Vox Pop: Consumers are familiar with the word ‘probiotic,’ but struggle to define it

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Probiotics, Bacteria, World health organization

Probiotics are distinct types of bacteria that have been clearly defined by health authorities around the world, trade associations, as well as the World Health Organization. However, this definition may have not yet entered mainstream consciousness.

In an informal person-on-the-street interview conducted by NutraIngredients-USA, we found that randomly selecting six people on the streets of Chicago and asking them about probiotics will a) reveal that they have all heard of the term but struggle to define it, and b) associate these ingredients with yogurt.

But picking their brains a bit further, only three were able to identify probiotics as beneficial bacteria, and none were able to name any specific strains, even those who say they actively seek probiotics to consume.

The accepted definition of ‘probiotic,’ as set by FAO/WHO​, is that a probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host."

Further clarification by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) back in 2009​ specified that a probiotic must be alive when administered, have undergone controlled evaluation to document health benefits in the target host and be a taxonomically defined microbe or combination of microbes.

The small scale and informal nature of this survey means it shouldn’t be taken as a true reflection of how probiotics are perceived by consumers in the US, but the results mirror findings of a report by Packaged Facts from last month​, in which a much larger revealed that millennials are the most interested in buying probiotics compared to the other generations.

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