Whether it’s through exercise, changing their diets, or supplementation, consumers around the globe are more conscious than ever of the steps they can take to improve their digestive health.
From social media influencers talking more openly about bloating and conditions such as IBS, to advancements in scientific research on gut microbiota, digestive health is rising up the consumer agenda, including in the Asia-Pacific region. With as many as 61% of consumers in APAC experiencing digestive health issues at least once a week 1, there are significant opportunities for innovators to develop novel and convenient products that make it easy for consumers to look after their gut. And, as a solution that offers a means for people to easily improve their well-being in an efficient and personalised way, supplements can be an ideal solution to cater for today’s busy lifestyles where maintaining a diet that fully supports specific digestive health needs can be challenging
To help brands tap into the ever-evolving needs of Asia-Pacific consumers, here are three of FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ top trends that are shaping gut health supplement innovation within the APAC region.
1. The rise of holistic health
The growing holistic health trend – an approach to life that considers multidimensional aspects of wellness – is gaining significant global traction, driving more people to proactively look for products that support both their physical and mental well-being. Globally, 66% of individuals across the world showed significant interest in products designed to boost gut health, even if they don’t suffer from any digestive problems 2. Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are no different. Research reveals that they want to improve their digestive health for a wide variety of reasons, including to feel ‘more relaxed’ (57%), and are seeking ingredients such as probiotics to support their immune system (77%) 3, skin (37%), and heart health (50%).4
Of course, building physical and mental resilience across multiple aspects of health requires time, dedication, and a healthy, balanced diet – something consumers may find difficult to follow consistently. Gut-boosting supplements offer one convenient way to support and improve multiple health indices with minimal changes to lifestyle. Brands therefore have a significant opportunity to provide scientifically-backed products – leveraging effective ingredients such as prebiotics 5 – to unlock multiple health benefits and meet rising consumer need for a more holistic approach to health.
2. All eyes on the gut-brain axis
As part of this shift towards holistic health, consumers are increasingly prioritising their mental well-being – particularly as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and multi-year lockdowns. In fact, significant numbers of Chinese (48%), Indian (45%), and Japanese (40%) consumers say that stress is the biggest threat to their wellness 6. Moreover, across the APAC region, the proportion of consumers satisfied with their cognitive health has dropped substantially – decreasing from 56% to 45% between 2018 and 2021.7
Prioritisation of mental health is not only leading to shifts in attitudes – including more openness about workplace stress and the de-stigmatisation of support methods such as therapy and medication –it’s also encouraging people to research simple ways to support their mental health through daily routines, such as supplementing their diet. As a result, today’s research-savvy consumer is all too aware of the impact of the benefits of a healthy gut for a healthy mind and is seeking gut-boosting ingredients to help.
This has led to an increased awareness of emerging ingredients such as prebiotics. As a form of dietary fibre, prebiotics have been shown to influence the balance of the gut microbiota 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 which has been shown to link to sleep and mood via the gut-brain axis 13. In particular, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) have been shown to stimulate the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria 14 in the gut, which may help reduce stress 15, 16 and anxiety symptoms 17, 18, which can hamper a good night’s sleep.
3. The need for convenient supplementation
Consumers aren’t simply looking for products that support them on their holistic health journey – they want them in convenient, on-the-go formats that suit their day-to-day lives. In addition, they don’t want to compromise on taste or texture, so they seek products that offer the full package – functional, effective, convenient and with a good taste. This is increasing the popularity of innovative supplement formats, such as shots, gummies and smaller, more convenient pills and capsules. In fact, in APAC, as many as one in five consumers is currently using supplements to aid their health.19
In the past, however, technical limitations surrounding the volume of active ingredient needed, have hampered efforts to formulate prebiotics into convenient supplement formats – making smaller yet efficacious formulations a challenge. But innovative ingredients are starting to change this, encouraging inspirational innovation and reimagining prebiotic supplements for today’s health-conscious consumers.
For example, at FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we have used our extensive scientific expertise in prebiotics to develop Biotis GOS-OP High Purity. This innovative ingredient delivers a high dose of GOS (galacto-oligosaccharide) to a formulation, so brands can create effective and convenient supplement formats with ease – and tap into the growing need for supplements supporting gut health in the APAC region.
New for APAC: Introducing Biotis GOS-OP High Purity
To help brands overcome supplement formulation challenges using prebiotics, FrieslandCampina Ingredients is introducing its new Biotis GOS-OP High Purity product to the APAC market. Developed through a unique and patent-pending process, Biotis GOS-OP High Purity brings a high concentration of GOS to formulations compared to other prebiotic ingredients, delivering a typical GOS content of 94%. Research has also shown that GOS can be effective at doses as low as 2 grams.20 For formulators, this has the key benefit of allowing them to formulate into smaller formats – making Biotis GOS-OP High Purity perfect for the supplements market. In turn, this unlocks even more opportunities for supplement product innovation so that brands can tackle the health issues that are most important to APAC consumers. It’s innovation with consumer insight at its heart.
Visitors to Fi Asia Indonesia 2022 can explore the benefits of Biotis GOS-OP High Purity at the Innovation Zone, or find out more about FrieslandCampina Ingredients range of protein and dairy-derived ingredients by visiting booth S34.
 Zinklar concept test, 2021
 FMCG Gurus – Digestive Health survey, 2020
 FMCG Gurus – Digestive Health survey, 2020
 FMCG Gurus, Cognitive Health survey, 2021
 Gibson et al., 2017
 McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, ‘The Truth about Culture & Covid-19, the Truth about Gen Z and the Truth about Wellness1, 2021
 FMCG Gurus, ‘Assessing the Importance of Cognitive Health – Global Report’, 2021
 Krumbeck et al., 2018
Johnstone et al., 2021
 Ladirat et al., 2014
 Walton et al., 2012
 Schoemaker et al 2022
 Montiel-Castro et al., 2013
 Walton et al., 2012
 Thompson et al., 2020
 Schmidt et al., 2015;
 Johnstone et al., 2019
 Silk, et al., 2009.
 FMCG Gurus, ‘Nutritional Supplements: Consumer Cohort Trends – Asia Pacific’, 2021
 FrieslandCampina Ingredients Consumer Concept Study, 2022