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Inside the Bottle

Beyond probiotics and gut health, microbiome sales soar with increasing consumer awareness – analysis

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In the past year, more people have continued to go with their gut when it comes to microbiome support supplement purchases—with interest extending beyond digestive issues. In fact, consumer research from New Hope Network’s NEXT Data & Insight found that there is growing consumer understanding that maintaining a healthy microbiome is related to supporting their greater desire for vitality: “Knowledge of the health effects related to a person’s microbiome is expanding far beyond traditional gut health and immunity-boosting properties.” Learn more about the macro forces driving this trend HERE.

 

Probiotics

Probiotics supplements showed 18% year-over-year growth in the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2022, according to SPINS.

“Because magazines, blogs, podcasts, and other forms of media routinely inform consumers of the benefits of taking supplemental probiotics, people are now more educated than ever about gut health,” says Michael Modjeski, chief commercial officer for Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd., California-based manufacturer of Kyo-Dophilus Probiotics. “This has driven the demand for the wide array of probiotic supplements and products flooding today’s marketplace.”

 

While online growth of probiotic sales has slowed, it holds steady month-to-month. Capsules remained the preferred format, with 23% year-over-year growth and 73% of sales, according to Amazon sales data from ClearCut Analytics. Data from the online behemoth “is a brand’s crystal ball into what’s next for CPG, powering better decision-making,” says Dan Harari, the research firm’s vice president of business development. “Trends hit Amazon first [by about 2 years].”

Sales of probiotic powders, accounting for 9% of market share, grew by 13% year-over-year while gummies were the third most popular way to consumer probiotics with 11% growth and 9% of market share. The average price for probiotics supplements grew by 1% to reach $25.92.

Beyond gut health

While probiotics and prebiotics may be best known for their role in gut health, manufacturers are incorporating them into formulas for other condition specific supplements to give these products added benefits. Sales for these types of products have soared. Probiotics with a pure digestive health focus experience slight negative (.2%) growth to reach sales of $130 million. However, probiotic cold and flu support sales grew by 108% over the past year to reach $354k in sales. Sales of probiotic mood support products increased by 33% to reach $4.4 million and probiotic cleanse and detox supplements grew by 21% to achieve $5.9 million in sales. Probiotic urinary tract health supplements grew by 6% to hit $101 million in sales.

Continuing to develop targeted probiotic formulas specifically made for “certain age groups, genders and health concerns” is another market trend, according to Modjeski. “Addressing the different needs of consumers with science-backed supplements is critical in this growing market and will be instrumental in pushing the current market from $61.1 billion to a projected $91.1 billion by 2026,” he says.

Science is critical to consumers, according to research. When considering dietary supplements, 59% of consumers globally want to see scientific evidence supporting supplement efficacy, according to FMCG Gurus’ 2020 “Exploring the Impact of Nutritional Supplements” report. Seventy-three percent of dietary supplement users believe clinically demonstrated benefits are important.

 

Sybiotics emerging—everywhere

Synbiotics, a combination probiotics and prebiotics for a holistic approach to microbiome health—is another trend SPINS and ClearCut Analytics identified.” These products are a research-backed comprehensive combination of prebiotics and probiotics that work synergistically to support a healthy gut,” says Modjeski. “For instance, Kyo-Dophilus Pro+ Synbiotic combines a specially selected prebiotic and a community of nine probiotic strains, including The Friendly Trio [the brand’s clinically studied proprietary blend of three bio-compatible human strain probiotics]. The BioEcolians prebiotic in Pro+ contributes to the population of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species by feeding the friendly flora in the gut to help maintain bacterial balance.”

Synbiotics are popping up not just in supplements, but in salty and sweet snacks, like Farmhouse Culture’s Dill Pickle Kraut Krisps and KIND Breakfast Probiotics bar. Which flavor is driving growth in the symbiotic foods category? Honey.

Apple cider vinegar, with natural probiotics from fermentation, is another key trend researchers identified. It’s appearing across formats, including shelf stable beverages and shots.

The more traditional digestive supplement ingredients round up strong sales for the gut health category. Sales of digestive enzymes grew by 22%, stronger growth than probiotics, but on a smaller baseline of sales. Fiber-based supplements grew by 15%, continuing a trajectory of strong, steady growth.