intestines as they are viscous, soluble dietary fibres that thickens food. They also lower blood cholesterol levels, which are linked to reduced risk for coronary heart disease.


Christian and Thomas emphasised that by making simple changes to what you consume, you can live a longer, healthier life. “Our company enables manufacturers to find the right ingredients to improve their foods without making compromises to taste and quality. Thailand rises to the top of the list compared to other countries when it comes to awareness of the link between nutrition and health. With our ingredients, we try to build on that link and give manufacturers the tools they need to make their products healthy, tasty, and more sustainable to respond to consumer demand in Thailand.”

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 und Oligofructose, belong to the only very few prebiotics which are scientifically and clinically proven to be classified in accordance with its definition. Additionally, they are the only proven plant-based prebiotics on the market.


Furthermore, the National Agency of Drug and Food Control of Indonesia (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan) has approved a prebiotic claim for chicory root fibres inulin and oligofructose, making it the first and only ingredients recognised as prebiotics in the country. The Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) — China’s largest professional nutrition body — has also concluded that inulin and oligofructose are among the first accepted prebiotics. In total, more than 150 high quality human intervention studies have been published on chicory root fibre, showcasing strong evidence for its distinct physiological benefits.


Together with BENEO’s technical expertise spanning across all continents, food manufacturers are well-equipped to develop new products incorporating prebiotics that suit the regional palates of their consumers. It is this combination of scientific and technical expertise that is key for BENEO’s ambition to connect nutrition and health by supporting manufacturers in bringing healthy products to the shelves.