New study of consumer understanding of probiotics points to significant opportunities for the food industry

news-details

Chr. Hansen today released the results from a global survey deployed in 16 countries around the world to gauge consumer awareness of probiotics and their potential benefits. The data was collected in 2021 and results reflect a strong interest in learning more about probiotics among consumers worldwide, signaling a new chapter for market trends and a valuable opportunity for players in the global food industry.

Consumer interest in probiotics is driven by a growing motivation to cater to the health and well-being of their loved ones. Consumers are aware that robust gut health makes them feel better and supports immunity. This awareness drives decision-making and has sparked motivation to learn more about which probiotics may offer the best outcomes for their individual needs.

In an effort to better understand the consumer experience when it comes to awareness and use of probiotics in food, Chr. Hansen designed a study to poll a representative sample of the general population in each country. In total, 16,000 people participated in the survey. The key findings include:

  • 75% of the surveyed population reported being very or somewhat familiar with probiotics
    48% of respondents consume probiotics daily or almost daily, whether in supplements or in other foods. Survey results suggest that probiotic consumption is driven by an interest in their functional benefits, such as promoting gut and immune health and supporting the microbiome.
  • 50% are familiar or very familiar with the term ‘gut microbiome’
    The ‘gut microbiome’ is a highly relevant topic for consumers and is associated with health50% are familiar or very familiar with the term ‘gut microbiome’ and the majority associate it with gut health followed by immune health, well-being and general health.
  • More than half of consumers have received a recommendation to consume probiotics from someone they trust
    - while internet research is the most popular way to learn more about probiotics. The flavor of the product and trust are top drivers for choosing and staying with a particular brand of probiotic food.
  • Misconceptions about probiotics
    Despite reported awareness, there is a range of misconceptions about probiotics. For example, 47% of consumers agree or somewhat agree to the incorrect statement that all dairy yogurts contain probiotics (when in fact most contain live cultures but not all contain probiotic cultures).
  • 71% of consumers would like to learn more about probiotics 
    - and prefer packaging and online resources as avenues for deepening their understanding. Consumers are most interested in information regarding health benefits and information that helps them identify which probiotic strains to select.

Full results are published on Chr. Hansen’s website.

“The results of our survey highlight the importance of consumer education and encourage continuing efforts to work with the industry to provide this education,” says Lars Bredmose, Chr. Hansen’s senior director of Commercial Development in Food Cultures & Enzymes. “At Chr. Hansen, we have worked to develop probiotic strain logos and trademarks that our customers may use to strengthen the credibility of their food with the world’s most-documented probiotics.”

“In addition, our launch of The Probiotics Institute in May 2021 offers a global, science-based platform that provides inspirational and educational content regarding probiotics and their relationship to the human microbiome. Food producers and health practitioners can use the platform as a credible source of information about probiotics.”

“We are proud of our work to bring the world’s most-documented probiotics to market and believe the opportunities to make them mainstream will only expand in the future,” continues Bredmose. “There are many more insights from the survey and we encourage our customers across the food industry to reach out to us for country-specific findings and a discussion of implications for their specific markets. We believe our survey findings point to a significant opportunity for producers in the industry who are willing to offer food products made with credible probiotic strains. We look forward to partnering with them to shape the future of the industry and help optimize the health of consumers around the world.”