Fermentation continues to be the most common biotechnological tool to be used in cereal-based beverages, as it is relatively simple and economical. Fermented beverages hold a long tradition and have become known for their sensory and health-promoting attributes. Considering the attractive sensory traits and due to increased consumer awareness of the importance of healthy nutrition, the market for functional, natural, and non-alcoholic beverages is steadily increasing all over the world. This paper outlines the current achievements and technological development employed to enhance the qualitative and nutritional status of non-alcoholic fermented cereal beverages (NFCBs). Following an in-depth review of various scientific publications, current production methods are discussed as having the potential to enhance the functional properties of NFCBs and their safety, as a promising approach to help consumers in their efforts to improve their nutrition and health status. Moreover, key aspects concerning production techniques, fermentation methods, and the nutritional value of NFCBs are highlighted, together with their potential health benefits and current consumption trends. Further research efforts are required in the segment of traditional fermented cereal beverages to identify new potentially probiotic microorganisms and starter cultures, novel ingredients as fermentation substrates, and to finally elucidate the contributions of microorganisms and enzymes in the fermentation process.
Keywords: cereal beverage; fermentation; functional; health benefits; non-alcoholic.