Trusting Your Gut Health

by Louisa White, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights and Analytics

Consumers increasingly recognize the importance of gut health and its role in their overall well-being. Conscious of the fact it can have positive effects on other organs — like the brain, immune system, eyes, and skin — many actively seek ways to improve their gut health. Scientific research supports these connections, further fueling consumer interest in enhancing their gut health. 1

What is Gut Health?

So what is “gut health?” The term is thrown around loosely, cropping up everywhere, from blogs to social media posts to books and magazines. Gut health refers broadly to the well-being of your digestive system, that incredible series of organs responsible for breaking down food and drinks into essential nutrients your body needs to function. There are over 100 trillion tiny microbes inside your body, many of which reside in your gut microbiome, an environment, if you will, located in your small and large intestines. These microbes are crucial to your body's ability to digest food, absorb nutrients, and reduce inflammation.2

So, when we talk about gut health, we're referring to the overall state of your digestive system and your gut microbiome's role in keeping your entire body healthy.

How do Consumers View Gut Health?

Gut health is moving from niche to mainstream, with more consumers beginning to pay attention to and learn more about improving their gut health, seeking products to help them achieve this goal. They’re shifting their diets for a multitude of needs, including gut health but also things like immunity and stress relief. Recent data shows 45% of US consumers agree they are interested in digestive health, which also benefits other aspects of their health.1

However, it's important to note that consumer knowledge about gut health strategies varies. Only a third of consumers claim to understand the distinctions between prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. This highlights an opportunity for brands to educate and provide gut-friendly food and drink products supported by scientific research, catering to the growing demand for holistic well-being. 1

How Can Consumers Achieve Improved Gut Health?

In order to bolster their digestive systems, consumers are looking to pre-, pro-, and postbiotics to help solve their issues, as well as fiber; when citing the reasons they turn to fiber, gut health is number one.3 The American Heart Association Eating Plan suggests eating a variety of food fiber sources, and total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. Currently, dietary fiber intake among adults in the United States averages about 15 grams daily — about half the recommended amount.4

How Brands Are Responding to the Demand

With so many consumers set on achieving good overall health, an opportunity has been created for brands to provide scientifically backed gut-friendly food and drink products with multiple health benefits.1

Looking at the body's immune system — a hot topic for consumers — it’s intricately linked to the gut, as indicated by scientific studies, which reveal that around 70% of immune cells are concentrated in the gastrointestinal tract. This implies there are exciting new prospects for food and beverage brands to enhance immunity by promoting gut health. Incorporating ingredients such as probiotics and prebiotics can contribute to maintaining a balanced gut microbiome, fostering the survival of intestinal epithelial cells, and improving barrier function. Put it all together, and you have a product that can help fortify the body's immune response.5

Fiber-enriched products are consistently gaining popularity amongst consumers and across food and drinks globally. Launches with fiber claims consistently grew over several years, indicating an expanding demand for this feature.6

Tate & Lyle Has the Fiber Ingredient Solutions Your Customers Want

Our fiber ingredients provide gut health support and so much more. We can:

  • Harness the health benefits of fiber while giving consumers the taste and texture they enjoy.

  • Formulate with soluble fibers that blend easily into food and beverages without impacting taste, color, or texture.

  • Provide excellent digestive tolerance so you can enrich your products with confidence, knowing that you won’t impact consumer acceptance.

  • Create extraordinary foods and beverages that balance exceptional taste with nutrition and consumer-friendly labeling.

To learn more about our fiber ingredients and how we can help you meet consumer demand for gut-friendly food and beverage products, contact us today.

1. Patent insights: gut health for holistic wellbeing, March 2023

2. Cleveland Clinic, "What You Should Know About Your Gut Health," December 2022

3. Tate & Lyle Proprietary Research, 2022 Global Consumer Ingredient Perception Research

4. University of California SF, Increasing Fiber Intake

5. Mintel (sourced via National Library of Medicine article)

6. Mintel GNPD data 2017-22 – product launches containing soluble fibers