SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Probiotic foods are leading the functional health food market as South Korea society is rapidly aging.
On August 6, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced that the total output of functional health foods last year amounted to 1,482 billion won, up 5 percent compared with 2012. The ministry added that the volume of the functional health food market that includes export and import figures totaled 1,792 billion won.
The biggest item in the total output was accounted for by Ginseng products, amounting to 586.9 billion won, 40 percent of the total. As the total output of Ginseng products has been continuously decreasing, however, its market share is in a declining phase from 53 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2012.
Products made from new ingredients not in the traditional health food list accounted for 16 percent, vitamin and mineral products represented 12 percent, probiotic items were equivalent to 5 percent and foods made from aloe amounted to 4 percent.
Among these health functional foods, the output of products with probiotics increased by 55 percent to 80.4 billion won last year, up from 51.8 billion won in 2012. The ministry said that the increasing popularity of the probiotics products came from people’s increasing awareness on the importance of intestine health.
In terms of products made from milk thistle, the output has rapidly increased to 30.8 billion won last year, up from 13.5 billion won in 2012, as the patents for the material expired.
Products made from new ingredients also increased 29 percent compared with the previous year. Among them, complex extracts made from various ingredients including Baek Su O, which is good for menopausal women, increased to 70.4 billion won, up from 10 billion won, by seven-folds in a year.
When it comes to functional effects of the foods, products for the immune system was most popular, equivalent to 25 percent, followed by items for blood circulation (22%), antioxidants (21%), dietary supplements (7%) and foods for intestine health (5%).
With regard to the sales revenue of functional health food manufacturers, Korea Ginseng Corporation which produces Ginseng products earned 428.8 billion won, ranking No. 1, followed by Korea Yakult Corporation (78.6 billion won), Suheung Corporation (54.9 billion won), Novarex (50.9 billion won) and Cosmax Bio (50.7 billion won).
Among imported functional foods for health, vitamin and mineral products accounted for 43 percent, ranking No. 1, and 68 percent of imported health products came from the U.S.
As of the end of the previous year, the number of functional health food manufacturers and sellers was 449 and 92,611 respectively, up 3.2 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, compared with the same period last year.
“The popularity of functional health food seems to be steadily increasing as people live longer and lead more affluent lives,” a ministry official said. “We will improve the safety and function of those products by building a system to test potential functionalities and technically supporting a new development of ingredients,” he added.
By Veronica Huh (firstname.lastname@example.org)