Cranberries show promise for improved gut health19 Nov 2018
Researchers are just beginning to understand the link between the gut and many chronic health conditions, leading to growing interest in prebiotic ingredients. According to a new study, cranberries are the latest food to show prebiotic potential.
Interest in gut health continues to gain ground, as researchers have started to uncover links between the gut microbiota and disease risk well beyond digestive health, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. Emerging evidence suggests that even mood and brain structure could be related to the bacterial composition of the gut.
In the food industry, probiotics continue to dominate the market for gut health ingredients, but awareness of prebiotics – the ingredients that feed beneficial bacteria – is growing. According to a Global Industry Analysts’ report, demand for prebiotic-containing products, such as health drinks, infant food, dairy, meat and bakery products could drive the market to reach $7.8 billion by 2022. For comparison, the same organisation predicts the market for probiotics will exceed $63 billion that year.
With strong market potential, the message from researchers is that identifying foods that support better gut health could have a significant impact on overall public health.
In this latest pilot trial, researchers from Tufts University found cranberries may improve gut health in people consuming low fibre diets rich in meat and dairy. Thirty grams of freeze dried whole cranberry powder each day helped reinstate a healthy microbiome.
The study was funded by a US non-profit organisation called The Cranberry Institute, which is dedicated to supporting research to improve market opportunities for cranberry growers. Its members include major players like Fruit d'Or and Ocean Spray Cranberries, but research into cranberries’ health benefits stands to benefit European suppliers of cranberry powders and extracts too, such as Berrico, Iprona and Naturex.
It is just the latest in a host of studies suggesting health benefits from cranberries, and cranberry suppliers already profit from research into the berries’ antioxidant content, their potential for limiting urinary tract infections, and for improving vascular function and cholesterol profiles.
Research backing the benefits of cranberry powder could have a halo effect too, potentially boosting sales of other cranberry products, such as whole dried cranberries used in baked goods, or cranberry juice drinks, for example, as consumers tend to associate the benefits of specific ingredients with related products.
When it comes to gut health, industry still has some work to do to promote prebiotic ingredients. A lack of consumer understanding about the function of prebiotics continues to be a barrier to greater uptake among food and beverage companies. Researchers have suggested that one possible approach could be to combine prebiotic ingredients with probiotics, which already enjoy considerable market acceptance.
Exploring the future of plant protein in Europe
25 Oct 2019
Plant protein is one of the biggest food industry trends, but futureproofing the supply of sustainable plant-based protein sources poses big challenges.Read more
Premium chocolate gets a sustainable innovation boost
25 Oct 2019
Unusual ingredients and eco-friendly approaches to NPD have boosted the premium chocolate sector, which continues to grow rapidly while innovation in other chocolate categories has slowed.Read more
Hybrid drinks add sparkle to a struggling beverage market
21 Oct 2019
Consumers love to try new beverages, and a recent trend aims to straddle categories with drinks like tea lattes, carbonated juices, and fruit smoothies with plant milk.Read more
Plant-based foods and drinks spur new ingredient development
21 Oct 2019
The growing popularity of plant-based foods and beverages has boosted innovation among ingredient suppliers to meet diverse manufacturer demands, from dairy-free cultures for flavour and food safety, to flavours and emulsifiers for improved taste and t...Read more
Fermentation targets more eco-friendly ingredients
14 Oct 2019
Plant extracts like natural sweeteners and antioxidants make up a tiny fraction of the plants from which they are derived, meaning a relatively large land and water footprint. Could producing these compounds via fermentation be more environmentally and...Read more
Climate change fuels ingredient innovation
14 Oct 2019
From cocoa that doesn’t grow beyond a certain altitude, to wheat crops threatened by drought, the world’s changing climate presents many serious concerns for the global food supply. Enterprising crop breeders and ingredient suppliers are working on pot...Read more
Exploring the enduring appeal of quinoa
7 Oct 2019
Quinoa has become increasingly popular for several years, as consumers have turned to ancient grains and pseudo-cereals for their strong nutritional credentials. What does the future hold for quinoa?Read more
Organic foods on the rise among young Europeans
7 Oct 2019
Young people are now among the biggest consumers of organic foods and beverages in Europe – and manufacturers may need to rethink their organic brands if they want to appeal to the next generation.Read more
Are plant-based alternatives healthier than meat?
23 Sep 2019
Diets high in red and processed meat have been linked to a range of health problems, leading many consumers to choose more plant-based alternatives. But are fake meat products like burgers, sausages and nuggets really a healthier option?Read more
Turning the spotlight on titanium dioxide
2 Sep 2019
Titanium dioxide has been the main white pigment used in the food industry for years, but consumer groups and regulators have raised questions about its acceptability. What options are available for manufacturers?Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation