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Probiotics and prebiotics feed digestive health category

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From dietary supplements to functional foods and beverages, probiotics and prebiotics continue to be popular ingredients in gut health products.

Loved ones and mentors often advise “trust your gut” when it comes to decision-making in life, but listening to one’s gut is also important in figuring out what the body is trying to communicate about its health state.

Digestive or “gut” health is the balance of all the microorganisms living in the large intestine—more specifically called the gut microbiome—which plays a major role in providing nutrients to the body. While the idea of taking care of one’s digestive health is not new, post-pandemic growth in the category has resulted; this is being attributed partially to consumer interest in overall wellness, first piqued through a demand for improved immune health.

An additional factor contributing to the growth in digestive health products is a huge drive for this category—as well as across the board—from health-conscious Millennials. This generation is proactive with health and willing to spend time and money to support it, whether researching the latest remedies or buying cutting-edge, multifaceted wellness products. Much of the advancement and changes being made in digestive health come from the demands these shoppers are making and the expectations they have of health and wellness products.

New forms with old ingredients

According to SPINS data, the “digestive health focus” attribution has experienced 6.8% year-over-year (YoY) growth, per SPINS Natural Enhanced + MULO channels powered by IRI. This growth and increased interest in digestive health have contributed to innovations in product formulation and delivery formats.

Two ingredients frequently associated with digestive health are probiotics and prebiotics. Not only do they sound similar, but they can also work together to help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. At a basic level, probiotics are beneficial bacteria in foods and supplements, and prebiotics are fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut. According to sales data from SPINS ClearCut Analytics, products with prebiotics and probiotics saw 6% growth YOY on Amazon.

Commonly found in dairy products or as oral supplements, probiotics are an old standby for digestive health. Many brands are thinking outside the box on how to put a twist on the delivery of these classic bacteria. This year, probiotic products saw 5.3% growth.

Sparkling waters and seltzers are popping up in every flavor imaginable and packing more than just bubbles, with many products offering added probiotics. Even snack brands are jumping in on probiotics, with shelf-stable vegetable chips growing 12%, as shoppers opt for snacks that fulfill their cravings without sacrificing their digestive health.

While not as frequently talked about, prebiotics are equally important in maintaining proper digestive health and can sometimes be used as sugar replacements in protein-packed products. Prebiotics have grown 8.4%, with popular categories leading the charge.

The full version of this article can be accessed in the “Diverse microbiomes and digestive health” digital magazine. Click the link to read it.

Haleigh Resetar is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University with degrees in journalism and integrated marketing communications. Before joining SPINS as a corporate communications specialist, she worked on the communications teams in higher education and health care institutions. As a member of the SPINS marketing team, she manages the social media profiles for SPINS and ClearCut Analytics accounts, contributes content to the company blog, and acts as the primary contact for media data requests.

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