Biotic Boom: the gut instincts behind whole-body health

For many years, consumer awareness of the link between a healthy gut and overall physical and mental health has grown. In post-pandemic Europe, the benefits of boosting immunity via food and beverages is also at the forefront of people’s minds, all of which provides fertile ground for products that clearly demonstrate and promote the benefits of biotics.

People instinctively know what is good for their body and mind, and understand that being healthy in one area often leads to more holistic benefits. Their belief in a direct link between healthy gut bacteria and improvements in wellbeing has been reinforced by scientific studies, news stories and advertising over a long period of time.

This ever-increasing awareness is highlighted in Innova Market Insights’ wide-ranging consumer studies. Large numbers of people in Europe associate a healthy microbiome with better sleep, increased immunity, reduced stress and numerous other feelgood factors. Half of Innova’s Top Ten Trends for 2021 pertain to digestive health and that level of public understanding, interest and concern has only been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Innova Nutrition & Health Survey 2020, about a quarter of European consumers say that improving gut health is one of the most desirable health and wellness functions that a food or beverage product might offer. By combining this with the links consumers already make between digestive health and other forms of wellbeing, many new products are focusing on holistic benefits.

This mixing of various health claims in a single offering is highlighted by Innova’s new product database. Last year in Europe a quarter of food and beverage launches, outside the baby and toddler market, that promoted a gut health claim also featured an immune health benefit. Similarly, a significant number of products combined a “good gut” boast with positive effects on alertness and brain health. These multi-benefit properties attract consumers looking for clarity and simplicity.

Lu Ann Williams, Global Insight Director for Innova, says: “If products are easy to integrate into daily lives, and have established benefits such as probiotics in yogurt, they are likely to continue to be sought after as part of the ongoing move to healthier lifestyles and the more proactive and holistic approach to health.”

Meanwhile, the science around biotics continues to advance, not least in the area of ingredient combinations. This allows for a targeting of specific health concerns and benefits, while a growth in the study of fermentation and postbiotics is increasing the range of stable products that can be formulated to support gut health. As scientific understanding develops, regulations and restrictions on the benefits products can claim will become more informed, leading to even greater consumer awareness. This is a positive for clean-label developments which fit in with consumer demands for simple, quick and accurate information on which to make their choices.

Click here for more information on Innova Market Insights’ extensive research and data on gut health, as well as the entire food and
beverage industry. You can also visit the Innova Market Insights stand at Fi Europe in Frankfurt.