An annual survey from The Dannon Co. found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are familiar with probiotics, up from about half in 2009.
Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. The benefits are due, in large part, to the effects of these bacteria on different intestinal functions.
The survey of 2,000 Americans ages 18 and older also found that 45 percent of Americans consider themselves very or somewhat knowledgeable on probiotics, compared to 36 percent in 2009. In addition, six in 10 Americans said they have made food purchases driven by health concerns.
In spite of the increase in familiarity with probiotics, the survey also uncovered some persisting misconceptions.
Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents (22%) believe that all bacteria can make you sick. In addition, one-third of respondents said they feel uncomfortable eating foods that contain bacteria. And 30 percent of respondents are unaware that different strains of probiotics have different benefits.
As the baking industry and consumers alike grow more familiar with probiotics, suppliers are working to develop probiotic applications for baked goods in anticipation of increased demand. Read about their progress in this article from Baking Management: "Probiotics gain ground in bakery applications."