Consumer demand for probiotics, or healthy bacteria, is at an all time high in the US. With mounting research demonstrating that gut health goes way beyond digestion to include immunity, protein absorption and even mood, this demand isn’t showing signs of a slow down. In fact, a remarkable 91 percent of consumers know the term probiotic and associate it with a health benefit.
Natural products retailers have been ahead of the curve in offering their customers probiotic products. Items like yogurt, kefir and kombucha have been mainstays in the natural retail cold case for years. But the fragility of traditional probiotics — they can’t survive extreme heat and manufacturing processes — has greatly limited the food products that can contain this beneficial bacteria. But this is changing.
Innovation in probiotic technology is allowing manufacturers to offer a myriad of probiotic beverages beyond kefir that include hot beverages like coffee and tea, baked goods and frozen items. A strain of beneficial bacteria known as Bacillus coagulans, or spore-forming probiotics, is behind these innovative product offerings.
Spore-forming probiotics have a different structure than traditional probiotics. Just like plant seeds wait to grow until spring when the temperature and moisture levels are optimal, spore-forming probiotics wait to germinate and grow until they reach the intestines where the conditions are just right. This protective shell they have enables the bacteria to survive harsh manufacturing processes, product shelf life and finally, the journey through the digestive system — most other probiotics just can’t survive these stresses.
These spore-forming probiotics offer the same health benefits associated with traditional probiotics. One such strain, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, more widely known by it trademarked ingredient name, GanedenBC30, has 17 peer reviewed studies demonstrating its benefits including digestion, immunity and protein absorption. GanedenBC30 is also non-GMO and has FDA GRAS status, so you know it’s safe.
Spore-forming probiotics are changing the marketplace by offering probiotics in everyday foods already being consumed such as:
- Cold-pressed juices
- Popsicles and other frozen novelties
- Baked goods
- Meal-Replacement powders
The growing range of probiotic-boosted products give consumers many more options for getting their daily probiotics. For consumers who don’t want to take pills, or cannot, fortified foods and beverages such as tea and cereal offer an easy way to get their probiotics.
This new breed of functional foods is hitting the market at the right time. Demand and acceptance for traditional fermented foods is quickly growing but food safety issues with unpasteurized foods like sauerkraut and kimchi make it difficult for retailers to stock these. Spore-forming probiotic food products can fill this demand.
As we learn just how intricate and vital the human gut is, we are also learning that taking care of it is crucial for optimal health. We know that probiotics play a key role in maintain and promoting a healthy digestive and immune system. Innovations in probiotic technology, like spore-formers, allow retailers to offer their customers a new way to get their daily dose of health bacteria. WF
Erin Miller is the marketing manager at Ganeden Biotech, Inc.
Posted April 17, 2014