Lots of Potential for Prebiotics, But Do Customers Know It?

May 14, 2010
Nutritional Outlook Staff

U.S. consumers may not be as well-versed in prebiotics as they are in probiotics, but that could all change with a little more effort to publicize prebiotics’ benefits, say industry members. Nutritional Outlook recently caught up with Pashen Black, Tate & Lyle’s (Decatur, IL) marketing communications manager, for a quick chat about the potential of prebiotics.

 

U.S. consumers may not be as well-versed in prebiotics as they are in probiotics, but that could all change with a little more effort to publicize prebiotics’ benefits, say industry members. Nutritional Outlook recently caught up with Pashen Black, Tate & Lyle’s (Decatur, IL) marketing communications manager, for a quick chat about the potential of prebiotics.

 

Nutritional Outlook: What opportunities for growth do you see in the fiber market?

Pashen Black: There’s definitely an opportunity to start selling consumers on some of the benefits of prebiotics and help them understand what those benefits are. Until now, there hasn’t really been as much marketing by companies of prebiotics as there has been of probiotics.

 

Research is showing that consumers want the types of benefits that prebiotics offer-such as weight management or immune health-but they just don’t know that they can get them from a prebiotic fiber. So companies have a real opportunity to increase their bottom line by including a prebiotic fiber in their product-and even more so if they educate consumers about it.

 

NO: What interest have you seen in prebiotics from food and beverage brands?

PB: I think as we get to know better what consumers are demanding from a health perspective, there’s going to be growing interest from manufacturers in prebiotics.

 

NO: What kind of demand is Tate & Lyle seeing for fiber overall?

PB: There are more products being launched with fiber, whether it’s soup or children’s cereal, so we definitely think there’s demand for it.

 

NO: Why do you think fiber demand is spiking now?

PB: It’s a combination of going back to the basics and really being more conscious of being healthy. I think that when you think back years ago, people always thought fiber was healthy, but they just didn’t like the taste of it. Now, they’re realizing that they can get products made with fiber that doesn’t affect the taste.

 

NO: As industry educates consumers about prebiotics, do you think consumers will adopt a more-sophisticated view of fiber?

PB: Absolutely, once they learn more about it. Consumers may not really know the difference between soluble and insoluble fibers, but I think they’ll get to know the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics for their health. Consumers have already become a lot more sophisticated and educated in terms of what they want in their foods.