The Big Appetite for Improved Digestive Health

Good health starts in the gut

The story is a familiar one. People live fast-paced lifestyles that can lead to poor dietary choices. They may also take medicines that affect their digestive health. And all of this leads to bloating, discomfort, and gut disorders.

Yet, people aren’t just waiting for discomfort before trying to improve their digestive health any longer. More and more are learning about it and trying to make better choices to improve their diets.

A growing field of scientific research has established potential links between the gut microbiota and other aspects of health - beyond digestion. And it‘s showing consumers that good digestive health can potentially improve their immune system, aid mental wellbeing and help tackle obesity.

Today, consumers are ready to move beyond food supplements, the traditional playing ground of digestive health. They want to see the digestive benefits of many more of the foods and beverages they choose, and research shows that consumers even find that they don’t get enough probiotics in the food they consume:

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In short, a new wave of digestive health solutions is arriving — and it’s a huge opportunity for the food and beverage industry.

Technical Challenges when Innovating with Probiotics

Probiotics have been a constant part of the consumer landscape for many years, especially in dairy products and dietary supplements, and now there is a huge scope and opportunity to add probiotics into further categories, like beverages, bars and cereals.

But innovating in this way is tricky. Applying probiotics into these products is highly technical and tightly regulated. And to get the right health benefits, food scientists need to select the right strains and ensure a high cell count in the final product.

Education around Probiotics and Proof are Key

Consumers have access to more information than ever before. So, it is up to food and beverage brands to make sure people are educated on the facts. It’s our chance as an industry to address consumer confusion around probiotic strains and their benefits.

Brands first need to demonstrate the health benefits of the probiotics in their food and beverage products, and do so within a strict regulatory environment. And they need to use probiotics that have sufficient scientific studies to support their health claims. Earning trust now will pay dividends for many years to come.

What’s Next for Digestive Health?

More Food with Probiotics and Prebiotic Fibers

Give consumers easy access to probiotics via fermented and non-fermented dairy products, plant-based dairy alternatives, beverages and snacks. With benefits for digestive and immune health as well as weight management, you can meet the rise in demand for healthy eating.

Similarly, prebiotic fibers are gaining traction. Consumers increasingly understand that prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines, helping them maintain a healthy gut.

Plant-Based Beverages and Dairy Alternatives, A Route to Digestive Health

There is an explosive growth in this area, driven by the consumer quest for healthier diets. Replacing animal-derived products with plant-based ones is—for many consumers—linked with improved digestive health.

Gluten and Lactose Avoidance continue to Gain Traction

Gluten-free baked goods are not new to the market—but they are attracting a wider audience. A growing number of consumers do not necessarily suffer from gluten intolerance but do want to avoid gluten for their gut health.

Lactose-free dairy products have already seen a similar adoption pattern. Beyond those with lactose intolerance, consumers who want improved digestive health are choosing these products. And today, lactose-free variations of dairy products are a must.

The Microbiome and Personalized Nutrition

The human microbiome comprises all the microbes that live in and on the body. These microbes produce thousands of different metabolites. Academic research over the past 10 years or so has demonstrated the significant role the microbiome plays in human health and disease.

To spearhead the development of new microbiome science-based solutions, Nutrition & Biosciences has established the Human Microbiome Venture (HMV).

One area of increased microbiome research is personalized nutrition. By identifying the unique microbiome profile of an individual, links are explored to identify dietary needs and remedies to keep the gut healthy and alleviate discomfort. The HMV is focusing on four specific therapeutic areas in relation to the gut microbiome: early life, gastro-intestinal diseases, metabolic health and brain-related disease.

Good health starts in the gut.indd
How can Nutrition & Biosciences help you win in this space?

To help you make the most of the opportunities in the digestive health space for food and beverages, Nutrition & Biosciences offers a full portfolio of solutions from our HOWARU® Premium probiotics and spores to our fibers and prebiotic ingredients, cultures and enabling ingredients for gluten- and lactose-free products.

With our scientific, technical and regulatory expertise, coupled with deep consumer insight, we can help you navigate—and succeed in—the digestive health space for food and beverages.

To find out more on our full offer for digestive health, contact us here.


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