Industry experts discuss the need-to-know info that will help you educate your staff on all the latest in the microbiome market and meet your customers' needs so they get the health-promoting benefits they are after.

Emerging Science and Sought-After Benefits

Samantha Ford, MS, Director of Business Development, AIDP, Inc.:As research continues to discover new connections between gut health and overall health, growing consumer awareness is driving significant growth across the category. Especially in areas of mental health, immunity, and skin health, consumers recognize the link and look for products that call out gut health as a component of the formula. This demand is driving innovation in these and other categories to deliver the health benefit (i.e. mood support) plus pre-/probiotics.

Trisha Sugarek MacDonald, BS, MS, Sr. Director of Research & Development/ National Educator, Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation:The explosion of publications and interest in probiotics has resulted in a body of collaborative research that points toward great promise. Because of this, scientific knowledge and tools have become available to properly evaluate probiotics and their effects on supporting wellbeing, as well as the specific metabolic influence these nonpathogenic microbes have on health. For example,we are learning that probiotics are beneficial for much more than just gut health; we now know they can support immune function, healthy weight management, emotional wellbeing, and clear skin, to name a few. And this has driven the growth of the category. According to the current analysis of Reports and Data, the global probiotics market was USD $47.1 billion in 2018, and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8% from 2019 to 2026.

Nena Dockery, Scientific Affairs Manager, Stratum Nutrition:Interest in the human microbiome has been trending upward for decades as more details are uncovered regarding the significance of the human microbiota on health and disease. Initially, this interest centered around the gut microbiome and its effects on the digestive process and immunity. It now has expanded to include the microbiota that inhabit the oral cavity, skin, and internal organs, such as the lungs. Also, there is no doubt that COVID-19 impacted the research trajectory, expanding the number of studies that focus on how the human microbiome provides protection against chronic diseases that increase the risk of getting COVID and decrease the likelihood of a full recovery from it. Most people have felt increased vulnerability for the last two years, and many of those individuals become the consumers that seek out products that help them be proactive in protecting their health.

Maria Ackerman, President, Biocidin Botanicals:Currently, the connection between the oral microbiome and its relationship to overall systemic health has become a top area of research and product development. Innovations in balancing the ecology in the mouth, like functional toothpastes, oral rinses, and probiotics specific to the oral cavity, are on the rise. And rightly so. The mouth is a long neglected connection to gut, brain, lung and heart health.

Zac Sniderman, Director of Business Development, North America, OptiBiotix Health Plc:The microbiome—particularly in relation to gut health—is a major area of scientific research, which is providing exciting results.With healthcare transitioning from reactive to preventative, personalized nutrition is a key area for many microbiologists.However, as an individual’s microbiome is unique, pinpointing exactly what makes one person more susceptible to changes in their diet versus another is proving challenging. Researchers are now beginning to profile the effect that certain medical conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), IBD, and more, can have on the gut microbiome with machine-learning algorithms. Those with IBS, for example, can have completely different gut microbiota depending on whether they have symptoms of diarrhea or constipation. In addition, new research into antibiotics use also creates a major shift in the gut microbiome, particularly in otherwise healthy individuals, creating a prevalence of resistance genes. This is driving the need for natural alternatives instead of antibiotic treatments, especially for women who are susceptible to recurrent UTI infections. Then, we have innovations beyond the traditional probiotics. WhileLactobacillusandBifidobacteriumspecies are the most common strains used in probiotics today, there is also the rise of next-generation probiotics such asF. prausnitzii, used for its anti-inflammatory properties. There is also research into how we can better profile the gut microbiome in response to dietary fiber. A study in China has proved that an ecological methodology could lead to the "rational design of nutritional strategies" for precision modulation of the gut microbiome. For instance, we now understand that those who consume a high-fiber diet are responding better to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.. When it comes to the microbiome, it’s the science and innovative treatments discovered that are driving sharp growth.

Marshall Fong, Senior Global Marketing Manager - Active Living, NZMP - Ingredients by Fonterra:The introduction of probiotic products targeting health and wellness benefits beyond digestive and immunity is poised to unlock the broader potential many people see for probiotics. These products include those for traditional health and wellness issues, such as immunity, feminine-related, skin-related, weight management, and mood/stress as well as products for increased athletic performance. NZMP fielded a CARAVAN survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,011 US adults 18+ on May 18, 2022. We found that a high percentage of people are either already taking or would consider taking a probiotic product for immunity (94%), feminine-related (90%), skin-related (90%), weight-management (86%), and mood/stress (83%).

Lori Lathrop Stern, Science Liaison, IFF Health:As science develops around the gut microbiome’s impact on various body sites—such as vaginal microbiota—and the impact of specific probiotic strains on microbiota balance and overall health, consumers are beginning to understand that probiotics offer diverse benefits beyond traditional digestive health. In turn, people are looking to probiotics to provide natural solutions to specific health concerns. Women, for example, are looking to combat common vaginal infections and boost prenatal health. Clinical research is sharpening its focus on what keeps vaginal microbiota healthy, the causes of dysbiosis, and how probiotics can help. Within the last 10 years, studies have revealed that the vaginal microbiota can be categorized into several different bacterial community types. A key indicator of a healthy vagina is a high number ofLactobacillus bacterial species—predominantlyL. crispatus, L. jensenii and L. gasseri.Reduction in the proportion of lactobacilli in the vaginal microbiota is associated with increased risk of infection and disease. The strains found in the HOWARU Feminine Health combination product,Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14, are clinically demonstrated to promote healthy vaginal microbiota. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, a group of healthy women consumed two HOWARU Feminine Health capsules once daily for 14 days. At the end of the study, women experienced a rise in vaginalLactobacillus acidophilus andLacticaseibacillus rhamnosus levels, which continued to increase for at least one week when compared to the placebo group.

Michael Lelah, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, NutriScience Innovations:The focus on the microbiome has to do with the metabolic effects of both the endogenous and exogenous (probiotic) bacteria in the microbiome. Prebiotics help improve the state of the microbiome and help the colonization and growth of bacteria that can generate useful metabolites, such as butyrate. There is an emerging understanding of the benefits of butyrate. Both brands and consumers are looking for ways to effectively generate butyrate without the unwanted side effects. With both pre and probiotics, the end goal is to generate butyrate, an important signaling molecule that benefits gut health and the gut-brain axis. New developments within this space have allowed us to bypass the typical fermentation process that generates butyrate but depends on the prebiotic and the state of the microbiome, and produce butyrate directly in the colon, where it is needed. The next generation of prebiotic ingredients is a solution to ensuring that the end goal of this mechanism of action is achieved and benefited from. This is interesting to brands and consumers because more people can benefit from butyrate.

Innovation and Personalization

Brian Kaufman, Director of Business Development, Entera Health:Tech is driving growth. The ability for new clinical data to be accessed immediately by general consumers before a physician tells them they need something. Also, the rise in influencer marketing of products, the rise of e-commerce, and product information coming to the consumer rather than the other way around.

Melissa Kaczmarczyk, Principal Scientist, Global Nutrition and Regulatory, Tate & Lyle: At home testing kits are available that can give you a snapshot of your microbiome, as well as prescribing you a tailored pre- and probiotic. We are also seeing more supplements claiming to be food or support for the microbiome. As consumer understanding of prebiotics continues to grow, more prebiotic supplements and foods/beverages containing prebiotics are coming to market.

Ford:Another area of innovation is the concept of synergistic ingredients for total gut and microbiome support.We see growth with probiotic and prebiotic combinations along with botanical and whole food ingredientsto optimize benefits and minimize uncomfortable side effects associated with certain gut health ingredients.

Dr. Miles Woodruff, CEO and Co-founder, Sophie’s Kitchen: Companies using innovative ingredients like seaweed, known to benefit the microbiome, are likely to succeed. They’re readily available and can more easily fill in supply chain gaps. Companies with extensive flavor and texture libraries will lead the way, adding to the competitive environment that is good for consumers.

Dockery:Much of the current research is centered around uncovering the characteristics of the favorable and unfavorable microorganisms that reside in and on the human body, and how they are linked to disease development and resolution. Recognizing that optimal benefits are strain-specific has led probiotic developers to dig deeper into finding the strains that optimally display the traits they are seeking to promote. This knowledge is also critical for personalizing probiotic supplementation to target an individual’s own vulnerabilities to disease development. Unfortunately, many of the indigenous strains that are most beneficial to human health present stability challenges for commercial development, which has led to significant innovations in technologies to improve shelf stability and gastric survival of these temperamental microorganisms.Innovation in prebiotics is also seeing tremendous growth.Most prebiotics are fiber-based, but research is expanding to include polyphenolic compounds and bacteriophages in this category of substances that when consumed, help provide an environment in the gut that is conducive to the proliferation of desirable strains of microbes and inhibiting to the growth of pathogenic or unfavorable strains. There has also been an increase in the interest in research surrounding the “gut-brain axis” as scientists learn more about how critical a healthy gut is to mental well-being, immune health and even weight management. The desire to promote the proliferation of gut strains that play major roles in the communication between the gut and brain has led to tremendous innovation focused on finding the best prebiotics to encourage growth of these desirable gut strains. However, probably the biggest innovation has been the growth in postbiotic development. Postbiotics are inanimate microbial cells and cell fragments that have been researched for their positive impact on human health. Most postbiotic preparations also contain the fermentation media (supernatant) that contains beneficial metabolites and by-products of microbial fermentation. Most postbiotics have been heat-treated to essentially kill the live organisms, so research on the inanimate form is crucial to determine the extent of benefits. However, the research has been impressive and some postbiotics, such as Stratum Nutrition’s LBiome (Lactobacillus LB), have a long history of safe and efficacious use.Lactobacillus LBhas been utilized in its heat-treated form for over a century and is backed by decades of published research. Postbiotics are not susceptible to losses during manufacture, they are not limited by short shelf-lives that are dependent upon ideal storage conditions, nor are they impacted by the acidic conditions of the stomach after ingestion. They also don’t have the manufacturing drawbacks of spore-forming live bacteria. These characteristics open the door wide open to innovations in delivery formats and expanded formulation options.

Focus on Quality

Tania John, Vice President, NHP & Pharmaceutical Regulatory Sciences, Nutrasource:Brands that offer probiotic ingredients or finished products face a unique challengewith respect to quality as they are dealing with a category that is alive. Live microorganisms are particularly sensitive to temperature, humidity, and light, and as a result, there are many points of exposure during the product lifecycle that could degrade them. Thus, maintaining Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) throughout the supply chain, from processing to packaging to storage and distribution, is vital to ensuring high-quality products that meet end of shelf-life potency claims. Additionally, as customers demand clean and transparent labeling, the ability for companies to formulate probiotics with little to no allergenicity potential and to test for individual strains within multi-ingredient finished products is increasingly important.

Michael Modjeski, Chief Commercial Officer, Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd.:There are a number of innovations in the probiotic space, from probiotic skincare to functional snacks to probiotic wellness shots. The idea of these products may have wide appeal among consumers, however, the microbes they contain often are not clinically studied. Some of these products may be capitalizing on fads, as compared to tried-and-true products that foster gut or skin health. At Wakunaga, we believe that the biggest driver in the probiotic supplement space is and should be a well-formulated product that meets consumer needs and is supported by research showing both the safety and efficacy of the Kyo-Dophilus products we offer. At the core of each Kyo-Dophilus product is our proprietary blend of the biocompatible human strainsLactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum.We call this blend “The Friendly Trio.” This combination of probiotic strains has been clinically shown to support a healthy gut microbiome. We also believe that viability matters. It is not important how high the CFU count is if the product is not still alive when it reaches the gut. Choosing a probiotic supplement that contains strains that are diverse, compatible, and able to survive stomach acid encourages implantation and rapid replication of beneficial microbes in the gut. As an added convenience and for optimal viability, look for shelf-stable probiotics that do not require refrigeration. Temperature changes and exposure to moisture (condensation) can adversely affect the viability of probiotic bacteria. All of the probiotic supplements in Wakunaga’s Kyo-Dophilus line are guaranteed to be alive and viable at the time of consumption. In addition, we also feature some of the longest shelf-life in the market.

Fong:Although in recent years brands placed heavy focus marketing high-CFU and multi-strain products, often incorporating probiotic strains that have little or no human clinical studies to support their use, NZMP is experiencing increased demand for itsBifidoB HN019 and LactoB HN001 probiotic strains—among the most extensively studied strains in humans. This aligns with additional survey results finding that 52% of respondents believe that having branded probiotic strains that have been tested in clinical trials is either extremely or very important, while only 9% of respondents believe it’s not too important or not important at all.

Trending Delivery Formats 

Ford:Creative delivery formats are another growth driver in the microbiome space. Aside from growth in the functional food and beverage space, technology trends are ranging everywhere from fast-melt powders and chocolates to capsule-in-capsule formats for optimum stability.

Sugarek MacDonald:Because the market is ripe, probiotic product innovation has geared up, and companies across the space are developing new and creative ways for consumers to get their daily dose of good bacteria.Probiotics are no longer being developed in the tried-and-true pill delivery format. You can now find convenient and cutting-edge delivery formats like carbonated beverages, chocolate, and even pixy sticks. With innovation such as this, it will be exciting to see what other probiotic concepts are launched in the near future.

The Future of the Microbiome Market

Sugarek MacDonald: With over 70 million people in the U.S. suffering from digestive issues, gut health consistently ranks among consumers’ top health concerns. In fact, it is predicted that the digestive health market will witness an upsurge in demand due to aging populations, growing health concerns, and rising standard of living. In fact, the United States digestive supplements market was valued at USD $2,971.87 million in 2020, and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.96% during the forecast period (2021-2026). According to this report, COVID-19 is responsible for the massive demand for digestive and immune health products, which positively impacted the market. The report also noted that probiotics are the driving force within the booming digestive health supplement category, followed by enzymes. People of all age groups are consuming probiotics. However, the major consumption is observed among millennials. This is due to the growing awareness regarding health and wellness through multi-channel publicity, which has influenced their consumption pattern to a large extent. The most significant development in the probiotic category is the ability to DNA verify each individual strain. For example, all strains and starter cultures found in Bluebonnet’s Probiotic Line have been genetically identified and characterized through a highly sensitive tool used in molecular biology to detect DNA polymorphisms called Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) by the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM). This technology is important because the characterization of the strain diversity of the Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) species has only begun in the last decade. The BCCM began in 1983 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most well-known Biological Resource Centers specializing in bacteria worldwide. It receives excellent international recognition as a repository of important groups of bacteria and for its strong expertise in bacterial characterization—specifically, intestinal microbiota in health and disease (with emphasis on bifidobacteria). Not all strains are created equal. That’s why it is critical to buy products that have been verified by accredited labs so that you are getting the most beneficial ones for your health and wellbeing.

Modjeski:Because magazines, blogs, podcasts, and other forms of media routinely inform consumers of the benefits of taking probiotic supplements, people are now more educated than ever about gut health. This has driven the demand for the wide array of probiotic supplements and products flooding today’s marketplace. One emerging trend that is backed by research is the rise of synbiotics. These products are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that work synergistically to support a healthy gut. Kyo-Dophilus Pro+ Synbiotic combines a specially selected prebiotic and a community of nine probiotic strains, including The Friendly Trio. The BioEcolians prebiotic in Pro+feeds the good bacteria in your gut and helps to maintain and increase the population of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species to help maintain bacterial balance. Another trend? Targeted probiotic formulas specifically made to address certain age groups, genders, and health concerns. Addressing the different needs of consumers with science-backed supplements is critical in this market and will be instrumental in contributing to the 50% probiotic market growth that is projected to take place within the next several years. 

Ford: AIDP is very bullish on the category. We see further growth in whole food and plant-based products for digestive health. Our line of kiwi-based products, Actazin and Livaux, are experiencing strong growth due to their multifaceted mechanism of action, clinical support and sustainability story. In addition, we offer the clinically supported botanical Gutgard, a unique licorice extract for indigestion, which is also getting a lot of attention for leaky gut and its synergistic benefits with probiotics. 

Dockery:The realm of “biotic” products should continue to expand dramatically as we learn more. We are learning not only about the microorganisms themselves, but about the way they interact with each other. Also, we are learning how they are influenced by external factors such as environment, diet, stress, medication, and disease. And we are gaining insight into how individualized our personal microbiomes are. Though it is already common to select products targeting specific health conditions, it should soon be possible to select even more personalized prebiotic and postbiotic strains with specific attributes to strengthen the body’s microbial environment and compensate for shortcomings—whether in the oral cavity, gut or on the skin—so that the favorable microorganisms can easily colonize. This will encourage healthy digestive and immune mechanisms in the immediate surroundings and will provide a beneficial link between the gut and brain to indirectly support the health of diverse mechanisms throughout the body.

Dr. Lelah: The next generation of prebiotics is on the horizon. If we can utilize prebiotics to tilt the balance of the microbiome to support the growth of good bacteria such as lactobacilli, away from the bad bacteria, such as e. Coli and Clostridium, then we can positively influence the microbiota and affect health and wellness. In recent years, the mechanisms of action have begun to be elucidated. The short-chain fatty acids, which are metabolites of the bacteria in the microbiome, are known to play important roles in the health of the gut and the health of the body. In particular, the short-chain fatty acid—butyrate—seems to be the most important one—being a signaling molecule that has receptors in nearly all cells. Then the research pivots towards, Can we develop prebiotic compositions which selectively feed the microbiome, to enhance the production of butyrate in the gut? A lot of research has been going in this direction, and variations and combinations are used to try and accomplish this.

John: Suppliers are continuously innovating and investing in R&D activities. Brands should look out for emerging research in this space with respect to alternative dosage formats, novel combinations, including the use of synergistic ingredients like prebiotics, and new strains altogether—all of which are aimed at personalized nutrition and precision medicine. Although typically known for their digestive- and immune-related properties, probiotics are no longer typecast. There is a shift in narrative from just gut health benefits to the microbiome as a whole. Further to this, more aggressive or niche indications will arise, and expanded subpopulations may be on the horizon, ones that extend beyond human health to (companion) animals.

Kaczmarczyk: In terms of the science, there is emerging research in the space of post-biotics and synbiotics, as well as probiotic and prebiotics in the benefit areas of cognition and immunity. I think these areas of research are going to continue to grow. I believe the relationships between the microbiome and specific areas of health will be strengthened. As the scientific evidence grows, we are likely to see more products developed in these health benefit areas. This area is still supplement heavy. As these terms: microbiome, pre-pro-post-syn-biotic, penetrate the general wellness space, consumers will be seeking food and beverage products with these ingredients and their associated benefits.

Sniderman: We know that scientific research is the key driver in the microbiome industry, but in terms of trends we are seeing a sharp rise in microbiome modulators and the role biotherapeutics will play in healthcare. Microbiologists are investigating the gut microbiota for early evidence of risk biomarkers of the world’s biggest killers. From cancer to cardiovascular disease, biotherapeutics have major potential. For instance, using a special coating on microbial species (which decreases their sensitivity to oxygen) can help them survive the manufacturing process, so that they can be developed at scale. This move towards a preventative and much more accessible healthcare system (instead of the current reactive model) will be a huge benefit to consumers around the world. As consumers get savvier, they also want to benefit from more natural ingredients that are backed by science. Sterols and stanols, for instance, are often added to foods to help lower cholesterol when consumed regularly. Natural probiotic strains like Lactobacillus plantarum LPLDL that have been clinically proven to aid in cholesterol management, while having a positive impact on the microbiome, can also be easily added by manufacturers to cheese and yogurts without additional side effects. Demand for these products is only growing and, at OptiBiotix, we see a bright future for food as medicine. 

Ackerman:I believe we will see a highlight on botanicals and the potential for healing they bring from the natural world. Botanicals offer a graceful but mighty solution for so many of the challenges of our time. In a synergistic combination, these botanical blends are more than the sum of their parts.

Kaufman: Personalized medicine is the future! Also: Connection of the microbiome and gut health to mental health, cognition, athletic performance, and beauty. Gut health affects every body system and will be the number one priority of the future.

Dr. Woodruff: Companies are heeding the science and moving away from blends that use allergens like soy and gluten, two ingredients that have been shown to negatively impact the gut biome. Companies that ascribe to the notion that gut health is the future will lead the way. They know that customers want to see a short ingredient list that does not compromise flavor profiles.

Fong: NZMP is very excited about the introduction of more mood/stress-focused products containing probiotics, that may or may not include other dietary ingredients known for mood/stress benefits, such as ashwagandha. Mood/stress issues were the most commonly reported in the CARAVAN survey, with 37% of respondents reporting they were experiencing them, followed by weight management at 30% and digestive health at 22%, and experts suggest that having more options for consumers in this space is welcome, because existing interventions often don’t work for everybody. More media attention is being paid to the gut-brain axis, and more research is emerging demonstrating benefits of probiotics in mood/stress. NZMP is continuing to invest in this area. A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial on 423 pregnant women (recruited at 14-16 weeks gestation) found that women receiving NZMP’s LactoB HN001™ probiotic strain had significantly lower postnatal depression scores. NZMP, in partnership with Sun Genomics, recently conducted a study on 58 volunteers to assess the effect of NZMP’sLactoB HN001™ probiotic strain on mood in a broader population, as assessed by the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. Over a 60-day period, there was an increase in the mean happiness score – the mean difference was 4.5. P value < 0.001. Effect size 0.196 (moderate effect size). Based on these results, NZMP and Sun Genomics are starting a larger trial on 120 volunteers to validate the initial study.

How Natural Products Retailers Can Succeed in the Microbiome Market

Sugarek MacDonald: Every subcategory of the Digestive Health and Wellness section has a timeline of salability, and probiotics are hot, hot, hot! Every day new research is in the news regarding probiotics for health, and it is not just digestive or immune health any longer. Probiotics are now being touted for gum disease, respiratory health, acne, weight loss, stress, allergies, and so much more. Retailers can support their visibility by renovating the digestive health department by making it attractive, interactive, and informative for consumers. Cross merchandise “digestive healthy” products on an end cap by combining dietary supplements and packaged foods for digestive health. Products such as probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, fiber, and herbs like ginger with signage relating to a gut-friendly diet can also be included. Plus, retailers can incorporate signage on probiotic-infused yogurt and fiber-rich breads along with their digestive benefits. And don’t forget about reaching out to your customers through social media and using these platforms to generate podcasts, highlight new products and create online deals and promotions that excite and motivate your customers to either come to the store or shop online in the comfort of their homes. This will generate sales in the supplement department and the grocery.

Dockery: Don’t get overly bound to a particular “biotic” in formulating effective products. Try to envision the big picture of interplay between prebiotics and probiotics (synbiotics) and the expanded benefits available with postbiotics.Formulate with the whole body in mind. Much of the health of the body hinges on the condition of the tube we call the digestive tract; and the health of the digestive tract is inextricably connected to the microorganisms that reside there. If the digestive tract is healthy and functioning well, there is a good chance that overall health and longevity will be the logical outcome.   

Sniderman:Now more than ever, there is a focus on building trust with the consumer. Health claims must be backed by scientific evidence—and brands that invest in their own scientific studies are now forging ahead compared to others in the industry. This is particularly evident in the gut health market where those evidence-backed claims increase consumer trust and enhance brand loyalty. As market leaders in the microbiome space, we know the science behind the product is now just as compelling to consumers as its sustainability credentials, packaging choice and more. Consumers want to understand quickly if a product is going to work for them based on real evidence from real people—whether that’s through lifestyle dietitians or social media influencers. Placing the science front and center of your product is certainly one way that retailers can succeed in this market. 

Ford: Offer a wide array of digestive products that target the various components of the GI tract and in turn affect unique health conditions. Look for ingredients that are clinically supported beyond their impact on the microbiome, but also have outcomes on health benefits of interest like skin, mood, weight management. For example, our BeautyOligo is a high-purity galactooligosaccharide prebiotic with unique human clinical data on skin health: reduction in wrinkle appearance, improved skin hydration and evening skin tone. Our Actazin green kiwi powder not only supports motility and regularity, but benefits protein digestion and amino acid absorption—a huge benefit in the sports market.

John: Similar to other categories, ensuring that label claims are truthful and not misleading is critical to building trust with consumers and achieving success in this space. Whether that is attained through analytical testing, certification, clinical research, regulatory or quality compliance, or meaningful marketing campaigns, Nutrasource can help—either by supporting transparency initiatives like IPRO (International Probiotic Standards), part of the Nutrastrong certifications by Nutrasource global quality standard, or across multiple fronts via cross-functional clinical trial and regulatory submission services.

Dr. Lelah: Offering customers effective products that are going to benefit the vast majority of the general population will set natural product retailers apart in this market. It is important to take into consideration that not all people will respond to probiotics the same way. Many pre and probiotics are often accompanied by negative side effects such as bloating and gas. Therefore, being able to offer new solutions with less unwanted side effects that help serve a wider population, is something that will make brands and retailers stand out. People want products that minimize unnecessary side effects, they will be more inclined to purchase these new products that deliver better, more consistent results in the future.

Kaufman: Formulate products with premium branded ingredients that have real clinical trial success in the efficacious dose they are studied in. Use clean product labels to showcase everything that’s in the product with no proprietary blends. And bring products directly to the customer (not the other way around) through social media, influencers, lifestyle content marketing, and easily digestible video content.

Modjeski:Make sure your entire staff is educated on the benefits that probiotic supplements can provide. This will be very beneficial when curious customers inquire about them. This can help foster a relationship of trust between your team and consumers. We believe an educated customer is more likely to become a loyal customer. We also feel it helps if you provide written material based on credible science that customers can take home with them. 

More to Know on the Microbiome!

For a deeper dive into this space, view the educational sessions from the #NaturallyInformed event Microbiome: Mastering the Market, which took place virtually in May.

Among the topics that can help you grow your business:

  • Emerging Applications of the Microbiome for Human Health

  • The Functional Foods, the Gut Microbiome and Health

  • The Human Microbiome: The Power of Replacing Lost Species

  • Feeding the Microbiome and Nourishing Digestive Health

  • Regulatory Snapshot: A review of enforcement trends, risks, and best practices for manufacturers and marketers in the microbiome space

  • Creating an Anti-Viral Gut

  • Microbiome Market Trends

  • …and more!