Which are the Best Known Probiotic Brands in the UK and Ireland?

by

Joy Corkery

Always wondered which are the probiotic brands with the most brand awareness in the UK and Ireland? We're sure you have. Guess no longer. The answer is here.

Do a quick Google search of the probiotic market in the UK or Ireland and you will be met with a mixture of results. BBC published an article at the end of last year that labelled probiotics quite useless while on the other hand, women’s online magazine Evoke.ie wrote an article on a probiotic that apparently banishes IBS for good.

This can be very confusing for brands trying to market their product. How can they know what their target audience believes in terms of probiotics and who are the brands that they trust? We decided to find out the answer by conducting a study across the UK and Ireland to find out the general conception of the probiotics market. We present the results in this article and conclude with some suggestions for brands looking to increase brand awareness.

10% of Respondents Suffer From Stomach, Gut & Digestive Problems


We surveyed over 2,053 respondents across the UK and Ireland regarding stomach, gut, and digestive problems. Of these 2,053 respondents, 1,012 were male and 1,041 were female.

First, we asked how many people suffered from stomach, gut and digestive problems. You can see from the chart below that 10% of respondents in Ireland indicated suffering and 11% in the UK.

Chart outlining the percentage of people in the UK and ireland who suffer from stomach, gut and digestive problems


In terms of this study, 10% sounds like a low percentage. However, when you consider it a reflection of the entire population of the UK and Ireland, it is a significant number.

Which Probiotics Come To Mind When Asked


There are various forms in which one can take probiotics: in food, in supplement form, refrigerated or dry. We wanted to know first, which form is best known by people and then, which brands are best known. Therefore, we asked respondents the following unaided brand performance question: “When you think of probiotic supplements, which brands come to mind?

The top 4 brands listed were all food brands, in particular, forms of yoghurt. Also, the top 4 brands were the same in the UK in Ireland, although in a slightly different order:

Yakult - Activia - Actimel - Danone

A chartshowing the top 4 probiotic brands in Ireland
Chart showing the top 4 probiotic brands in the UK

Probiotics in Ireland

Beyond a general overview, we wanted to see if there was any difference in terms of unaided brand awareness across different demographics for these top 4 brands. We looked at gender, region, income, interest in health, and interest in outdoor activities and there were no major differences in terms of unaided brand awareness here (e.g. male v. female, high income v. low income). However, we did find deviations in terms of age and education level.

The highest amount of unaided answers for Yakult, Actimel, Danone and Activia fell under the 26-55 age group, with the percentages seen in the chart below.

Unaided brand awareness for 26-55-year-olds


From the age 55+, there was only a slight drop in unaided brand awareness of these brands.

However, when we looked at the 16-25 age bracket, we saw a significant drop in unaided brand awareness for the 4 top listed brands.

Chart showing unaided brand awareness 16-25-year olds


16-25-year-olds are 66% less likely to know Actimel, 50% less likely to know Yakult, 77% less likely to know Danone, and 85% less likely Activia.

We also saw a difference in education levels for these top 4 brands. Here are the stats for respondents with a high level of education.

Unaided brand awareness probiotics highly ducated people


And here are the stats for respondents with a low level of education.

Unaided brand awareness probiotics low education


Respondents with a low level of education were 92% less likely to indicate familiarity with Yakult and 76% with Actimel. However, the percentage became smaller with Danone (14%) and Activia (28%).

Probiotics in the UK

Again, for the UK, we looked at gender, region, income, interest in health, etc. and there were no major differences in terms of unaided brand awareness across the various demographics except in terms of age and education level for the top 4 brands listed by survey participants.

Once more, the highest amount of unaided answers for Yakult, Actimel, Danone and Activia fell under the 26-55 age group:

Unaided brand awareness probiotics 26-55-yearolds UK

And, you guessed it, unaided brand awareness for these top 4 brands was quite lower in the 16-25-year-old age bracket.

Unaided brand awareness probiotics 16-25-year-olds UK

Within the two age brackets, unaided brand awareness for Yakult fell by 41%, Actimel by 45%, and Danone by 80%. Breaking the mould, awareness for Activia stayed the same.

The same trends showed in education level. Below, we see the figures for those with a high level of education.

Unaided brand awareness probiotics highly educated people UK


And here are the numbers for respondents with a low level of education.

Unaided brand awareness probiotics people with low education UK

Again, the level of brand awareness for Danone stayed the same. However, lower educated respondents listed Yakult 35% less in the unaided brand awareness question, while Actimel was 36% less and Activia was 55% less.

What Probiotic Brands Can Do To Gain Market Share

As you have seen from the stats provided, things change. Not everything but certainly some things. We learned that there were differences between the UK and Ireland, even if slight, in the top 4 probiotic brands as indicated by the survey participants.

More importantly, we learned that there were differences in brand awareness between different age groups and education levels. Now, if we were any of these 4 companies, we would have learned one important thing: Don’t take your target audience for granted. Find out exactly who they are and what they think of your brand. Make marketing campaigns appealing to them. Plus, don’t take anything for granted you have solid proof. Your target audience may not be who they seem or there might be additional audiences to target lurking among the data available via brand analytics.

It is a matter of gathering the right, and most useful, information. For instance, we also asked respondents “How are you most likely to find out about new brands, products, or services?” The top response at 49% was that respondents discover new brands via their friends and family. Interesting, especially in combination with other information. Now, we didn’t do it for this study but with the brand analytics data, it would have been possible to identify which audience personas (for example, young mothers from London or highly-educated males from Dublin) were the top customers for each brand. If we were one of the brands ourselves, we could have then used this data to devise a marketing plan that nurtures these top customers and encourages word-of-mouth recommendations.

How people in the UK and Ireland discover brands


The same connections can be made with the second and third answers in the market awareness question. A TV campaign could target 43% of respondents who indicated they learn about new brands from TV ads. And 38% of respondents who learn about new brands from a Google search? A well-planned SEO strategy should do the trick.

Another untapped audience is those people who have undiagnosed stomach, gut, and digestive problems or those who have problems they consider too embarrassing to get help with (e.g. flatulence). Why not create a TV or SEO campaign targeting these people? It may sound a bit risky but sometimes risks are worth taking. Plus, you can also gather your own brand analytics data to discover if these new activities are making a positive impact on your brand.

If you are looking to explore the status of your own brand, don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help.

The results shown in this post are from a survey conducted by Latana during February 2019 across the internet connected population in the UK and Ireland. The total sample size is n=2053 and a Multilevel Regression Poststratification (MRP) model was used to obtain representative results.

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