Consumers understand digestive health benefits of probiotics

An international survey has revealed a high demand for probiotics-enhanced products and not just traditional yoghurt

High numbers of consumers across the world understand the benefits of probiotics for gut health, new proprietary research from Kerry has shown.

GanedenBC30, a probiotic ingredient powered by taste and nutrition company Kerry, surveyed more than 11,000 health-conscious consumers in 14 countries; they demonstrated particularly high levels of understanding of the importance of probiotics to gut wellness.

Around eight in ten (79%) of the Americans surveyed perceived probiotics to provide digestive health benefits. In the UK, 72% of consumers who were aware of cultures – a term sometimes used to describe probiotics – were able to identify their benefits for digestive health correctly.

The research also provided insight into the use of products containing probiotics.

Almost half (49%) of the Chinese respondents, and a third (33%) of the Americans had used products containing probiotics over the past six months.

This high level of awareness has been a key driver for the phenomenal growth of the digestive health category

John Quilter, VP & General Manager for GanedenBC30, said: “As our research shows, consumers across the world have not only heard of probiotics but also understand the benefits they provide. Along with the growing preference for functional foods and beverages, this high level of awareness has been a key driver for the phenomenal growth of the digestive health category.”

The survey also reveals high levels of demand for products with digestive health benefits, and not just in traditional categories such as yoghurt.

Four in ten (39%) of respondents globally said they would be interested in purchasing fruit and vegetable juices if they contained ingredients that promoted digestive health. More than a third (35%) would be interested in buying cereals containing ingredients with digestive health benefits.

Next-gen probiotics

The emergence of hardy, spore-forming probiotics such as market leader GanedenBC30 can help meet this demand. Because they can survive almost any manufacturing process, they can be incorporated into products in most food and beverage categories.

High numbers of the consumers surveyed said they would purchase products containing GanedenBC30, or switch brands to another product containing it.

Consumers now like to see probiotics in products beyond the refrigerator aisle

In China, for example, 95% of consumers would definitely or probably buy a product containing GanedenBC30 and 73% would switch to a different brand if their usual one was not available with GanedenBC30.

John Quilter explained: “Consumers now like to see probiotics in products beyond the refrigerator aisle. GanedenBC30 can survive most processing conditions, including extremes of pH, heat, cold and pressure. This makes it a perfect fit for addition to most everyday food and beverages.

“It’s also supported by more than 25 published papers demonstrating its benefits, which is a huge advantage in a market where consumers are often sceptical about the claims made for functional products,” he concluded.

Findings from this proprietary consumer survey are available in the new report, "Inside Story: Why Demand for Digestive Health keeps growing", which is available to download.