Microorganisms that are beneficial for gut health are catching on, and consumers are catching up in understanding how biotic ingredients can improve their health and well-being. The body’s center of healthful activity is the gut microbiome — the community of microorganisms that live in the intestines and play a role in digestion, immunity, and even mental health. But it’s a fickle place: there are many factors that can affect the gut microbiome, including diet, antibiotics and hygiene, but supplements and fortified food and beverages can create a more positive environment for the good bacteria doing good things for overall health.

March 14, 2024

4 Min Read
 NPI-DM-Biotics: pre, pro, syn, post– digital magazine

There’s been a surge in interest and innovation in biotics, as the supplement ingredient industry moves beyond single-strain probiotics to explore combinations with other ingredients like prebiotics, vitamins, minerals, and botanical extracts. These combinations target a wider range of health benefits, and can be offered in various formats like capsules, gummies, snack bars and beverages to cater to different consumer preferences.

Research on the gut microbiome and its connection to gut health, digestion, mental well-being, and even weight management is fueling the biotics trend, while at the same time consumers are increasingly placing value on eco-friendly practices and ethically sourced ingredients in biotics products. There’s also a growing focus on biotics designed for women’s health concerns, including vaginal and urinary tract health, as well as skin health via the gut-skin connection.

The inclusion of biotics and their unique health benefits can help brands gain an edge within their category and capture a wider audience of consumers looking for ways to enhance their health more holistically. Many of those potential strategies can be discovered by downloading this free digital magazine. The articles include:

Viewpoint: The Biotic Woman

Consumers are increasingly interested in gut health, with probiotics leading the way, explains Content Director Todd Runestad, but many potential supplement-takers lack understanding and a go-to solution. He shines a light on the trailblazing and research-backed product Dannon Activia and hopes that the yogurt titan might use its marketing muscle to educate consumers on some of the common digestive health problems everybody faces.

Gut’s up?

The gut microbiome holds immense potential for understanding and improving human health. A team of academics from Sonoran University, including professor James B. Adams, provides a glimpse into the ever-evolving field of research. The primer contains topics such as the microbiome at birth and through infancy, factors affecting gut microbiota, disease, microbiota transplants, and the various categories of ingredients making their mark.

Get onto the biotic superhighway

The future of biotics is speeding into the present, with innovation and consumer needs paving the way for exciting developments in a fast-growing market, writes Lisa Schofield. Experts from leading companies like ADM, Gnosis by LeSaffre, Lallemand Health Solutions and Comet Bio describe how biotics work well alongside highly sought-after ingredients, such as botanical extracts, vitamins and minerals, as well as plant proteins — targeting different attributes for well-rounded and tailored support.

The lunchbox

Hank Schultz describes how prebiotics are stealing the show in the digestive health category, offering benefits and formulation flexibility that aren’t a part of the equation for other biotic ingredients. He reveals how prebiotics have been clinically demonstrated to foster the growth of broad swaths of the human gut microbiota, such as various species of Bifidobacteria. But narrowing that down to specific strains linked to specific prebiotic fibers and backing that with firm data has proven an elusive target.

Wanted: Dead or alive

The “dead but helpful” nature of shelf-stable postbiotics allows for greater flexibility in product formats, shares Justin Green from Cargill’s EpiCor brand in this Q&A, and the unique ingredient type can also support various health aspects beyond gut health. Green relates how the gut is truly the center of our health, touching the immune system, cognition, joint health and other wellness systems critical to well-being.

Verb / verb / n. An action, state or occurrence.

On a recent tour of Verb Biotics, Todd Runestad discovered the company’s innovators are using AI and high-throughput screening to unlock the potential of millions of microbes, creating cutting-edge targeted biotics. The company is at the vanguard of a rapidly evolving biotics category — the entire concept of bacterial and microbial composition may well become its own health care category before long.

Examples of biotics takeaways for your business include:

  • Probiotics dominate the microbiome category but are showing modest growth between 2017 and 2025e, per Nutrition Business Journal, projected to go from approximately $1.5 billion to $1.67 billion. Prebiotics, however, are zooming from $38 million to an approximate $210 million in the same time span.

  • The combination of antibiotics, increased hygiene and poor diets with low fiber have contributed to a decrease in the diversity of gut bacteria and a decline in gut health.

  • As younger generations seek proactive and preventive wellness support, the market will continue to see a move from traditional pills, tablets or capsules to more chewable or drinkable offerings.

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