With the increased focus on their potential, probiotics have become one of the biggest trends today in the food and beverage industry. Nonetheless, the food industry itself hasn’t figured out how best to market probiotic food and beverages, beyond yogurt and similar traditional sources. Should the marketing get technical, introducing consumers to specific bacteria strains and their functional benefits? Or remain more general, playing up just the health benefits instead?
Probiotics Trending as Functional Ingredients
But the biggest question hanging over the food industry is that, despite all the attention, few of the health benefits of probiotics have been clinically proven. In fact, aside from alleviating symptoms of some gastrointestinal ailments, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, much of the potential remains only hinted at by research.
Even so, probiotics' potential as functional food ingredients has motivated the food and beverage industry to introduce new items formulated with probiotics and now also prebiotics, which currently account for 3% of new product introductions in the U.S. food and beverage industry.
Probiotic & Prebiotic Product Segmentation
Looking beyond yogurt and infant nutrition, Probiotics and Prebiotics: Food and Beverage New Product Trends covers the current and future potential for probiotics in the packaged food and beverage industry, analyzing market activity and potential by functionality and product type. Product activity is classified into three stages of innovation:
- Stage 1 – Cutting Edge
- Stage 2 – Taking Root
- Stage 3 – Going Mainstream
Most of the product types discussed in Probiotics and Prebiotics: Food and Beverage New Product Trends are labeled as cutting edge, and many of these lack the sales track record to designate as trends. Nonetheless, fortification with probiotics has emerged as a hotbed of innovation, often combined with other nutritional trends and superfood ingredients.
Probiotics' Growth in the Food and Beverage Industry
As the number of new food and beverage products fortified with probiotics multiplies in the marketplace, this trend raises questions and creates potential obstacles to its growth. Nonetheless, it's hard to imagine probiotics being a temporary fad. There are traditional foodway histories with probiotics, modern research-supported benefits, and open-ended possibilities for advanced research on specific benefits of probiotic strains.