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Digestive Health Ingredients Help Consumers Feel Better (Excerpts)

Beverage Industry Magazine:

For the fourth consecutive year, digestive health is the top trend in the health and nutrition segment, said Gregory Leyer, global business development director of consumer healthcare for Danisco, now a part of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont, during the Pre & Probiotics 2012 Virtual Conference on Feb. 1.

Leyer also noted that about half of U.S. households are currently managing some type of digestive health issue. Ten to 20 percent of adults worldwide suffer from intestinal functional disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and nearly 40 percent of older adults have one or more digestive disorders, he said.

Ganeden Labs, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, cites that 86 percent of U.S. consumers are interested in food and beverages that improve their digestive health, 37 percent of which are interested but not actively buying.

This leaves a gap for food and beverage brands to fill. As a result, many suppliers are seeing continued interest in digestive health products.

“More and more customers are asking for a lot of digestive health ingredients and I think that’s because more and more consumers are looking for these healthier options in the marketplace, and healthy digestion is just one of the areas that’s a top priority for consumers,” says Rachel Wicklund, food scientist for Tate & Lyle, Sycamore, Ill.

This month, OatWorks, a line of all-natural fruit smoothies containing oat fiber, made its debut. The drinks incorporate Biovelop AB’s PromOat betaglucan natural soluble fiber. PromOat is a prebiotic fiber that affects the viscosity and texture of a beverage without changing the flavor. It is heat-stable and well-suited for juices, smoothies, shakes and dairy drinks, says David Peters, director of sales and marketing for the Kimstad, Sweden-based company.

U.S. consumers understand that oats are good for them, but in the last couple of years they have learned that the soluble fiber in oats specifically is good for them, Peters explains. PromOat is FDA-approved for heart health and cholesterol reduction, and in Europe, it’s able to claim that it reduces the postprandial glycemic response, he adds.

“PromOat is allowing our customers, the manufacturers of these beverages, to really expand the digestive health category more away from dairy, but into more mainstream products as well,” Peters says. Part of that initiative will be educating the consumer about prebiotics, he adds.