New Research Shows Digestive Health is Key to Wellbeing for European Consumers

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28 Apr 2016 --- New quantitative consumer research, commissioned by functional ingredients manufacturer BENEO, shows that consumers see digestive health as key to their health and wellbeing. The results also underline that breakfast is the prime time of day to provide digestive wellness solutions that meet the growing needs of today’s consumers. 

More than 1,000 consumers in both the UK and Spain participated in an online survey, allowing BENEO to gain insights into the understanding, importance and relevance of digestive health to them. BENEO conducted online quantitative consumer research in the UK and Spain. The survey was carried out in 2015 by Insites, a consumer research agency with results weighted average among the two countries, unless otherwise specified.

The survey results show that consumers rate digestive health as extremely valuable, with the majority of respondents (UK 59%, Spain 81%) saying it is an important topic to them. Digestive health is particularly seen as a wellness issue amongst consumers. ‘Feeling good and contributing to overall health’ is ranked among the main reasons for why more than two thirds of consumers choose foods that support digestive health.

The results clearly show that digestive health appears to be intrinsically linked to today’s industry key trends of weight management and free from, with half of consumers (UK 45%, Spain 59%) choosing digestive health products to help them lose weight. Also more than two thirds (UK 73%, Spain 89%) of respondents with gluten/lactose limitations see digestive health as very important to them; this is significantly higher than the overall population.

Often termed ‘the most important meal of the day’, more than half of consumers (UK 58%, Spain 65%) say that breakfast is the key occasion to choose food and beverages that support digestive health. Applications such as breakfast cereals, yoghurt, fruit juices, cereal bars, bread and breakfast cookies are all regarded as appealing in this respect by consumers in both countries highlighting that there is an opportunity for digestive health-focused breakfast products moving forwards.

With ‘naturally functional’ cited as one of this year’s top 10 trends, it is no surprise that chicory root fiber is considered by many as the most natural sounding name for a soluble fiber. Almost half of all respondents (46%) agreed it sounds natural, with only 16% thinking that maltodextrin, dextrin and polydextrose sound natural. This rating reflects the production method used; inulin and oligofructose are obtained from chicory root via a gentle hot water extraction method, whilst some other fibers require a chemical process to synthesise the ingredient from glucose syrup.

Choosing ingredients such as BENEO’s chicory root fibers Orafti Inulin and Oligofructose, can help manufacturers to meet consumer demand for products that support digestive health. In addition they can be easily incorporated into a wide variety of applications, whilst maintaining the product’s superior taste and texture. A comprehensive body of high quality scientific studies (in excess of 150) also confirms the health benefits of the company’s chicory root fibers.

In fact, inulin and oligofructose from chicory root belong to the very few proven prebiotics. Additionally, BENEO has an exclusive health claim for its inulin in promoting digestive health. The authorised 13.5 EU health claim is: "chicory inulin contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency", which can be combined with general health-related, wellbeing claims under article 10.3, that include: "chicory inulin promotes digestive health" and "chicory root fiber supports a healthy and balanced digestive system".

Myriam Snaet, Manager Market Intelligence and Consumer Insights at BENEO comments: "Digestive health is of great interest to consumers. Our research results show that it is a wellness topic for consumers and they feel that it has direct impact on their overall health and wellbeing. With the exclusive health claim for BENEO’s chicory root fiber inulin, manufacturers can be ‘on trend’ by providing digestive health, naturally through new products".

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