Demand increases for probiotic drinks

 In Beverage Industry, Press

There’s an idiom that talks about listening to one’s gut as a way to ward off something that doesn’t feel right. After the brain, the gastrointestinal tract, or gut, is the nervous system’s second-biggest network of closely interconnected neurons that greatly impacts overall health and well-being, experts say. This has resulted in an increase of new and more natural approaches to digestive health with beverage-makers adding fiber, probiotics and “good bacteria” to their new products.

Consumers have become increasingly interested in consuming probiotics as a way to boost their gut health, driving interest in probiotic-containing functional beverages. Sales of refrigerated probiotic functional drinks and juices have increased 31.2 percent since 2016, with probiotic plant-based creamers and milks up 269.7 percent during that same period, according to data from Chicago-based SPINS.

Seventy percent of consumers associate probiotics with healthfulness, leading to widespread acceptance of this good bacteria, says Ilana Orlofsky, marketing manager at Niles, Ill.-based Imbibe.

“In terms of trends related to digestive health beverages, we’ve seen a lot of botanical flavors hit the marketplace, such as elderberry, lavender, lemongrass and turmeric. In terms of innovation, I know of one brand — Aspen Pure Probiotic (from New Age Beverages Corp.) that has developed a proprietary production process that allows for a nine-month shelf life without deterioration to more than 2 billion [colony forming units] (CFUs) of live probiotics,” Orlofsky says. “Shelf-stable probiotics or processing that yields shelf-stable probiotic [ready-to-drinks] (RTDs) will be a game changer, since beverages will not have to compete for the refrigerated aisle (or manage a refrigerated supply chain) like they currently do.”

Although probiotics have benefited from digestive health trends, fiber has been more challenged in the branding of its digestive benefits.

Read the full story on Beverage Industry.

Leave a Comment