In the PBS Kids TV show “The Cat in the Hat Know a Lot About That!” episode entitled “Rumbly Tumbly,” Nick, Sally and the Cat in the Hat take a trip into Thing One’s stomach to learn why stomachs make noises. Although we can’t miniaturize ourselves to see how the body works, consumers still are taking an increased interest in a certain health and wellness arena: digestive health.
BC30, a science-backed probiotic within Kerry’s ProActive Health portfolio, surveyed more than 13,000 consumers across 16 countries earlier this year. The results show that demand for probiotics is on the rise.
For instance, 25% of respondents noted using a probiotic-containing product in the past six months, which is up from 21% in 2019, it says. China and Mexico showed particularly high usage from respondents with numbers at 49% and 42%, respectively.
Beyond usage, the survey also found awareness of probiotics continues to increase. On a global scale, 47% of respondents were aware of probiotics and cultures, which is up from the 42% that were aware in 2019 as part of the “Kerry Global Consumer Survey – Digestive & Immune Health.” In the recent survey, Latin America and North America respondents exhibited high awareness of probiotics with 63% and 61%, respectively.
“A range of factors have driven the continuing growth in demand for gut health solutions generally, and for probiotics in particular,” said John Quilter, vice president of global portfolio of ProActive Health at Kerry, in a statement. “Demographic changes such as population aging and lifestyle choices have increased the prevalence of digestive disorders, while the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards more proactive approaches to health. As a result, consumers want to see functional ingredients in their favorite food and beverage products, and they’re increasingly well educated about the role of probiotics and their ability to support both digestive health and overall wellness. Manufacturers who formulate functional foods and beverages using science-backed probiotic strains can therefore meet a range of market needs.”
As an early adopter of probiotics, the beverage market continues to support this consumer need state with innovative new products. For example, Yoi, which means “good” in Japanese, launched its Probiotic Nut & Seedmilks line in Bay Area independent grocers. Yoi beverages are crafted in small batches from organic ingredients including almonds, coconut and pumpkin seeds. Co-founders Ellie Wells and Tosh Nakagawa were inspired by the ancient art of Japanese fermentation and the concept of ikigai. “Ikigai means ‘your reason for being,’ or what gets you out of bed in the morning,” Nakagawa stated. “We want to make products that help people feel good so that they can do good. That is our ikigai.”
NextFoods, which has been utilizing probiotics in its GoodBelly line for 15 years, has even found a way to make probiotic consumption more convenient with GoodBelly To Go Fast Melts, a line of quick-dissolving, fruity probiotic powders. Designed for on-the-go consumption, GoodBelly To Go Fast Melts can be consumed by pouring into a small amount of water or another beverage as well as by direct consumption. The new GoodBelly To Go Digestion Fast Melts are made with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v (LP299V).
As interest in probiotics looks to continue to grow, I anticipate beverage-makers will find more innovative ways to support functional products and digestive health trends.