The present study aimed to determine the prebiotic effect of fruit and vegetable shots containing inulin derived from Jerusalem artichoke (JA). A three-arm parallel, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was carried out with sixty-six healthy human volunteers (thirty-three men and thirty-three women, age range: 18–50 years). Subjects were randomised into three groups (n 22) assigned to consume either the test shots, pear-carrot-sea buckthorn (PCS) or plum-pear-beetroot (PPB), containing JA inulin (5 g/d) or the placebo. Fluorescent in situ hybridisation was used to monitor populations of total bacteria, bacteroides, bifidobacteria, Clostridium perfringens/histolyticum subgroup, Eubacterium rectale/Clostridium coccoides group, Lactobacillus/Enterococcus spp., Atopobium spp., Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and propionibacteria. Bifidobacteria levels were significantly higher on consumption of both the PCS and PPB shots (10·0 (sd 0·24) and 9·8 (sd 0·22) log10 cells/g faeces, respectively) compared with placebo (9·3 (sd 0·42) log10 cells/g faeces) (P < 0·0001). A small though significant increase in Lactobacillus/Enterococcus group was also observed for both the PCS and PPB shots (8·3 (sd 0·49) and 8·3 (sd 0·36) log10 cells/g faeces, respectively) compared with placebo (8·1 (sd 0·37) log10 cells/g faeces) (P = 0·042). Other bacterial groups and faecal SCFA concentrations remained unaffected. No extremities were seen in the adverse events, medication or bowel habits. A slight significant increase in flatulence was reported in the subjects consuming the PCS and PPB shots compared with placebo, but overall flatulence levels remained mild. A very high level of compliance (>90 %) to the product was observed. The present study confirms the prebiotic efficacy of fruit and vegetable shots containing JA inulin.