Probiotics appearing in unexpected places as consumer demand spikes
- Probiotics are finding their way to a variety of packaged foods including butter substitutes, granola, cold brew coffee, and pressed water. In a recent article, NPR asked what these foods actually offer, besides a "high price tag and fancy packaging."
- Consumers are cautioned not to be influenced by labels claiming billions or trillions of probiotics as there is no data to support those claims, according to a gastroenterologist.
- Researchers recommended consuming strains and simple foods that have the advantages of time and science behind them, such as yogurt, kefir, miso, and tempeh.
In 2015, 42% of Americans indicated they wanted more probiotics in their diets, up from just 12% in 2008, according to a poll by the National Marketing Institute. Food companies have responded by adding the ingredient in packaged foods. For example, sales of the popular drink, kombucha, increased to nearly $400 million in 2014, up from $100 million in 2009, according to Euromonitor International.
It is no wonder the food industry embraces the addition of probiotics as ingredients. This week, Naturally More launched the first nut butters that contain probiotics and flax seeds. The company wants to offer consumers "the opportunity for digestive health and on-the-go convenience," according to a statement. Six new SKUs of the nut butters will feature GanedenBC30, a probiotic strain from Ganeden, which is 10 times more effective than yogurt cultures.