Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Seize the day in digestive wellness

digestive picIt’s a sign of the times. A small sign, admittedly, but as is so often the case in business, the smallest signs turn out to be some of the most important ones.

As the picture shows, healthy-and-natural foods retailer Whole Foods Market has created a special Digestive Health section within the chiller cabinets of its UK stores.

Fitting in neatly between the milk and the yoghurt, it’s a section devoted to one of the biggest consumer needs (along with sustained energy).

One third of people suffer from some form of digestive symptoms – the most common ones being bloating and constipation (Source: World Gastroenterology Organisation (2016)) and maintaining digestive wellness becomes a bigger focus as people age.

Digestive wellness has consistently been a key driver of growth for the food and beverage industry for 20 years, lying behind some of the biggest shifts in our market:

  • It’s a trend that has spawned some of the world’s biggest and most successful probiotic dairy brands (Danone Activia and Yakult, to take just two examples, with combined sales of $6 billion).
  • It’s the consumer quest for digestive wellness that has – without any question – been the driver of the gluten-free, dairy-free and lactose-free trends.
  • It’s the quest for digestive wellness that has been the main driver of growth for plant milks – most almond milk and other nut-milk brands reference the benefit of “digestive comfort” on the label or in marketing.

The field of digestive health, like many others, is fragmenting and people are becoming more open to digestive benefits from a much wider variety of products.

It is this openness of consumers to new experiences that is behind the rapid growth of a new market for fermented foods and beverages

When PepsiCo, the world’s second-biggest food and beverage company, bought small fermented drinks maker KeVita in late 2016, it sent a clear sign that fermented foods have reached a tipping point (

Smart companies will seize the digestive health and fermentation opportunity now, at Day One.

Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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