Thriving on Gut Feeling: Digestive Health NPD


01 Jun 2017 --- The wealth of nutritional information currently available through the Internet is allowing people to educate themselves on all things health and food related. Concerns around issues such as digestion drive consumers to increasingly self-diagnose, and experiment with personalized diets that they believe will improve their health. Pointing to the growing interest in microbiome, Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, notes that gut health is an important facet of this personalized nutrition trend, creating interesting opportunities for product development in a wide range of categories.


“Consumers have an idea that there are foods that are good or better for them, and this is really the start of a personalized nutrition phase for the food industry,” Williams says while hosting a webinar titled Thriving on Gut Feeling

Despite strict regulations on health claims on consumer products in regions such as the EU, Williams points out that “Globally, we have seen a +25 percent growth over 2012 to 2016 for Food and Beverage launches with a digestive health claim.”

Some of the key takeaways from the presentation included:

  • The use of probiotics, known to aid digestion, has mainly been seen in dairy, but non-traditional categories (e.g. confectionery) are also starting to innovate with probiotics. Some of the most interesting opportunities for probiotic application lie in mainstream sports nutrition products, following the success of probiotic use in sports powders. 
  • As consumers look for products that are natural and easy to understand, fermentation is a claim seen increasingly for probiotic products, because it relies on natural processing method. This has resulted in an increase in fermentation claims.
  • The growing interest in fermentation claims has resulted in an increase in NPD with foreign recipes like kefir, miso and kimchi. Beverages including dairy alternatives drinks, but also other types of drinks are fast growing.
  • Prebiotics and fiber are well-known ingredients to aid digestion and show high growth in NPD activity. The “hero ingredient” oats has shown good growth based on positive consumer image of fiber. Potential still lies in NPD with synbiotics.

“One of the beauties of digestive health is that it’s good for everybody. Just like the protein trend, it is for so many different consumer groups,” Williams notes. NutritionInsight currently features an overview of some key products with probiotics, highlighting that probiotics continue to be applied outside their more common domain of dairy. One notable development is that indulgent products, such as snacks and confectionery, are receiving a health boost via the incorporation of probiotics, resulting in better-for-you appeal. 

The webinar can be viewed on NutritionInsight’s sister website, FoodIngredientsFirst.

by Lucy Gunn


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