Special edition: Pre- and probiotics

Probiotics, fiber continue to steal market share from GI remedies

A fifth (20%) of Americans say they are incorporating probiotics regularly, while some 29% say they have changed their diet to add more yogurt and fiber-rich foods to manage their digestive health, Mintel found.

Digestive issues are all too familiar to Americans, as roughly nine out of 10 (86%) say they’ve dealt with some type of gastrointestinal or digestive trouble in the past year, according to a recent study from Mintel. But as many take a more proactive approach to their health (in addition to airing some concerns about the cost and side effects of GI remedies), the door is wide open for probiotic and fiber ingredients to continue stealing market share.

“In general, consumers are taking a more proactive approach to their health and wellness and looking to prevent issues rather than treat them,” Emily Krol, health and wellness analyst for Mintel, told NutraIngredients-USA, citing Mintel's 2014 "Trend Investing in Prevention" report. “(The report) describes how consumers are taking steps to improve their health. This can be seen with the increase of probiotics to prevent digestive issues. According to Mintel's 'Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements—US December 2013' report, sales of Bayer's TruBiotics increased from $2.6 million to $16.4 million in MULO [multi-outlet] channels for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 8, 2013, a 531% increase.”

Indeed, according to the Gastrointestinal Remedies report, 20% of Americans say they are incorporating probiotics regularly, while some 29% say they have changed their diet to add more yogurt and fiber-rich foods to manage their digestive health. More than 2/3 (65%) say they try to include plenty of fiber in their diets.

Mintel’s Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks—US, August 2013 also reports that 84% of yogurt consumers agree that yogurt/yogurt drinks are a good way to support digestive health. In addition to yogurt, consumers are making an effort to eat healthier overall, incorporating fruits, vegetables and even gluten-free foods into their diets to prevent GI issues. 

When asked about the potential for probiotic foods and to continue stealing market share from these symptom relieving remedies, Krol said, “I think we have already seen it, and we will continue to see it.”

Still, 38% of those who experienced GI issues also agree that they would prefer to eat whatever they want and then use a supplement or medication to alleviate whatever digestive problems they have—a figure that’s higher among male GI sufferers, meaning there will likely always be room for both. “Even though consumers say they trying to be more proactive about their health, there are still those who indulge on occasion,” Krol added.

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"Gut health remains our major field of application, but as we discover the variety of mechanisms of action of probiotics, their array of health benefits has also widened. First immunity, then the brain-gut axis, with great potential in stress and anxiety,” said Bérengère Feuz, marketing group manager for Lallemand Health Solutions.

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