The range of foods featuring lactic acid bacteria (LAB) with potential associated health benefits has expanded over the years from traditional dairy products to meat, cereals, vegetables and fruits, chocolate, etc. All these new carriers need to be compared for their efficacy to protect, carry, and deliver LAB, but because of their profusion and the diversity of methods this remains difficult. This review points out the advantages and disadvantages of the main food matrix types, and an additional distinction between dairy and nondairy foods is made. The food matrix impact on LAB viability during food manufacturing, storage, and digestion is also discussed. The authors propose an ideal hypothetical food matrix that includes structural and physicochemical characteristics such as pH, water activity, and buffering capacities, all of which need to be taken into account when performing LAB food matrix design. Guidelines are finally provided to optimize food matrix design in terms of effective LAB delivery.