- Millennials are more interested in probiotic foods and beverages than Gen X and baby boomers consumers, according to The Shelby Report. A 2017 National Consumer Survey conducted by market research firm Packaged Facts found about 25% of U.S. adults seek out foods and beverages with high amounts of probiotics or prebiotics.
- Probiotic and prebiotic food and beverage trends are surging thanks to consumer interest in wellness. Packaged Facts forecasts continued momentum in the space thanks to millennial demand.
- The survey also found there’s even higher interest in probiotics among those who shop for food in the natural channel, which retains its role as the most significant retail sector for food and nutritional trends.
It doesn’t come as much of a shock that millennials are more interested in probiotics than older consumers. While their younger digestive systems are generally functioning well compared to more senior shoppers, this demographic has shown great interest in fresh and healthy foods. Consumers in their 50’s and 60’s may turn to probiotics out of necessity, but 18-35 year-olds want more of them in their diet to boost their overall health.
Manufacturers are capitalizing on this demand by adding probiotics to more traditional CPGs. At the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California this past March, almond butter, cheddar cheese and cold brew coffee were just some of the new products fortified with probiotics on display.
While there is still demand for traditional items infused with probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir and kombucha, there’s no slowdown in global demand for probiotic-fortified foods and beverages, according to Michael Bush, the executive board president for the International Probiotics Association. “The U.S. is the fastest growing probiotic market,” he told Food Business News.
Food Giants, like PepsiCo, also are diversifying to take advantage of the trend. The beverage company acquired probiotics beverage maker KeVita last year, and also recently launched its Tropicana Essentials Probiotics line.
And while millennial demand for probiotcis looks as if it will continue, food manufacturers looking to cash in on the trend should still be cautious. A recent study reported by the Chicago Tribune found probiotics don't affect all people or their digestive health equally. Some experts say probiotics disappear once they enter a person's digestive system. Before making any label claims that could be disputed either by the FTC or consumers, manufacturers would be prudent to make sure their science backs up their label claims.
Still, food manufacturers would be wise to include probiotics in more products, especially those geared toward millennials. They could even use social media platforms to tell their consumers that their foods and beverages contains more of these ingredients — even if their health impact is uncertain.