Probiotics: Probing the Trend

While probiotics have long been coveted by fans of kombucha and yogurt, the digestive aid is now finding its way into a huge range of products. Increasingly, consumers are growing interested in wellness benefits beyond weight loss and heart health, and digestion has been getting a lot of attention recently. And although fiber might have been the go-to for consumers seeking this benefit in the past, shoppers are investing in probiotics as they become more educated on the helpful microorganisms.

In addition to aiding digestive health, studies are showing that probiotics can also have a positive impact on psychological wellbeing. An overgrowth of bad gut bacteria (the sort that probiotics help keep in check) has been tied to brain conditions ranging from dementia to depression, as this bad bacteria releases a protein that increases inflammation and is particularly difficult on one’s mental health. According to Hayley Pedrick of the Habitude Health Clinic, probiotics can have the opposite effect, potentially reducing symptoms of mental disorders.

Another major element behind the growth of the probiotic trend is the discovery of shelf-stable bacterial strains. Whereas probiotics were previously limited only to refrigerated goods, these new strains have enabled manufacturers to introduce products such as cereal, soups, granola, and even pet food.

These new strands include GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856. As brands began including these in shelf-stable products, Whole Foods named probiotics a top food trend of 2019. Probiotics have even found their way into alcohol, with KeVita founder Bill Moses launching a probiotic-rich hard kombucha line after selling off KeVita to PepsiCo for a whopping $250 million. Purported to be both healthier than light beer and considerably more environmentally-friendly, hard kombucha could very well be the next White Claw.

We have called out this trend on Instagram, where we are running a new series called #TrendTuesday. Follow Works Design Group’s account for weekly insights for a variety of categories from across the grocery store.

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