Immune system support a focus for consumers post lockdown

Australians re-entering society post lockdown are seeking foods containing probiotics to support their immune system, new research shows.

A study commissioned by global bioscience company Chr. Hansen showed that consumers were concerned about supporting their immune system and were actively looking for ways to do this through food.

The study found that while most consumers know that probiotics may help support gut health, they didn’t realise that with up to 80% of the body’s immune cells located in the gut, probiotics may also have a positive impact in supporting immunity.

A FMCG Gurus study conducted last month combined quantitative research of 1000 participants and qualitative focus-group questioning. The findings included:

  • 72% of participants were concerned about their immune health – mostly in relation to their own health and wellbeing;
  • Almost half of those surveyed indicated that current concerns related to immunity had made them more conscious of overall immune health;
  • More than one-quarter of the participants have turned to food more frequently to support their immune defence at this time, and;
  • 71% of participants associate probiotics with helping to support their immune health.

Chr. Hansen’s commercial development and senior scientific manager for Fresh Dairy, Dorte Eskesen, said while it had long been demonstrated through clinical studies that specific probiotic strains may help strengthen the immune system and support digestive health, consumer understanding was now catching up with the research.

“The fact that up to 80% of our immune cells reside in the gut resonated strongly with consumers who are increasingly seeing functional foods as a way to help maintain optimal health,” Eskesen said.

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