• Why Mainstream Consumers Want Probiotics

    By Terri Rexroat December 28, 2016

    Greek Yogurt.jpgDigestive health and its relation to the immune system is a growing area of focus for consumers, leading into the new year. We’ve already seen a rise in everyday foods and beverages that contain added probiotics, but why? These products tout improved digestive health and a stronger immune system, and we expect the appetite for these benefits to rise in 2017. Fortunately, consumers’ favorite dairy offerings help incorporate probiotics into more products.

    Mostly known for gut health, probiotics are gaining attention for additional benefits, such as their potential impact on the immune system. Probiotic research is ever-evolving with the full range of health benefits still being explored, but these beneficial living microorganisms are popularly believed to physically displace harmful, disease-causing microbes, therefore strengthening the immune system.

    How does this relate to digestive health? The normal microbiological flora of the human gut is compromised by many factors of daily life such as stress, medications, and inadequate diet and/or sleep, thus hindering the immune system. Daily consumption of probiotics can help limit the effects of these circumstances by decreasing gut discomfort and increasing the strength of the immune system.

    For years, probiotics have appeared in dairy applications like yogurt, kefir, fluid milk, ice cream and smoothies.  Advances in probiotic technology also are allowing their incorporation into shelf-stable foods including chocolate, granola bars, juices, nut butters and cookies. And now, consumers want more of the foods and beverages they consume throughout the day to have the benefits of probiotics.

    However, probiotics require expert handling to maintain their viability in the finished product. Since some foods are better probiotic vehicles than others, background information is required. Dairy foods, especially fermented dairy foods, are the ideal probiotic vehicles for several reasons, including:

    • Probiotics are compatible with the bacteria that drive fermentation, so they’re easily incorporated into starter cultures.
    • Ease of probiotic incorporation into aqueous, water-based dairy systems promotes maximum probiotic survival.
    • Refrigerated storage of fermented dairy products helps prolong probiotic viability over shelf life, thereby insuring ingestion of sufficient numbers to help support digestive health.
    • Because dairy products are typically consumed on a daily basis, this complements the “daily dose” aspect required to maximize probiotic efficacy.

    Consuming live probiotics as integral components of clean label whole foods brings added nutrition and enjoyment that can’t be achieved by taking probiotic-containing dietary supplements. Meaning, dairy foods are a good fit for manufacturers interested in introducing more probiotic-containing products to market. 

    Help consumers feel better in 2017 by exploring ways probiotics can be added to your array of product lines. Visit ThinkUSAdairy.org for more information.

    Consumer Insights Global Gut Health Digestive Health Probiotics
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