Digestive health has been a research, business and personal interest of mine for years. You know I’m an advocate of a happy gut = a happy you.  My business and research interests regarding probiotics goes back to 2004, when I was part of a Scientific Advisory Board for Danone Canada. During that time, Health Canada was regulating how probiotics could be added to food products. Now in 2020, let’s explore more about digestive wellness on trend. 

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The Importance of Digestive Wellness

The top three digestive health complaints consumers identity are gas/bloating, constipation and diarrhea. We know digestive health can be linked to our immune system, skin health, heart health as well as our mental health.

When I attended Nutrition 2019 in Baltimore (June 2019) there were many sessions dedicated to the microbiome. One theme was you are your microbes, and this personalizes your health and nutrition. For example, microbiota enterotypes were discussed. When it comes to being overweight and obese, results showed people with a high Prevotella to Bacteroides ratio lost more weight on the New Nordic Diet than the western-style average Danish diet.

What does this mean?  Well when exposed to different kinds of foods with fiber your individual microbiota reacts differently depending on your ratio of the three enterotypes: Prevotella, Bacteroides and Runinococus. We have known for a while external factors including stress, ultra-processed foods and overuse of antibiotics can affect our microbiota, however, this important information of identifying the different ratio of enterotypes in individuals will provide advancement in future microbiome studies.

Digestive wellness is top of mind across all markets and all age groups, but especially Generation Xs and Baby Boomers. Food and beverage products that offer hydration with both prebiotics and probiotics along with premium and quality ingredients appeal to these cohorts. As the Health Expert at SIAL Canada 2020, this is one of the trending topics I will speak about in SIAL Hub in Montreal in April 15 to 17 2020. 

The Marketplace

Since my time on the Scientific Advisory Board and the launch of Activia yogurt in the Canadian and US markets, shelf-stable probiotics have become popular ingredients. This allows for the addition of probiotics to variety of products without the need of refrigeration (like the typical dairy and beverage products). The article Editors’ top picks: Our 2020 trend predictions published in NutraIngredients.com reports:

  • The microbiome trend shows no sign of stopping in 2020.
  • Probiotics have become synonymous with gut health in the consumers mind, and while there is certainly still plenty growth left in the probiotic marketplace, the greatest growth and innovation potential in the microbiome space may come from prebiotics in the coming years.
  • Brands will continue to look at prebiotics and the potential for symbiotic combinations to innovate and stand out.
  • As consumers become more aware of the term prebiotics, we could significant growth in both understanding and demand for ingredients that ‘feed our good bacterial’.

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What’s Next – Digestive Health Apps

Lately, the option to get your microbiome sequenced and the results used for making better lifestyle choices became available as a service at an increasing number of companies. Last year, Atlas Biomed launched an app that works in tandem with a microbiome test to inform users how they can improve their gut health by choosing a wider variety of fibre-rich foods. Have you tried any of these recent technologies? If yes, did they help and are you a fan?

Listen to your Gut!

Current findings suggest our gut microbiota can explain critical features of our human biology. It plays a larger role in human health more than previously thought. More research and clinical trials will provide advanced details of how each individual gut communicates with both prebiotics and probiotics to support and regulate major functions important for body and mental health.

Jane and her team would love to assist your company to strategize about food trends or speak at your upcoming event!
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