The American College of Gastroenterology reports that 95 million people in the United States suffer from at least one type of digestive problem — that’s nearly one-third of the total population.

In 2007, health food aficionados Steve Demos and Todd Beckman gathered industry insiders, medical professionals and lifestyle-trend watchers to discuss and develop a product rooted in healthful digestion. The result of this gastrointestinal gathering was the development of NextFoods.

The company was quick to create a new category of food that helps support good health through the marriage of science and organics. The cornerstone of NextFoods’ good-for-you product line is its offering of probiotic drinks available under the GoodBelly brand.

According to Wendy Goldner, director of marketing for NextFoods, the drinks offer distressed digesters an efficacious beverage that marries great taste with scientifically substantiated benefits.

“Poor digestion results in diminished access to nutrients and energy, both of which are necessary to maintain good health and heal from illness or injury,” she explains. “Dysfunction of the gut can have far-reaching and long-standing consequences. Therefore, NextFoods was founded with the intent to ‘fix the gut.’”

Pros of probiotics
NextFoods found that the quickest and most effective path to a good gut is through probiotics. These healthful bacteria survive passage through the digestive tract, adhere to the walls of the intestinal system and deliver a benefit to the host, the company says.

Years of research has found that the probiotic lactobacillus plantarum 299v (Lp299v) is one of the most powerful probiotics on the market. “With more than 17 research trials and 15 years of demonstrated safe and effective use of [Lp299v] in Europe, we launched the GoodBelly brand of fruit juices, which contains Lp299v,” Goldner says.

According to Goldner, all GoodBelly products contain a dose of between 10 billion and 80 billion colony forming units (CFUs) at the time of manufacture.

Packed full of Lp299v, NextFoods’ GoodBelly Plus line of enhanced fruit drinks was one of the first probiotic-enhanced juice drink lines to hit the U.S. market, the company says. The 2.7-ounce shot was introduced in 2008, and contains 20 billion probiotic CFUs at the time of manufacture.

NextFoods followed this launch with the introduction of GoodBelly Quart probiotic juice drinks – a family-friendly, 32-ounce size that contains 20 billion CFUs in each serving. The line also includes GoodBelly Kids (10 billion CFUs in each 2.7-ounce serving) and GoodBelly Splash (20 billion CFUs in each serving) in 10-ounce grab-and-go bottles.

GoodBelly probiotic juices come in an assortment of flavors, such as Pomegranate Blackberry, Cranberry Watermelon, Mango, Blueberry Acai, Strawberry, Lemon Ginger and Vanilla Chamomile.

For those who are in need of a powerhouse dose of probiotics, NextFoods offers the GoodBelly BigShot, which contains 50 billion probiotic CFUs in each 2.7-ounce serving. This product is a lightly sweetened oat-based drink, which many find to be particularly soothing when they’re feeling off-kilter, the company says.

“GoodBelly products have a 65- to 75-day shelf life from manufacture, and are dairy-free and soy-free,” Goldner says. “This makes them a perfect source of probiotics for any of the 30 percent of the U.S. population who say they can’t stomach yogurt or dairy on a daily basis. What’s more, GoodBelly uses all-natural and organic ingredients. We’re also 100 percent vegan.”

What’s next?
NextFoods has garnered success from the GoodBelly line of products, and it shows no sign of slowing down. According to Goldner, a number of new GoodBelly juice varieties are in the pipeline.

“NextFoods continues to innovate new flavors and delivery vehicles for Lp299v,” she says. “The company will be launching several new products in 2011, including a new Super Green flavor for the GoodBelly Quart and GoodBelly Plus probiotic juice drink line.”

What’s more, NextFoods plans to make additions to its GoodBelly offerings by extending its product line in a number of directions. For example, GoodBelly Probiotic Coconut Water is being added to its 32-ounce quarts lineup. The product contains no added sugar and has 80 calories per serving. The company is adding a new value product called GoodBelly Straight Shot as well.

“The GoodBelly Straight Shot is an all-natural, lightly flavored 2.7-ounce shot,” Goldner says. “This entry-level product contains no fruit juice and 50 percent of the calories of our shot line, while still delivering 20 billion CFUs per serving.” BI