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Millennials, Natural Grocery Shoppers Driving Probiotic Food, Beverage Sector Growth

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Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults specially seek out foods and beverages with high amounts of probiotics or prebiotics, with Millennials and natural grocery shoppers driving growth in the sector, according to the “Probiotics and Prebiotics: Food and Beverage New Product Trends" report from Packaged Facts.

With the increased focus on their potential in recent years, probiotics have emerged as one of the biggest trends today in the food and beverage industry. These products range from the familiar yogurt, kefir, kombucha and infant nutrition to the cutting-edge probiotics in soda, coffee, tea, soups and beer. But regardless of their mainstream status, or lack thereof, probiotic and prebiotics products are inherently associated with the hottest wellness trends. These products intertwine themselves with a multitude of other superfood trends, nutritional hot topics, and functional areas—ranging from ancient grains to sports nutrition—further splintering the overall probiotic and prebiotic fortification trend.

“Probiotics have emerged as a driving trend in the industry," said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “And given the core importance of gut health, this suggests continued potential for growth of probiotic- and prebiotic-containing foods, as consumers continue to learn more about them and next-generation products make their case in the market."

Among probiotic and prebiotics proponents, Millennials ages 18 to 34 years have relatively higher interest in probiotic foods and beverages compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, a revelation keeping with the elevated interest in functional foods generally among Millennials. Acceptable by this young yet influential consumer segment is an important reason why Packaged Facts forecasts continued positive momentum for probiotic and prebiotics products.

Beyond Millennials, Packaged Fact noted there’s even higher interest in probiotics among those who shop for food in the natural channel, which retains its role as the most significant retail sector for food and nutritional trends.

In the United States, Millennials fuel social media, keep up with the latest trends, quickly integrate new tools and devices into their lives, and spend US$600 billion a year. In fact, experts predict their spending power will exceed $1 trillion by 2020. Millennials have a unique ability to influence not only their peers, but other generations. As such, in the area of healthy, natural and organic products, connecting with Millennials is especially important, as it can help make or break a brand.

Download Natural Products INSIDER’s “Marketing to Generation Influencers" Digital Magazine to find out how brands can employ various strategies to reach this burgeoning demographic, including partnering with influencers—consumers with a platform to communicate and a slew of followers.