A recent Fact.MR report finds that isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) sales in 2018 were ~420 thousand tons, and are estimated to record ~6% Y-o-Y in 2019. The IMO industry is primarily influenced by the ingredient’s benefits that extent beyond gastrointestinal tract, complemented by its growing popularity as a low-calorie sweetener in protein bars.
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Low glycemic index and high prebiotic fiber content in IMO has meant that adoption of this plant-based ingredient continues on an upward spiral in the supplements industry, to help health-conscious consumers achieve improved nutrient absorption and fat loss.
According to the study, shares of the IMO market remains consolidated among four leading players, who hold a strong distribution and export their products to lucrative markets worldwide. These players are targeting potential consumers for boosting sales, with the US being one of the leading countries to create value. While frontrunners are focusing on collaborating with distributors and farmers for leveraging positive consumer sentiment on locally-sourced ingredients, entrepreneurs are entering into tie-ups with raw material providers.
Stakeholders in the isomalto-oligosaccharide market are adopting innovative marketing strategies to attract a wider pool of audience. Stage-wise investment in product development and commercial campaigns for raising awareness on health benefits of IMO, by sharing successful results of clinical trials, are some of the key efforts of manufacturers that will augur well for the IMO market growth.
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Opportunities Abound in Food & Beverage Industry for IMO Manufacturers
The Fact.MR study opines that rising demand for non-GMO and allergen-free prebiotics in line with an increased focus of manufacturers on improving the quality of nutritional products will drive sales of isomalto-oligosaccharide. Recent proliferation of health-conscious consumers, coupled with their changing dietary habits to limit sugar intake by using low-calorie sweeteners, holds significant potential for higher IMO sales.
According to the report, application of IMO as a prebiotic agent and sugar substitute will remain high in the food and beverage industry, with wide applications in nutritional bars, dietary supplements, bakery & confectionary and functional foods. IMO sales in the food & beverage industry is estimated at ~290 thousand tons in 2019, primarily driven by high adoption in beverages and nutrition bars. The study also indicates that growing recognition of low-fiber diet as the root cause for chronic ailments, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and coronary vascular diseases, will increasingly contribute to gains in the IMO market.
The study mentions that adoption of IMO isn’t limited to F&B industry, and potential opportunities exist in the pharmaceutical and animal feed sector. Growing preference for natural alternatives over conventional medicine will pave lucrative growth avenues for stakeholders that are eying stronger position in market banking on IMO syrups.
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The study opines that growth of the IMO market will remain promising. However, true potential of the market has been constrained by recent revelation from the FDA that there is no evident ground for physiological health benefits from IMO consumption. Additionally, FDA has not proposed to amend the list to include IMO as dietary fiber. Although key players are focusing on reformulation of their products, it is highly likely that several small players won’t act to the cause immediately, and IMOs will remain falsely labelled as ‘fiber’ in various food products in the foreseeable future.
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This post was originally published on Market Reports