Go with your gut to follow latest health trends

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22 Aug 2017 --- Gut health is a hot topic in the world of nutrition. In a week when a successful trial of probiotics in treating sepsis in India has once again underlined the exciting potential for the future of gut health products, consumers and manufacturers are showing an interest in the fast-evolving understanding of their healing powers.

The growth of this platform was a key lesson from Innova Market Insights’ On-Trend presentation at the 2017 IFT Food Expo in Las Vegas. Key insights in Innova’s presentation included:

• +25 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for global food and beverage launches with digestive health-related claims (2012-2016).
• +35 percent rise in US food and beverages that claim to use a fermentation process (2016 vs. 2015).
• +62 percent growth for US kefir product launches (2016 vs. 2015).
• +34 percent CAGR in US launches featuring a “prebiotics” claim (2012-2016).

There was also a 30 percent increase in CAGR in new products featuring the word “probiotic” during this period, despite the term currently not being allowed in EU markets.

Today, we begin to look in more detail at the latest developments in the field of gut health products, which self-diagnosing, curious consumers are currently realizing could improve their health in ways that were never considered before.

Consumers taking gut matters into their own hands
Gut issues like gastrointestinal discomfort or irregular stools often lead customers to look to probiotics, prebiotics and other gut health products for solutions. “Everyday gastrointestinal balance is still the dominant reason for use,” Charlotte Beyerholm, Senior Marketing Manager at probiotic manufacturer Chr. Hansen, tells NutritionInsight. However, there are also other reasons why consumers are turning to gut health products.

Consumers are increasingly interested in products that will deal with potential health issues before they arise, and this is being reflected in the market. 

“Preventive healthcare with a focus on digestive health continues to drive the probiotic market, and we continue to see huge interest,” says Beyerholm.

The delivery of the products is also changing. “We [are] also [experiencing] increased focus on consumer convenience [with] regards to the dosage form,” adds Beyerholm.

“Most of the gastrointestinal conditions are promoted by psychological (anxiety), lifestyle-related (diet), physiological (slow gastric emptying and/or inflammation) or biological (genetic predisposition) causes,” Daniele Giavini, Managing Director at Indena, tells NutritionInsight. “Consumers want to get rid of the typical gastrointestinal symptoms that can affect their quality of life. Indena has been working on the clinical substantiation of two new branded ingredients that are now available for which pre-marketing test have really positive.”

Indena’s newest branded ingredients are Prodigest – “the latest innovation for natural digestive relief [which] capitalizes on the synergy between artichoke and ginger extracts” – and Casperome – “the Indena Phytosome formulation of Boswellia serrata delivering the full natural bouquet of triterpenoids.” It is noted that research into Prodigest’s efficacy has suggested that it increases gastric emptying one hour after a meal by 24 percent, while it also produced a 34 percent increase in symptom relief of functional dyspepsia over the placebo group. Meanwhile, Casperome “rapidly alleviates the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),” Giavini notes.

“The science on the above two branded ingredients will continue to grow and we are exploring the potential beneficial effects of other botanicals,” adds Giavani.

Meanwhile, the needs of the young are creating another gut health market to consider. “At Chr. Hansen we [are experiencing] an increased interest in products for infants and young children” Beyerholm asserts. “For instance, probiotic drops – which support the microbiota – and probiotic drops combined with vitamin D, which is a recommended supplement for infants in many countries. The infant space is a relevant business opportunity.”

The second part of our report (to be published on Thursday) will look at potential new applications for gut health products as the variety of reasons for their use continues to expand.

By Paul Creasy

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