Awareness, availability, and usage of probiotic foods by local food pantry participants
University of Wisconsin--Stout
MetadataShow full item record
Food pantries, nonprofit organizations, have a crucial role in decreasing food insecurity for low-income and unemployed households. The types and brands of foods available at the pantries vary on a daily basis because of the variability of food products at their sources. Thus, the healthfulness of available food can vary significantly, including such staples as yogurt and cheese products. It is known that some brands of yogurt and cheese products contain probiotic bacteria, which are live microorganisms that provide health benefits to the consumer. The purpose of this research is two-fold: first, we have surveyed food pantry participants to assess their knowledge and selection of probiotic-containing foods; and second, we have evaluated and compared the availability and viability of probiotic cultures in the cheese and yogurts available at a local food pantry, in a retail market, and in fresh, homemade food products. The results show; 82.9% of questionnaire participants reported that they heard the word probiotics, but only 44% of those are knowledgeable on probiotics. Importantly, knowledge of probiotics correlates to increased consumption of yogurt but not pickles and cheese. Lactobacillus viability did not vary significantly between expensive and cheap yogurt brands but was absent in processed yogurt and cheese.