Digestive health is no longer a trend, it is a mainstream public health concern worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in 3 of us are suffering from digestive disorder – ranging from bloating to a medical condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at any one time7. Market surveys also show that consumers believed gut health is strongly connected to immune function, mental health, and overall wellness. One indicator of consumer interest is online activity: the number of Google searches for ‘gut health’ has grown six-fold over the past 5 years10.
The gut health sector was the first in the international functional foods market to step to the fore, rising to prominence in the 1980s. There was a continuous growing interest as probiotics moved further into the mainstream. Better understanding of the role of fibres and prebiotics in gut health has also bolstered new product development, according with Innova Market Insights5.
Accumulating evidence suggests that gut bacteria play critical roles in maintaining human health in many aspects. Beneficial gut bacteria strengthen gut health and immune system by means of regulating gut development, prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria as well as maintain epithelial integrity12. Gut microbial composition and activity can be influenced by ingesting dietary fibres, also called prebiotics11.
Prebiotics and Gummies: Unlock Market Opportunity
As the complex link between gut health and overall wellbeing is gradually unravelled by scientific research, there’s significant prospect for brands to produce customized, on-trend products to meet consumer demand. Modification of diet may be a valuable approach, however, with increasingly busy schedules to contend with, convenient solutions that work is highly sought after. And that’s where prebiotic gummies come in8.
Inulin is a type of prebiotic which selectively promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut particularly Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, both of which are considered beneficial to the host13. It is a fermentable fibre in which gut bacteria metabolise it in the large intestine, serving as a nutrient source for the bacteria. The production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) obtained by fermentation of the intestinal microbiota, mainly acetate, propionate, and butyrate9 – has shown important effects on the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, and nervous system1.
The intake of inulin has been linked to the regulation of bowel peristalsis and transit, stool frequency and consistency improvements in healthy individuals and IBS-C (IBS and constipation) patients2,6. The European Food Safety Authority reported that around 12g of inulin per day is necessary in order to maintain a regular bowel transit, without any side effects4. Supplements in gummy format have been gaining the most attention and particularly popular among millennial and Gen Z consumers as they are seen as more of a “cool” or novel format, to which they can indulge in this daily ‘healthy sweet treat’3. It is also a delicious and convenient way to increase daily intake of dietary fibre, ensuring the good gut bacteria are well-fed so they can perform at their best to maintain the overall health of digestive system and support the immune system.
The Time to Innovate in the Gut Health Space is Now
With the power of prebiotic inulin, you can easily dive deep into this high potential niche industry to create on-trend, yummy and efficacious gut health solutions that consumers will enjoy adding to their busy schedules. At DPO International, we are honoured to be in partnership with Beneo to bring you a range of ingredient choices that will elevate the quality of your confectionery product.
1Arrais de Souza, M. P., Andrade Freitas, M., de Oliveira, C. B., Almeida Brito, L., Nunes Filho, J. C., Oliveira Nunes, M. P., Cunha Rego, J. M., & Machado, R. J. (2021). Short-chain fatty acids: Nutritional strategies to modulate intestinal microbiota. Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control, 11(5), 141–144. https://doi.org/10.15406/aowmc.2021.11.00348
2Bărboi, O.-B., Chirilă, I., Ciortescu, I., Anton, C., & Drug, V.-L. (2022). Inulin, choline and Silymarin in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation—randomized case-control study. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11(8), 2248. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11082248
3Burke, K. (2022). Behind the Concept: Good to Gut Prebiotic Gummies.
4EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. (2015). Scientific opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to “native chicory inulin” and maintenance of normal defecation by increasing stool frequency pursuant to Article 13.5 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal, 13(1), 3951. https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.3951
5Institute of Food Technologists. (2019). Digestive health gains ground in new product development.
6Isakov, V., Pilipenko, V., Shakhovskaya, A., & Tutelyan, V. (2013). Efficacy of inulin enriched yogurt on bowel habits in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation: A pilot study. The FASEB Journal, 27(S1). https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.27.1_supplement.lb426
7Mellentin, J. (2022). 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2023. New Nutrition Business.
8Nutra Ingredients Asia. (2022). Get in the gut game: how emerging scientific research is highlighting prebiotics as a game changer.
9Song, J., Li, Q., Everaert, N., Liu, R., Zheng, M., Zhao, G., & Wen, J. (2020). Dietary inulin supplementation modulates short-chain fatty acid levels and cecum microbiota composition and function in chickens infected with salmonella. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.584380
10Squartecchis, A. (2022). Understanding how fibre and other ingredients can affect gut health. IMCD Group.
11van der Beek, C. M., Canfora, E. E., Kip, A. M., Gorissen, S. H. M., Olde Damink, S. W. M., van Eijk, H. M., Holst, J. J., Blaak, E. E., Dejong, C. H. C., & Lenaerts, K. (2018). The prebiotic inulin improves substrate metabolism and promotes short-chain fatty acid production in overweight to obese men. Metabolism, 87, 25–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2018.06.009
12Wang, H., Wei, C.X., Min, L., & Zhu, L.Y. (2018). Good or bad: Gut bacteria in human health and diseases. Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment, 32(5), 1075–1080. https://doi.org/10.1080/13102818.2018.1481350
13Wu, X. Z., Wen, Z. G., & Hua, J. L. (2019). Effects of dietary inclusion of lactobacillus and inulin on growth performance, gut microbiota, nutrient utilization, and immune parameters in broilers. Poultry Science, 98(10), 4656–4663. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pez166