What does tomorrow’s food manufacturing sector look like? For brands responding to shifting consumer needs around the globe, the clear focus is on bringing additional nutritional and functional value to their product recipes and supporting the food industry with innovation backed by strong scientific principles. 

Amidst this dynamic backdrop, an emerging trend is capturing the attention of health-conscious consumers; the fusion of food and nutrition in a way that brings tangible benefits to everyday life. As the respective categories of nutraceuticals and food become ever more closely linked, many exciting possibilities emerge for formulators, especially in the diverse snack category, which includes on-the-go snacks, baked goods, and dairy products, such as yoghurts. 

Creating snack products imbued with prebiotic fibre could be a highly potent avenue for brands to create innovative, functional snack foods that promote better gut health. This combination can tick many important consumer boxes; satisfying the snack cravings of consumers, supporting the drive for better gut microbiome support, and fitting prebiotic supplementation into easy everyday routines. And, with the versatility and stability of prebiotics such as galactooligosaccharides (or GOS), the development of prebiotic-fortified snack products can be simple. 

The rise of snacking 

Time is a precious commodity in today’s fast-paced world, propelling the popularity of snack foods to new heights. The modern consumer seeks convenience without compromising on health, fuelling the demand for handy on-the-go snacks designed with nutrition in mind. 

Market statistics underscore this shift, with the global snack food market witnessing remarkable growth. According to a report by intelligence firm Grand View Research, the global snack market was valued at a huge $422.2 billion in 2020 and is projected to register a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% to 2028. For today’s health audience, this growth isn’t just about satisfying hunger pangs; it’s about embracing a lifestyle where functional foods, such as prebiotic-fortified snacks, contribute to overall well-being.  

An example of this in action is the rising demand for low-sugar, high-protein snack bars designed to support sports nutrition. The category has grown rapidly in a short space of time, and can now often be found on mainstream supermarket shelves, typically in high-impulse locations. 

The union of prebiotics and snack foods perfectly aligns with this trend, and the path is open for many new ‘first-to-markets’. As consumers reach for snacks that provide sustained energy and satiety, brands can offer products that not only indulge taste buds, but also nurture gut health through nourishing beneficial bacteria.  

Gut health on centre stage 

As consumers become more proactive in learning about health, gut health has emerged as a key focus. The market has responded in kind; products containing probiotic live bacteria, such as kefir and live culture yoghurts, have found a foothold in the market and are now a common sight on supermarket shelves. However, the scope of gut health support has broadened, and prebiotics are building significant momentum.  

Prebiotic fibre is a substrate that nourishes good bacteria that reside in the gut, promoting their growth and activities. The beneficial bacteria that are found in the gut microbiome are associated with many important areas of health and wellbeing, supported by the latest evolving science in this field.  

The relationship between prebiotics and gut bacteria affects not only digestion and common gastrointestinal symptoms, but also cognition, immune responses, athletic performance, and even sleep quality. In a market ripe with potential, gut health now presents brands with an opportunity to spearhead innovation and pioneer in exciting new product segments. Looking further afield, this can also include on-the-go supplement formats, such as prebiotic gummies that make everyday gut health support even simpler. 

Similar to growth seen in the snack product sector, the prebiotic market is expanding at an impressive rate. Grand View Research notes that the prebiotic market was valued at over $6bn in 2021 and is expected to see a CAGR of almost 15% to 2030. As global demand soars, the business case for formulating with prebiotics goes from strength to strength. 

Unlocking prebiotic innovation in the snack category 

When it comes to creating functional snack foods with consumer appeal, two factors stand out as clear priorities – scientific credibility and versatility / ease of use in manufacturing. Consumers are looking for choice and products they can trust, which means strong scientific evidence and choice are top priorities. 

While prebiotics and probiotics share a similar name, they reach the same goal of supporting gut health in two very different ways. Probiotic products add more beneficial bacteria to the gut microbiome, for a specific health benefit. While the science behind probiotics is compelling and the market is connecting with this category, the challenge for formulators is that these probiotic bacteria are live organisms that must survive the manufacturing and digestive processes to reach the gut microbiome intact. This, in turn, can limit their versatility in product development, especially heat. 

By contrast, prebiotics are a substrate, rather than a live organism. Prebiotics work by selectively nourishing beneficial bacteria that are native to the gut microbiome, stimulating their growth and capacity to influence health.  

They are inert, and resistant to a wide range of temperatures and acidities that are found in food manufacturing processes. This opens new opportunities for product development, widening the overall category of products designed to support better gut health. 

The role of Bimuno® GOS 

In an ever-expanding market, formulators have access to a broad range of ingredients to develop new products with. Clasado’s proprietary galactooligosaccharide (GOS) ingredient, Bimuno® GOS, stands out as a clear choice. Meeting consumer demand for scientifically backed solutions, the multi award-winning ingredient is supported by an impressive portfolio of over 110 scientific publications, including more than 20 clinical trials.  

Developed to address the needs of consumers and formulators today and in the future, Bimuno GOS has the stability and ability to seamlessly integrate the power of cutting-edge gut health science into a wide array of products. 

Bimuno GOS is an ideal functional ingredient tool for brands looking to connect directly with today’s engaged health audience, particularly amidst the ongoing convergence of food and nutrition. With the inclusion of a market-leading prebiotic ingredient, the most comprehensively studied prebiotic of its kind, brand owners can craft functional snack foods aligned with the ever-evolving desires of consumers.  

As gut health science continues to accelerate and the links between what we eat and how it impacts our well-being become clearer, prebiotics such as Bimuno GOS lead the way toward a future where gut health thrives, and healthier snacking is more accessible than ever before. 

Looking to develop the next generation of functional or fortified snack products? 

Get in touch with the Clasado team to learn more about Bimuno GOS, and the role of prebiotics.