26 Jan 2018 --- Digestive health has risen to the top of the nutraceutical industry’s agenda, according to a new survey conducted by the organizers of Vitafoods Europe. Experts have attributed the findings to growing consumer awareness of the importance of healthy gut microbiota and of the potential of probiotics. These topics will be highlighted with a series of talks and presentations at the event, which will be held 15 to 17 May in Geneva.
The survey asked 220 nutraceutical industry professionals to choose the three most important health benefit areas for their companies. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) named digestive health, with the same number identifying general wellbeing and healthy aging. Another 22 percent named cardiovascular health, while 21 percent indicated immunity was a key area.
This is the third time the Vitafoods Europe poll has been conducted, but the first that digestive health has been a top concern for the industry.
The organizers tell NutritionInsight that last year's survey showed that top topics were healthy aging (23 percent), bone and joint health (22 percent), general wellbeing (21 percent) and cardiovascular health (21 percent).
Experts attribute the increasing importance of digestive health to growing consumer awareness and demographic changes, the event's organizers note.
“The rapid growth of the global probiotics market is due to increased interest in functional foods, as well as rising incidence of digestive and gastrointestinal disorders,” says Rosanna Pecere, Executive Director of the International Probiotics Association Europe. “Consumers are becoming more aware that a well-balanced microbiota is essential for the normal functioning of the body, and they’re looking for ways to ensure that the correct balance is maintained.”
“Growth in the functional food and beverage market has also been driven by consumer interest in healthy living,” says Dr. Yiannis Kourkoutas of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Democritus University of Thrace, who will be discussing the potential of probiotics at Vitafoods Europe 2018. “This is particularly true among younger demographics, but population aging has also been conducive to sector expansion.”
“Thanks to large-scale research efforts, we now know the composition of gut microbiota is associated with a growing number of diseases. There is a large body of evidence supporting the concept that the maintenance of healthy gut microbiota provides protection against a range of problems – not just local gastro-intestinal disorders, but also neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular and even mental illnesses,” he adds.