Thanks to a heavy advertising push by Dannon, maker of Activia and Danactive yogurt products, and innovative new launches by a growing number of other companies, sales of probiotic-infused foods and beverages are expanding at a rapid clip. In fact, probiotic supplements and functional foods designed to improve digestive health are tapping into one of the hottest nutrition trends this year. 2007 sales of probiotic dietary supplements grew over 20% in 2007, according to new research from NBJ to be published in its Annual Nutrition Industry Overview issue.
NextFoods, the company started by WhiteWave founder Steve Demos, is riding this wave with its first consumer offering, GoodBelly. The product—which is juice-based, rather than made from dairy like the vast majority of its competitors, and contains 100% of the recommended daily amount of 11 vitamins—hit store shelves in January. GoodBelly is now sold nationally in Whole Foods Market and is rolling out over the next 90 days into numerous mass-market grocery chains, including Safeway, Wegman’s, Publix and Kroger. “We are on a very predictable growth path into the mainstream national market,” Demos told Nutrition Business Journal in a May interview. NextFoods recently closed more than $10 million in financing, enough to fuel the company over the next 24 months, and is poised to release other new functional food products in the near future, Demos said.