The probiotics category continues to evolve as consumer interest in probiotics drives demand. As a result, researchers are discovering new health benefits of probiotic strains, while manufacturers improve technologies and techniques to drive solutions. Though the category has come a long way, its current achievements in health are only the tip of the iceberg.
Strategic strains. Not all probiotic strains provide the same benefits to health. And even if different strains provide similar benefits, a strain’s benefits are only as strong as the research supporting it. Understanding the need to appropriately distinguish the benefits of specific probiotic strains will only grow in importance as specific strains are studied across new and emerging areas of health, such as immunobiotics and psychobiotics. Strategically selecting strains is also an opportunity to target specific markets with unique benefits applicable to specific strains, such as skin health and mood support.
Trending: Stronger together (synbiotics). The combination of pre- and probiotics, called synbiotics, is gaining immense traction in the marketplace, as evidenced by data from SPINS showing supplements in the “prebiotics and probiotics” subcategory targeting immune, cardiovascular, or cold and flu achieved triple-digit growth rates. Increased interest in synbiotics is one trend impacting the probiotics category; other trends include products positions for general well-being, mood, prenatal, children and prostate support, along with other gender-specific formulations.
A big iceberg. From formulation to delivery to research—and beyond—the current success of the probiotics market is only the beginning. The potential for probiotics is as big as an iceberg, and the advancements of the category—though great—are only the tip of the iceberg. Whether exploring new delivery forms such as softgels or expanding the science of probiotic strains to understand their benefits to the brain, investments in science and product development are key to reaching uncharted, frozen waters.
In the coming year, interest in probiotics positioned to support specific health needs, such as mood, immune and skin health, will continue to rise, while, as indicated by SPINS data, products with digestive health positioning will struggle to stand out in the crowd. Also expected is innovation in delivery methods. Beyond capsules, convenient and unique delivery methods such as beverages, shots and even a honey shot, as seen with Wedderspoon’s Manuka Honey Plus Vitality Shot with 1 billion CFU of Ganeden BC30 and positioned for digestive and immune support, will continue to appear in the probiotics market.