Helping Shoppers Understand Fermented, Probiotic Foods and Beverages

Helping Shoppers Understand Fermented, Probiotic Foods and Beverages

July 18, 2018

Fermented foods and probiotics are on fire!  As consumers learn more about the importance of gut health and the benefits of a healthy microbiome, fermented foods and beverages with probiotics are quickly moving from a niche category to becoming a mainstream staple.

In fact, results of the International Food Information Council Foundation’s (IFIC) 2018 Food & Health Survey report that digestive health ranks among the top 5 desired health benefits consumers are seeking from the foods they eat, and probiotics are perceived as “healthy” by both women (nearly 70 percent) and men (about 55 percent). 

The challenge?  Only 38 percent of consumers are able to connect specific foods and nutrients to the health outcomes they desire.  What better opportunity for retail dietitians to help bridge this “dietary disconnect” than to educate and inform shoppers on the importance of a gut-friendly diet and how to make fermented, probiotic foods and beverages a regular part of a healthier lifestyle.  

  • Arm shoppers with the facts about fermentation.  Some fermented foods contain live microbes when consumed, and others do not. And among the fermented foods that have live and active cultures, not all contain probiotics.  This is a great opportunity to inform and educate shoppers on this trending topic in an article, infographic or store newsletter Q&A. Consider conducting a “Gut-Friendly Foods” store tour or class. Have shoppers identify fermented, probiotic foods and beverages, check labels for “live probiotics,” and read ingredient lists to identify specific probiotic strains. Working with the Pharmacy Department to promote the event and “cross-sell” shoppers to the food aisles can also help drive overall store sales.
  • Look beyond the dairy aisle.  While shoppers may readily recognize cultured dairy products as sources of “live and active cultures” (some of which contain probiotics), there are a variety of shelf-stable and refrigerated probiotic products to add to the grocery cart, including fermented functional beverages like KeVita.  Made from ingredients that do not contain dairy, KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drinks and KeVita Apple Cider Vinegar Tonics are fermented with a water kefir culture, and KeVita Master Brew Kombucha is fermented with a kombucha tea culture, and all contain billions of live probiotics in every bottle. Create a Digestive Health Shopping List that includes fermented, probiotic products to help shoppers take a “food first” approach to their digestive health and wellness.  
  • Encourage shoppers to find their favorite fermented flavors.  Use the “flavor factor” of fermented foods and beverages to appeal to your shoppers’ culinary creativity.  Conduct a fermented foods cooking class or work with your store chef to create recipes using fermented foods, like fresh kimchi to add bold flavors to mixed green salads, tempeh with its grill-friendly firm texture, and miso as an ingredient for a delicious marinade or glaze for grilled salmon fillets.