Kerry’s survey finds probiotics use, awareness on the rise

New survey from Kerry shows that probiotic awareness globally, is up.

Kerry’s (Beloit, WI) ProActive Health division, whose portfolio includes the probiotic BC30, carried out a survey in January 2021 of 13,000 consumers across 16 countries on probiotics and digestive health. Globally, 47% of respondents were aware of probiotics or cultures, which is up from its 2019 survey (45%). Awareness was highest in Latin America (63%) and North America (61%). Further, 25% of consumers surveyed had used a product containing probiotics over the past six months (up from 21% in 2019), with usage high in China (49%) and Mexico (42%) being the highest.  

“A range of factors have driven the continuing growth in demand for gut-health solutions generally, and for probiotics in particular,” said John Quilter, Kerry’s vice president of global portfolio, ProActive Health, in a press release. “Demographic changes such as population aging and lifestyle choices have increased the prevalence of digestive disorders, while the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards more proactive approaches to health. As a result, consumers want to see functional ingredients in their favorite food and beverage products, and they’re increasingly well educated about the role of probiotics and their ability to support both digestive health and overall wellness. Manufacturers who formulate functional foods and beverages using science-backed probiotic strains can therefore meet a range of market needs.”

Interestingly, consumers ranked digestive health third on their list of reasons to purchase healthy lifestyle products; in 2019 they ranked it fourth. And 38% of survey respondents globally said they had used some form of digestive-health product over the past six months, which, to put that into perspective, was almost as high as the number who said they had used an immune-health product (39%).

When are consumers eating digestive-friendly products? According to Kerry’s survey, breakfast time, as most of the gut-healthy foods and beverages consumers consume are morning-related foods. For example, four in 10 respondents globally said they would be interested in purchasing digestive-healthy yogurts. Many other categories were also strongly associated with digestive health, including fruit and vegetable juices (31%), dairy-based drinks (31%), and breakfast cereal / granola (28%).

BC30TM (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), Kerry’s patented spore-forming probiotic ingredient, was recognizable to consumers. Respondents were shown the BC30 logo and an image of products containing it. When asked which benefits they perceived BC30 offered, 45% globally chose digestive health and 45% chose immune support. After being given more information about BC30, 80% found its communicated benefits to be believable.