Bars emphasizing digestive health are a burgeoning trend in the category. 

“When we look at sales, we see pre- and probiotics having healthy growth,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president for client insights, IRI. “Digestive claims have done quite well also.”

Digestive issues are far more common than people realize, said Katie Wilson, co-founder of BelliWelli, Los Angeles, but they often aren’t talked about due to embarrassment or perceived stigma around the topic.

“One in five people have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and 70% of Americans have daily gut issues,” Ms. Wilson said. “It’s time to reclaim this and destigmatize this.”

Inspired by this belief and her own digestive struggles, Ms. Wilson launched BelliWelli, a bar made for the millions of Americans with IBS or gut issues. BelliWelli bars are made with probiotics, which aid gut health, and are also low-FODMAP, meaning they’re low in short chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. 

While many consumers may assume they don’t have IBS or digestive issues, Ms. Wilson said their introduction to BelliWelli can often be a big “a-ha” moment. 

“We’ve got people who see our brand and say, ‘You know, now that you say that, my stomach is never really great,’” Ms. Wilson said. “They have this realization that ‘Yes, that’s so me. I don’t feel amazing every time I eat that.’ ” 

Other bars promoting digestive health include Waltham, Mass.-based Truth Bar’s gut health bar made with prebiotics and probiotics, as well as FODY Food’s low-FODMAP bars. Ms. Wilson said this trend will only grow in the coming years.

“Heads are swiveled toward the space; people understand that this is huge,” she said. “We have a new chief operating officer, and each day that he spends more time in the space, he cannot believe how huge it is; he cannot believe how many people are impacted.”

This article is an excerpt from the February 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Snack Bars, click here.