Prebiotics need to be science-backed, survey finds

When buying functional foods with prebiotics, product efficacy and proven claims rank among the most important consumer purchase motivators, according to a new global survey commissioned by market research company FMCG Gurus, which surveyed 10,000 consumers in 10 countries.

Looking at the expectations of respondents who already buy prebiotics, the research shows they want products that deliver what they promise and are backed up by science. For three out of four of these consumers, the most important factors when choosing a food or drink containing prebiotics are product efficacy, health claims and science-based claims.

In spite of the cost-of-living crisis, the price aspect lags behind as 55% stated price was an important purchase factor. Looking at what specific health claims are in demand, ‘digestive health’ and ‘improved general wellbeing’ are among the most relevant for those buying food and drinks containing prebiotics.

The survey also demonstrates that consumers are shifting towards a ‘disease prevention’ rather than a ‘disease cure’ mindset. Almost half (48%) of those buying food and drinks containing prebiotics were not suffering from any symptoms when they first started using them.

Two thirds of overall respondents now see immune health as a key area to address in the coming year and when it comes to promoting it, three out of four (74%) understand the importance that digestive health has.

Inulin and oligofructose are the only plant-based prebiotics available, according to BENEO, and belong to the few proven prebiotics according to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). More than 150 human intervention studies have been published on chicory root fibre in particular.

“The fact that reliable claims, backed by science, are top of consumers’ wish list, reinforces the approach we have taken over the past 20 years in supporting scientific prebiotic research for our ingredients,” exlained Myriam Snaet, Head of Market Intelligence and Consumer Insights at BENEO. “As a result, we are well placed to meet growing consumer demand for provable prebiotics. Also, thanks to our multi-million euro investment programme over recent years, we can comfortably meet increasing demand.”

“The results of our latest consumer survey clearly show that to attract consumers, the focus for manufacturers should be on delivering value for money. Using ingredients that allow for on-pack-claims is important and it enables manufacturers to be successful, even in these tough financial times, with premium positioned products,” concluded Michael Hughes, Head of Research and Insight at FMCG Gurus.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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