Put down the Gatorade, athletes — the best performance-enhancing substance is fermented food and drinks. An article in sports magazine STACK says athletes are overlooking fermented products for workout nutrition. Fermented products — like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and kefir — heal the body with beneficial bacteria and combat gut imbalances. “The better our digestion, the better we utilize the food we are putting into our body, leading to even better improvements in our strength and health,” the article states. Though there is little research in the field, the article points to one study which found probiotics helped female college athletes improve body composition and deadlift performance.

 

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To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Danone is releasing its collection of 1,800 yogurt strains to the public. In a press release, Danone said the announcement coincides with Danone’s “commitment to promoting open science, a movement toward openness in scientific research, sharing and development of knowledge through collaborative networks.” Danone would like others to use the strains for research purposes. The French company is also granting access to its current collection of 193 lactic and bifidobacteria ferment strains deposited at the National Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms, held in the Biological Resource Center of Institut Pasteur in Paris. The first Danone yogurt was made by Isaac Carasso in 1919 in Barcelona. Barcelona’s own children suffered from poor gut health, and he was inspired by research from the Institute Pasteur that detailed the role of ferments in gut and overall health. Barcelona began selling his first yogurts, which were fermented with lactic ferments, in Barcelona’s pharmacies.

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Seniors are driving the kefir market, a surprising industry stat since marketing of the fermented dairy drink is targeted at millennials. But new research from the Grocer found 40 percent of kefir sales in the UK were consumed by adults over the age of 65. People aged 16 to 44 accounted for 27.9 percent of kefir consumption. Analysts speculate its because kefir is likely to be consumed for particular health needs, which range from bone-strengthening nutrients to digestive aids, all factors people focus on as they age. “Add that the fermentation process makes it much easier to digest – because humans lose some of the ability to digest cows milk beyond age three – and even in the absence of multimillion-pound marketing budgets, the word of mouth marketing has spread like wildfire,” Bio-tiful Dairy founder Natasha Bowes.

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Researchers have developed a way to identify the “flavor-giving protein fragments” in fermented dairy products. The exact taste of fermented foods has been somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Of the thousands of different protein fragments in fermented milk products, it was always unknown which protein was responsible for flavor. But new research from TUM (Technical University of Munich) whittled down those approximately 1,600 protein fragments responsible for the bitter fermented flavor to just 17. This research is important to foodpreneurs wanting to optimize flavors in their fermented products 

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Fermented milk from yogurt to kefir to buttermilk is spiking in popularity. It’s estimated to grow 3.7% CAGR from 2017 to 2023, thanks to its long shelf-life, easy digestion and antioxidants.

The Fermentation Association (TFA), getting more people to enjoy fermented products. Join us at The Fermentation Association.

Where do fermentation and mixology meet? Fermentation guru Alex Lewin and author of “Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond” is sharing his techniques at Culture Club 101 in Pasadena on Oct. 7. Alex will share the history of fermented drinks, their health benefits and demo fermented drink creations. Join us Oct. 7 act Culture Club 101 in Pasadena.

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Microbiologists in Canada developed a formula that makes commercial kefir healthier. Traditional, old-world kefir is packed with health benefits, decreasing weight gain by 40% and cholesterol levels by 50%. Commercial kefir, though, does not contain bacteria-loving yeast used in traditional kefir. That variation in the fermentation process means commercial kefir is not as healthy. The Canadian microbiologist’s formula can be added to milk in commercial vats and is currently in the patent process.

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Though more consumers want probiotics only 2 percent of new food and drinks launched in the last 12 months were marketed as containing probiotics. A study found its because of regulatory issues. Companies (especially in the dairy category) are uncertain whether or not they can legally label a product as containing probiotics. Labeling the food as fermented instead could aid a product’s natural and healthy image, the study concludes, since more consumers are viewing fermentation as an authentic natural food and beverage choice.

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As fermented foods become mainstream, more products are launching and “each new brand is having to work even harder to capture consumers’ attention,” says the managing director of Carter Wong design studio. Kefir drink brand Nomadic (formerly Bio Green Dairy) is launching a new line of drinks. Their unique packaging labels were designed by the studio as part of Nomadic’s acquisition and rebrand. The aim of the packaging was to stand out on a supermarket shelf and include typography with an “authentic eastern European feel.”

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The CEO of kefir-based Lifeway Kefir has published a cookbook, “The Kefir Cookbook.” In it, Julie Smolyansky shares how her father began fermenting kefir in their Chicago basement. The international recipes all incorporate kefir, and include lasagna, gyros, classics from Julie’s Russian roots and recipes from some of Chicago’s favorite chefs.

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