As concern about health increases, probiotics present a new concept in the health arena.
A new study surveyed attitudes and consumption patterns of consumers in a Brazilian city regarding products containing probiotics. While consumption was low, attitudes were positive.
A questionnaire of 14 items was given to 352 individuals. Most were students or faculty with a mean age of 22 years with slightly more women than men.
All stated they had consumed products containing probiotics at least once. Only 53% said they currently do.
The most popular? It was yogurt and fermented milk which was no surprise.
- 28% ate yogurt at least once a week
- 19% said they drank fermented milk at least once a week
Attitudes and knowledge:
- A significant portion of respondents are unaware of the cited benefits of probiotics for human health.
- A large portion were unaware of appropriate dosing
It is important to note here the labeling regulations in Brazil. According to the authors, “ in order for a probiotic product to present a health claim on its label, it has been established that the minimum amount of viable culture should be between 108 and 109CFU (Colony Forming Units) per portion of the product.”
Also, “according to Brazilian law, products that have probiotic cultures in their composition must declare the probiotic microorganism species and the amount of probiotic colony forming units contained in the daily portion the product should also be declared on the label outside the nutritional information table. Brazilian legislation, unlike that of other countries, prohibits reference to the claims of disease prevention and treatment on food labels since many factors are involved in these processes. Only claims that the food promotes health are allowed. This may be a factor that hinders providing information regarding scientifically proven benefits to the final consumer, explaining the advantages of consuming such products and also for marketing strategies which seek to promote functional foods such as probiotics.”
It appears that education will be key to inform consumers of the many benefits of probiotics which will then increase proper consumption.