When people have an instinctive or intuitive belief or opinion about something, we talk about a “gut feeling.” The ‘fight or flight’ reaction is an example of gut instinct. These aren’t throwaway phrases. Whether we’re aware of it or not, for centuries the gut has been far more than a functional part of the anatomy. It has been a cornerstone of a safe and healthy life.
Expanding science, growing need
Now, of course, gut health has risen to the top of the agenda. Scientists regularly reveal more evidence of its role not only in optimising the digestion and absorption of nutrients, but more widely, in overall health and wellbeing.
At the same time, consumer awareness of gut health – and the implications of neglecting it – has spiralled. 82% of people surveyed worldwide are concerned about or interested in digestive health[i] and one in three say they suffer problems like IBS, bloating, constipation and stomach pain. And while medication was traditionally seen as the solution, today the focus is switching to prevention and / or more natural, dietary remedies.
Our recent social listening project highlighted that, when it comes to this subject, consumers talk most often about avoiding foods, depression and the side-effects of medication. These are weighty issues. Even those not currently suffering symptoms have an interest in improving their digestive health. Our research reveals the detailed drivers behind the expanding variety of foods, drinks and supplements with digestive health benefits. In fact, active consumers even go so far as to define a “healthy snack” as one that contains gut-healthy ingredients like probiotics, prebiotics and fibre.
Gut health gold
So, how can food, beverage and supplement brands best tap into this large and evolving market? At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we’re opening up new prebiotic opportunities for customers by leveraging our many years’ experience of digestive health in infant nutrition – the application where it is most important and most complex.
The early years are when the gut is most formative and the most sensitive: getting the microbiome right at this stage lays the way for good gut health throughout life. For over 75 years, we have honed our understanding of digestive wellbeing and developed premium, natural and safe ingredients that optimally support it.
After those first vital 1,000 days of life, the human microbiome changes and adapts. Bacterial composition evolves, creating an ecosystem that supports shifting health needs as people age. Similarly, FrieslandCampina Ingredients is now translating its long-term experience and knowledge beyond early life nutrition to help customers formulate more products with valuable prebiotics for adults. They hold great promise here.
More details about this exciting launch will be revealed over the coming weeks. To stay up to date, make sure you’re following our Linkedin page, or get in touch with your usual FrieslandCampina Ingredients contact any time.
[i] FMCG Gurus: “Digestive health insights and opportunities,” 2019