With every sip: prebiotic extras for a healthy treat

Natural fibre for a balanced diet

(PresseBox) ( Linnich, )
Adequate hydration is a key requirement for the body's vital functions and for physical well-being. More and more often, consumers are prioritising health considerations like this when choosing what they drink - alongside the fact that the products need to taste good too. Beverages containing prebiotic fibres have the benefit of combining all the requisite criteria. They taste great, they provide hydration, and they are especially healthy because they stimulate the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria strains that are important for digestion and build up intestinal microflora.

Patrizia Wegner, Global Market Segment Manager Liquid Dairy at SIG Combibloc: "Very few consumers are sufficiently aware of the link between probiotic cultures, prebiotic fibres and their effect on the human organism. While most consumers do associate health issues with these terms, only a handful know what they really mean. The current trend is that, on the whole, consumers want to know as much as possible about the foods they're eating". And food and beverage manufacturers and retailers are responding to this demand. Websites, company magazines, online platforms and telephone helplines are serving as the communication channels. Background information is also conveyed to consumers via QR codes, which people scan at the point of sale. And product packaging offers further scope for use as a communication medium.

According to Wegner, when designing packaging for a product, the task is to find and implement the ideal blend of attractive, attention-grabbing design elements and information delivery. "The awareness that people want to be informed shouldn't result in consumers being overloaded with messages. What's needed are concepts that are target group-specific. When it comes to package design, with their four display surfaces fully available to present the design and deliver information, carton packs have advantages over packaging solutions that only have narrow labels or banderoles: they're able to grab attention with an unusual look and inform at the same time. This makes them brand and product ambassadors at point-of-sale and thus more than just a protective casing or a transport unit. They enable manufacturers to communicate with the consumer and to get him interested in the product in a positive way". Only with a packaging that is both attractive and functional, that goes with the product, catches the consumer's eye, and meets the taste and information requirements of the target group does a product concept transform into a 'total package', and has the potential to become a successful seller, say the packaging specialists at SIG Combibloc.

Combining design and information

One example of the successful combination of attractive design and delivery of information to a modern, health-conscious target group is 'Amecke + prebiotic' multifruit fibre juice, from premium manufacturer Amecke. The juice, offered in the aseptic carton pack combiblocPremium, is made from 100% fruit (apple, pineapple, apricot, plum, carrot) and contains the prebiotic fibre inulin. On the carton pack, the manufacturer gives clear, user-friendly information on the benefits of prebiotic fibres in general and on what inulin is in particular.

Prebiotic fibres are nutrients for the intestinal microflora. They cannot be digested in the small intestine, and in the large intestine they stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial, probiotic bacteria strains. Probiotic micro-organisms of this type include, for instance, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Prebiotic fibres are thus a sort of naturally occurring special food to maintain healthy bacteria in the large intestine, stimulate the digestion and keep it regular and naturally balanced. In the Amecke multifruit juice, inulin functions as a prebiotic fibre. Inulin is completely vegetarian, and is obtained mainly from the roots of the chicory plant. But inulin is also found in other plants, particularly artichokes, leeks, soy beans, onions and garlic.

Focussing on target groups

Nestlé México offers a dairy product containing prebiotic fibres: With Svelty Total Digest® in the modern-look carton pack combiblocMidi, the company is targeting first and foremost health-conscious young women who make eating healthily a priority but do not want to go without treats. With a flowery, fresh and vibrant design, the carton pack is a real eye-catcher. The stylised silhouette of a slender body in motion evokes the association of vitality and physical well-being. The prebiotic fibres in Svelty Total Digest® are called 'ActiFibras®' (active fibres), and they help to regulate and relax the digestive system. Karla Sandoval, Product Manager at Nestlé México: "Apart from their beneficial effect on the intestinal microflora, the prebiotic fibres have the benefit of making the dairy product especially creamy, providing an extraordinary drinking experience".

Prebiotic ingredients are also being successfully integrated into innovative product concepts in China, one of the world's most thriving dairy markets. The country's two leading dairy groups, Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, have launched yoghurt drinks in a range of flavours. Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy presents four prebiotic drinks in Carrot, Cucumber, Tomato and Purple Potato flavours, under the brand name 'Guoshu Suan Suan Ru'. The prebiotic drinks are greattasting and offer natural, healthy added value, bringing together the best of vegetables, milk and fruit. Under the brand name 'You Suan Ru', Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group is selling three yoghurt drinks with fruity flavour in Apple, Strawberry and Blueberry flavours.

Patrizia Wegner from SIG Combibloc sees considerable movement in the range of communication channels that food manufacturers are using to keep consumers informed and thereby maximise their sales success: "In the future, social media and QR codes are set to play an even bigger role in this regard. Our carton packs, with the design scope they offer, are ideally suited for reaching consumers and directing them to the appropriate media".
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