The company claims the products are shelf stable and require no refrigeration, despite combining real yoghurt and live and active probiotic cultures, which are generally more sensitive to heat, humidity and other harsh conditions. Most foods containing probiotic bacteria are found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets as the bacteria is destroyed by heat and other processing conditions. Consumers are demanding more probiotics, which scientists claim is good for digestive health, as part of increasing awareness of foods with benefits for busy lifestyles. "Demand for taste, nutrition, and convenience is growing," Welch's said today. "Today's consumers want convenience and good-for you benefits for their families without having to compromise on taste." The company claims live and active probiotic bacterial cultures are among the "top five foods that people say they want to add to their diets," along with whole grains, dietary fibre, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Welch's said its Fruit 'n Yogurt Snacks contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium, further ways to attract consumers who are demanding fortified foods. "This is a huge opportunity to further enhance the value of the Welch's Fruit Snack line to consumers," said Welch's chief executive offiver Michael Rosenberg. Probiotics are increasingly receiving more and more scientific backing as to their positive effects on gut health, but current technology has limited their uses and does not allow them to be mixed with moist or non-chilled ingredients, which considerably limits their scope. Concerns about weight and health drove the market for "low and light" products in 2006, according to a Leatherhead Foods report earlier this year, but consumers have started to opt instead for probiotic and wholegrain foods, fuelled by rising obesity rates. The best sectoral growth is predicted for the relatively undeveloped bakery and snacks and prepared foods markets, the report added.