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August 2019 blog

According to Mintel, today’s “consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs.”1 This desire is increasingly leading consumers around the globe to incorporate digestive health solutions, which are designed to create a healthier balance in the gut microbiome and impact a person’s well-being. And the trend knows no boundaries.

Digestive Health Market Primed for Growth

People look to high-fiber foods like legumes and whole grains, and dairy and other fermented products containing prebiotics and probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, and kombucha, for their digestive health needs. However, new gut-friendly innovations are appearing across all product categories. Take a walk through the grocery store and you’ll find granola, cereal, pasta, ice cream, nutrition bars, and more, boasting digestive health claims. You’ll even find health, hygiene, beauty, and personal care product innovations supporting gut health.

The global digestive health products market is expected to grow at a significant annual growth rate of approximately 7.5% from 2015-2026, reaching approximately $53.2 billion by 2026.2 This growth represents a significant market opportunity for global food and beverage companies seeking to support health-conscious consumers in their search for optimal health and wellness.

Changing Consumer Behavior

There is a plethora of products on the market today to support the gut microbiome, but this is only the beginning. Research is constantly being conducted to better understand the impact digestive health products have, not only on the microbiome, but also general health, the gut-brain axis, and disease prevention. Simultaneously, research and development efforts are continuing to look for new and better ways to deliver these wellness solutions to consumers. As new findings emerge and innovations follow, companies are challenged to ready the market for new product introductions. When introducing a new product consider the following:3,4

  • How familiar are consumers with the term microbiome?

  • Do consumers understand the importance of gut health?

  • What do consumers need to know?

  • How much of the science is too much?

At IFT19, David Beno, Ph.D., suggested companies consider the Fogg Behavior Model as they prepare to launch new gut microbiome products. This model places an emphasis on specific actions rather than abstract thoughts, such as aspirations or outcomes (e.g., to lose weight, to feel better, etc.).4,5

According to the Fogg Behavior Model,4,5 three factors need to align for a behavior to occur:

  • Ability: The consumer must be able to perform the target behavior despite their scarcest resource at that moment (e.g., time, money, skills, knowledge).

  • Motivation: The underlying drivers of action which are categorized into three types: sensation (pain/pleasure), anticipation (hope/fear), and belonging (social acceptance/rejection).

  • Prompt/Trigger: A spark, prompt, or signal that incites action, which must occur at right place and the right time with both the ability and motivation for a behavior to happen.

Driving awareness and dispelling myths about digestive health products will be important in building consumer trust and influencing purchase decisions. By placing gut-friendly products backed by sound science in front of health-conscious consumers, identifying the trigger points, and harnessing the motivation at that point in time, the wide array of digestive health products are positioned for explosive growth for the foreseeable future.

More on the Gut Microbiome

Please see Good Health Starts with a Healthy Gut and The Role of Probiotics in Metabolic Health to read the first two installments in our gut microbiome series, and keep an eye out for our final installment on the gut microbiome and the patent landscape.


1 Mintel Group. 2018. Global Consumer Trends 2019. Mintel Group Ltd.

2 Acumen Research and Consulting. March 5, 2019. Digestive Health Products Market (By Ingredient: Prebiotics, Probiotics, Food Enzymes; By Application: Dairy Products, Bakery & Cereals, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Supplements, Others) - Global Industry Analysis, Market Size, Opportunities and Forecast, 2019 – 2026. Acumen Research and Consulting.

3 Murray, A. 2019. Communicating Science to Consumers. IFT19, Institute of Food Technologists, New Orleans, June 3.

4 Beno, D. 2019. Changing Consumer Behavior to Greater Adoption of Microbiome Products. IFT19, Institute of Food Technologists, New Orleans, June 3.

5 Fogg, BJ. Fogg Behavior Model.

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