The benefits of eating foods with probiotics, or live microbial ingredients, have been known for a century. However, the demand for probiotic foods has risen precipitously in recent years as more consumers reach for natural, healthful products. Despite the progress, most consumers are unable to differentiate one probiotic strain or product from another. To realise the full potential of this field, probiotic companies must deepen customer education while expanding the promotion of probiotics to the pool of potential users. According to new analysis done by the international strategic marketing consulting group Frost & Sullivan, "U.S. Probiotics Market," the total market, represented mainly by probiotic yoghurt and dietary supplements, reached $1.86bn in yearly manufacturing revenues in 2000, and revenues are projected to reach $3.5bn by 2007. "The introduction of products with new probiotic strains and flavours has spurred growth of yoghurt markets in recent years," says Frost & Sullivan Analyst Carlos Ayala. "Product innovation is a key factor for increasing market share." Foods that have a good taste, are easy to consume, and are healthy are more realistic for the current American lifestyle and have better chances of success in this competitive market. Producers face challenges such as the high cost of manufacturing quality products. The majority of American consumers are unwilling to pay more for products with benefits that they do not fully understand. To appeal to wider audiences, manufacturers must inform their consumers of the benefits of their products as a means to compete with low-priced generic probiotic products that provide fewer benefits.