It’s no surprise that gut health was one of the biggest trends at SupplySide West in October. Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics were found in supplements, foods, and beverages that benefit the gut microbiome. According to Innova Market Insights, gut health is American’s No. 1 focus when considering ‘biotic ingredients. What’s interesting to note, however, is that in addition to improving the digestive system, the link between gut health and mental health, particularly mood and sleep, was also trending.

Chr. Hansen discussed its newest probiotic strain, CLEPIUS L. plantarum, which in a recently published clinical study, was shown to alleviate perceived stress related to gastrointestinal discomfort and helped normalize stool consistency. Probiotical highlighted research showing that Bifizen, a four-strain probiotic blend, benefited measures of subclinical/occasional depression, anxiety, and mood.

Fiber’s Comeback

Dietary fiber has stepped back into the spotlight thanks to the growing interest in gut health. Soluble fiber was showcased in gummies, bars, and beverages. A no-sugar-added lavender lemonade and a prebiotic raspberry-cherry yogurt drink, for example, contained Promitor soluble fiber (Tate & Lyle) for its gut health benefits. Ingredion showcased a reduced-sugar, gelatin-free gummy made with soluble corn fiber, allulose, apple pectin, and stevia leaf sweetener.

Newly published fiber research is indicative of the strong interest in fiber’s benefits. Brightseed, a pioneer in biosciences and artificial intelligence, highlighted new research from the University of Minnesota that found that each plant source of insoluble fiber contains unique bioactives—compounds that have been linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes—offering potential health benefits beyond those of the fiber itself. The study found that a variety of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, contain insoluble dietary fiber, and each source contains unique bioactives that support health in different ways. For instance, Brightseed’s Bio Gut Fiber is an upcycled hemp fiber with two unique bioactives (NCT and NFT) to support gut health.

Gummy Innovation

Gummies tie supplement and food segments together as they blur the line between supplement and confectionery. Cargill shared its research that revealed consumers’ favorite gummy textures: gummies made with pectin and corn/tapioca syrup were highly preferred. As part of the study, two distinct consumer groups became apparent: those that preferred the soft chew afforded by pectin and corn/tapioca syrup and another cohort drawn to the harder bite associated with gelatin. For manufacturers looking to develop gummies, this suggests there’s white space on both ends of the texture spectrum.

Companies used gummies to showcase not only unique flavors, but also a variety of nutritional ingredients. Flavor companies tempted taste buds with flavor combinations in gummies: Peach Black Tea (Florida Food Products), Superberry Lemonade EPA/DHA with a specialized fish oil masking flavor (Virginia Dare), Apple Tarte Tatin (Gold Coast Ingredients), and Blackberry Lavender Adaptogen (Bell Flavors & Fragrances).

Nutritional ingredient–fortified gummies addressed various health concerns. A blackcurrant-flavored functional gummy provided 500 mg of postbiotic EpiCor dried yeast fermentate (Cargill), which has been shown to benefit the immune system. Addressing digestive health, ADM offered a tri-biotic gummy in Australian Finger Lime Mint flavor. Tate & Lyle’s sugar-free nutritional pectin gummy was a good source of fiber, made with Promitor soluble corn fiber and EUOLIGO fructooligosacccharides.

Artemis added its CherryCraft extract and Ecovitis Grape Seed extract to a Sports Recovery & Cardiovascular Gummy. And Kerry used gummies to showcase some unique concept ideas. Blueberry Serenity Gummy featured Sensoril ashwagandha extract, which provides cognitive health benefits, including healthy stress response, sleep support, and improved focus. An Orange Creamsicle Gummy featured Eupoly-3 Algae Omega-3 40% DHA concentrate for support of brain health.

Women’s Health

“Women are underrepresented in the nutritional industry,” observed Vaughn DuBow, global director of marketing microbiome, ADM. The company addressed the female market with a Raspberry Blackberry Women’s Health Chocolate Square, containing 5 mg genistein from Novasoy, 1 billion CFUs DE111 Probiotic, 34 mg BPL1 postbiotic, vitamin E, and 25% sugar reduction with Fibersol-2.

dsm-firmenich had a dedicated women’s health area, where it presented concepts that included some of its ingredients (life’sDHA, geniVida, and Vertis CanolaPRO). The company offered samples of Meno-PRO, a menopause support powdered drink mix that included plant-based protein, geniVida genistein, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, and oligofructose.

Hydration and Electrolytes

Electrolytes and hydration were also highlighted at SupplySide West. Kerry’s Lemon Lime Hydration concept was a powdered, citrus supplement designed to hydrate, support immunity, and improve mood. It contained Coconut Water Crystals, Wellmune Adapt, and Sensoril ashwagandha. Virginia Dare hydrated SupplySide West attendees with a Boysenberry Watermelon Hydration Beverage with electrolytes from organic coconut water.

Bartek debuted three ingredients under its new brand, Refortify: magnesium malate, mono sodium malate, and mono potassium malate, which address the electrolyte and mineral supplement needs of consumers. Bartek’s magnesium malate is very high in bioavailability, while sodium hydrogen malate and potassium hydrogen malate are electrolytes that also enhance the flavor properties of finished products.ft

About the Author

Linda Ohr
Linda Milo Ohr is a food scientist and writer based in Highlands Ranch, Colo. ([email protected]).