Nestlé is partnering with, the Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) at the University of California San Diego to help them understand the positive impact the gut microbiome has on nutrition and human health.
The microbiome is composed of the trillions of bacteria that live inside our intestines and on our skin. Most microbes are found in the large intestine and are referred to as the gut microbiome. These bacterias help with our day-to-day functions from digesting food, and absorbing nutrients to balancing hormones.
What we eat plays a vital role in how healthy our gut microbiome is, which can, in turn, affect our overall mood and how strong our immune system is.
As a result, Nestlé’s researchers have studied the gut microbiome over several years and how it affects the health of different age groups of people and pets.
This has fueled a portfolio of products under the food and beverage company that contain probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics — a combination of the two — to help with digestion.
One of their studies examined a healthy type of sugar found in breast milk know as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which promotes early microbiome development in the immune system. The findings were then used to create new infant formulas with the prebiotic in it. Another study was also used to launch a probiotic-based supplement called Calming Care, that helps dogs with anxiety disorders.
As consumers become more health-conscious about what they eat and how it affects their bodies, Nestlé is wise to put more research into the functional food category.
According to Markets and Markets research, the global probiotic ingredient market is expected to increase from $49.4 billion in 2018 to $69.3 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of seven percent.
Although probiotics are known to be pricey, it is clear that consumers are willing to a pay premium for food items that will advance their overall health and quality of life.
As Nestlé works to study microbiomes, it’s likely their research partnership with CMI will only lead to the development of more innovative products for the masses in the years to come.
“The microbiome is an important research area for us,” said Isabelle Bureau-Franz, head of Nestlé research. “In addition to the continuous development of our innovative products, we are investing in long-term research enabling us to provide the next generation of personalized nutritional solutions adapted to the individual’s microbiome.”