Gut Health in the Food Industry

 
 
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Our guts affect us more than we’d like to think; after all, the food we eat is where we get all nutrients our bodies use for energy, growth, and building cells. But poor digestion doesn’t just lead to physical discomfort; it’s also linked to mental health via the “gut-brain axis,” which connects the digestive system to the central nervous system. Recent studies even suggest that probiotics – live microorganisms like the thousands of bacteria that already reside in most intestinal tracts – might someday have a potential role in treating anxiety and depression.

Regardless of whether or not this reality will come to pass, consumer interest in digestive wellness has risen steadily over the past few years, alongside a greater demand for nutrient-rich probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, and miso.

To determine how this trend has taken shape,
Suzy asked:

500 people

from our panel of over one million users
to tell us about their own relationship to gut health.

What We Found

Most consumers are pretty clear on the importance of digestive health in their everyday lives – a whopping 82% of the people we polled, to be more precise. Where they started to deviate is on the proper methods; only 36% of respondents believed that a change in diet was best when compared to other health-improving factors like keeping hydrated, taking supplements, or exercising more.


What do you think is the best way to support gut health?

 
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Suzy then retargeted those who correlated digestive wellness with food choice, and asked them to select the top three types of products they’d be most interested in incorporating into their diet. The winners? Probiotics, fiber, and whole grains.

What kinds of food and beverage products would you be most interested in adding to your diet to promote gut health?

 
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Interestingly, despite being hailed as the next big food trend, fermented products ended up fairly low in the results. However, when we asked respondents to list individual foods and beverages they associate with gut health, more than a few specifically named kombucha, yogurt, and kefir – all of which are produced via fermentation.

Suzy says...

Consumers are extremely interested in probiotic foods for digestive health, and although many aren’t quite aware of the biological connection between fermentation and probiotic development, they do understand that on a case-by-case basis that many fermented foods happen to be rich in probiotics. Food and beverage manufacturers should continue to encourage this association in their marketing, focusing primarily on probiotics to get their messaging across.


 

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TIm Ferguson