Probiotics are the healthy microorganisms that help to balance gut flora. Despite their popularity, the path leading to launch can be bumpy when it comes to probiotic product formulation.
The majority of the gut health line from Plexus Worldwide features probiotic capsules and prebiotic delivered in a ready-to-mix (RTM) beverage. Michael Hartman, Ph.D., vice president, research and development (R&D) at Plexus, said a significant challenge in probiotic manufacturing is maintaining ingredient stability.
“Monitoring moisture, temperature and exposure to oxygen are the main factors influencing the stability and shelf life of probiotics. We address this through packaging, storage conditions and strain selection—using probiotic strains that can survive the manufacturing process and deliverability to the gut to provide the desired benefit,” he stated.
Creating a shelf-stable probiotic gummy was just one obstacle for Llama Naturals. Traditional gummies typically contain a lot of sweetener to mask the off-taste of nutrients. Llama’s bites are made with real fruit and no added sugars or sweeteners. The real fruit provides the solution to the taste issue.
Brad Baum, Llama Naturals’ co-founder, said, “We always aim to use plant-based ingredients and gain USDA Organic certification. So these requirements can occasionally narrow the list of ingredients we can use. It certainly made the process much more expensive and time consuming, but we now believe we have a unique solution that consumers love.”
The company pushed forward, spending 18 months in R&D before launching in April 2019. Even after launch, the company continued to tweak its formulations and production process.
To read this article in its entirety, check out The gut microbiome – digital magazine.
Brenda Porter-Rockwell has a diverse background writing about nutraceuticals and healthy foods for a variety of trade and consumer publications, both print and online. She lives in North Carolina and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.