Fiber foods

Prebiotics aren’t just about fiber and go way beyond gut and digestive health

According to the source, those in the market expect explosive growth in the coming years (up to 10x in 5-7 years) as consumers continue to better understand the power of prebiotics to positively influence people’s health. several ways, even beyond the intestine. . Across the category, there are notable developments that are altering business priorities, consumer behavior and consumer demand.

Inulin continues to be the dominant prebiotic for many applications in human health. Unfortunately, demand has exceeded supply although new capacity has been invested. However, this capacity will not be commissioned until the end of 2022 at the earliest. This means that those looking to enter the market or formulate in the interim will be looking for alternative ingredients such as GOS, acacia, guar, resistant starches, and oligosaccharides with different sugars and linkages. It’s not just a single source – formulators are increasingly formulating with multiple sources of prebiotics, including those looking to improve their supply chain and footprint by using recycled materials. New sources of prebiotics fit this bill well and this will continue to drive the popularity of the category. On the flip side, we are seeing the early days of using data, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology to create precision prebiotics (also known as smart prebiotics) with demonstrable health benefits supported by the metabolite analysis.

The market has seen a proliferation of prebiotic products, formats and claims and 2022 is expected to offer more. Increasingly, and supported by increasing consumer awareness and association, we are seeing formulations containing both prebiotics and probiotics.

Courtesy of GPA

Along with developments in the prebiotic-only environment, these combinations are increasingly intelligently formulated rather than just throwing random combinations that have never proven to be truly symbiotic. However, the real science is often still weak on many combinations, so there is a lot of room for development, validation and differentiation at the brand level.

Many consumers turn to food and drink as sources of prebiotics first. One caveat here for the category is to make sure the dose is right – and effective. This is where emerging prebiotics will play a major role; they are effective at lower doses than traditional fiber-based prebiotics with doses for new generation precision prebiotics often between 0.6 and 3 grams. This fits well with existing knowledge that higher doses of certain prebiotics can also cause bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort. We expect to increasingly see multiple precision prebiotics in targeted products focused on health concerns in a way that deliver synergistic benefits that potentially exceed even mega-doses of more traditional prebiotics. This may make sense when you consider that different prebiotics and fibers are used and ferment at different rates and in different locations along the gastrointestinal tract. The upside potential of prebiotics in all categories and formats is brilliant and could make them the darlings of the microbiome in 2022 and beyond.

It’s not just about fiber. Polyphenols, selected plants, omega-3s and some vitamins have shown prebiotic activity. The Global Prebiotic Association now defines this as: “A health or performance benefit resulting from an alteration in the composition and / or activity of the microbiota, resulting directly or indirectly from the use of a specific product or ingredient and well defined by microorganisms ”.Have

Prebiotics go far beyond gut and digestive health. Fueled by current events, the research mechanically links a healthy microbiota to overall immune health, and goes beyond immunity, a further development of science connecting the gut environment through the gut-brain axis – with impact on stress and mood, and an important area for both health impact and product formulation. The next evolution takes us beyond this axis and into other axes such as the gut-skin axis, and the more recent identification of the gut-lung axis and the gut-heart axis – all with implications for prebiotics.

Exciting new platforms are emerging that make more convenient and affordable processes such as preclinical research, genetic and metabolomic testing as the cycle time between research and application collapses. This is leading to new relationships between academics, platform companies and technologies, ingredient companies and brands. The result is faster identification and validation of the very specific ingredients, stressors, and impacts that make this elusive prospect of personalization a more likely short-term reality. Prebiotics are at the epicenter of this dynamic with several companies using precision prebiotics combined with these platform tools.

Both as a stand-alone category and in multi-ingredient formulations in a wide variety of product types, we would expect the increase in the prebiotics category to dominate all types of ingredients impacting the body. microbiota.