Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when ingested in adequate amounts, confer health benefits. In 2004, Western Heads East brought Fiti to East Africa and trained women how to produce Fiti probiotic yogurt. Fiti is composed of a probiotic culture, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and a starter strain, Streptococcus thermophilus C1062. This initiative has since empowered low-income groups to gain financial independence, particularly women. There are currently ~250 kitchens feeding over 250,000 consumers daily in East Africa.
A challenge with accessing Fiti yoghurt is the fluctuating cost of milk and inconsistent supply of high quality milk. A potential solution is the consumption of Fiti through affordable non-dairy foods. Pilot studies reveal bacterial viability of Fiti probiotics in probiotic mango juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, mango juice, and millet porridge; there remains no sensory data on these products from East African populations.
The research questions sought to examine how individuals in Tanzania and Kenya rated different non-dairy probiotic foods; how these ratings compared to probiotic yoghurt; and how these rating correlated with the willingness of individuals to consume non-dairy probiotic products.