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Articles from 2012 In February


Skin-protecting algae?

Skin-protecting algae?

Blue-green algae may become sunscreen’s latest “it” ingredient, according to research from Harvard Medical School. In addition to impressive antioxidant and nutrient values (chlorophyll,  B vitamins, beta-carotene, and fatty acids), this algae also shows UV-fighting potential.

Here’s the theory: Blue-green algae is photosynthetic, meaning it gets energy from sunlight. But because not all of the sun’s rays benefit blue-green algae, it filters out harmful rays, producing small molecules that shield it from solar radiation, much like UV-protective ingredients used in sunscreen today. Before algae-based sunscreens hit the stores, you’ll find it in moisturizers combined with other anti-UV ingredients.

Try:

  • Alba Botanica Sea Moss Moisturizer with SPF 15
  • Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae with Grape Seed Extract Moisturizer      

Sleep soundly with a Mediterranean diet

Getty Images mediterranean diet

If you suffer from sleep apnea—a condition when breathing arrests for short periods during sleep—you also may experience daytime drowsiness. But new research published in European Respiratory Journal suggests your diet could offer relief. In a recent study, 40 obese individuals afflicted with severe sleep apnea increased physical activity and ate a Mediterranean diet (rich in fish, olive oil, fresh vegetables, and whole grains) or simply “ate prudently” for six months. Those who focused on exercise with the Mediterranean diet lost significantly more weight, reducing symptoms of sleep apnea. Another perk? The Med diet is delicious!             

Delicious Living's 2012 Supplement Awards winners

Delicious Living's 2012 Supplement Awards winners

B&D Nutritional Ingredients announces new distribution agreement with Javaplant

B&D Nutritional Ingredients announces new distribution agreement with Javaplant

The agreement grants B&D Nutritional Ingredients exclusive sales, marketing and distribution rights for Javaplant’s botanical extractions in North America.

“We’ve been searching for a botanical extraction company to meet the needs of our clients,” said Bill Van Dyke, CEO and Chairman of B&D Nutritional Ingredients. “We’re confident that we’ve selected the premier supplier of plant extracts. The breath and quality of Javaplant’s product offerings are the best we’ve seen, and with Javaplant’s ability to provide custom products for unique customer opportunities, we know this is the ideal fit.”

 

“We selected German technology and pharmaceutical processes to offer unsurpassed quality and efficiencies while harvesting Indonesia’s incredible resources for the world. Our partnership with B&D allows us the exposure and opportunities we need,” said Junius Rahardjo, COO of Javaplant. “Leveraging B&D’s substantial network and industry expertise is an important part of our strategy to penetrate the U.S. market and demonstrate the amazing botanicals from our country.”

 

About B&D Nutritional Ingredients, Inc.

Founded in 1993 and based in Vista, California, B&D Nutritional Ingredients, Inc. (www.bdnutritional.com), is a national leader in sales and marketing of premier raw materials essential to the dietary supplement, functional food and personal care industries. B&D has a portfolio of products from leading manufacturers. These products are primarily natural antioxidants. B&D is active in several industry organizations representing the dietary supplement and personal care industries. Memberships include The Council for Responsible Nutrition, NIA West and The Drug, Chemical and Allied Trades Association, Inc.

About Javaplant

Javaplant has used its state-of-the-art German equipment to supply extracts since 2002. With two facilities, Javaplant has the monthly capacity to produce 15,000kg of powder extracts and 100,000kg of instant tea and coffee. Since establishing its first facility in the Tawangmangu area near the scenic and cultural town of Solo in Central Java in 2001, the company has doubled its production capacity. The plant runs three shifts a day – employing 42 employees including eight laboratory staffers. Javaplant is Indonesian GMP certified, kosher certified and halal certified. Javaplant’s laboratory is fully equipped to perform quality-control techniques, and its analytical tools range from pH meters, refractometers, moisture balance, TLC scanners, AAS, HPLC scanners, GCs, GC-MS, LC-MS, UV, VIS and FTIR.
Javaplant can be reached at www.javaplant.net.

 

10 ways to attract millennials to your natural product

10 ways to attract millennials to your natural product

Natural consumers continue to morph. While natural product manufacturers have traditionally targeted Baby Boomers, new natural consumer market segments are emerging. Of particular interest are the millennials, the generation of more than 50 million people who span the ages of 18 to 32.

For natural product manufacturers, millennials represent a less-saturated market. These consumers expect to receive information and make decisions in their own unique way. The ability to understand the priorities, worldview and decision-making processes of millennials can provide savvy industry marketers with one of the most genuine competitive advantages available.

Here are 10 ways to reach them, and 4 product categories they're naturally attracted to.

Marketing to millennials

  1. Natural isn’t enough.
    For millennials, the term “natural” has a stronger pull if it intersects with other attributes, such as local, fresh, sustainable, safe, green, and additive-free. In a study conducted by the Harman Group, “Beyond Organic and Natural 2010,” millennials mentally group many of these attributes into a mega-attribute most closely captured by the term “authentic.” For millennials, an authentic brand:

    • Sources locally
    • Values freshness
    • Makes sure food is safe to eat
    • Incorporates green sustainability practices and technologies
    • Helps enable and facilitate their preferred active lifestyle
  2. Niche brand loyalty.
    A lot has been said about how millennials are “brand-averse.” While it’s true that millennials often reject colossal brands, this generation has proven itself loyal to niche brands. This trend operates in tandem with millennials’ desire for authentic products. Niche brands convey the promise of hand-made, artisanal quality, made from locally sourced ingredients and with sustainable manufacturing practices. Natural product brands like finished product brand MegaFood, whose whole food multi-vitamins are hand-crafted and sourced primarily from produce grown on local farms, are primed to capture the attention of millennials moving forward.

  3. Make it traceable.
    One of the most noticeable changes in how high-tech, socially connected millennials interact with brands is their desire to trace products back to their source. Cyvex Nutrition, for example, promotes the traceability of its OmegaActiv ingredient. Because Cyvex’ parent company OmegaProtein, owns the fishing vessels, as well as the manufacturing and packaging plants, buyers can track a product through its lot number and receive information on third party safety and quality testing. This gives manufacturers that include OmegaActiv in their products something extra to interest millennial consumers. More and more consumer food brands are beginning to utilize consumer marks, like HarvestMark, to deliver easy trace back to buyers and to help consumers learn more about the products they buy.

  4. Drugs are OK.
    Unlike Baby Boomers, millennials do not generally shy away from OTC or prescription drugs, and they have no problem mixing natural with pharma. This generation grew up with recreational Viagra, crammed for tests aided by Vyvance and Adderall, and fueled themselves on energy drinks. Natural product manufacturers might want to consider packaging that leans towards the pharmaceutical rather than the natural end of the spectrum. Capsules with a pharmaceutical seal, visible through a reveal, are more of an enticement for millennials than they would be for Boomers.

  5. Tell them a story.
    Millennials are socially minded story tellers. The definitive report on millennials by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit public opinion research group, emphasizes that this generation lives in a socially interconnected world. The paper entitled “The Millennials: Confident, Connected, Open to change,” reports that 75 percent of millennials have embraced social networking and desire ongoing dialogues through social media channels. Use this tendency. Spread your message through social media channels by telling your brand story through a video, 3-D animation, mobile app or cartoon. And make certain you make it easy to share articles, posts and visuals with Facebook and Twitter “Share” buttons.

  6. Go grass roots.
    Because millennials are so well-connected, grass roots movements, like the recent Occupy Wall Street, can spread rapidly and effectively. To get millennials interested, however, your brand needs to feel “genuine.” A good example of a brand that touts its grassroots, anti-corporate genuine attitude is Patagonia. For more influence with millennials, borrow any one of these strategies from Patagonia’s playbook:

    • Fund innovative groups who are overlooked or rejected by corporate donors.
    • Work with groups pushing for new environmental and safety standards, like Bluesign, a technology standard that reduces resource consumption and harm from dyes and finishes.
    • Rigorously police waste.
    • Join or co-found an alliance, like The Conservation Alliance, a group that encourages companies to give money to environmental organizations and to become more involved in environmental work.
  7. Try out a Limited Edition.
    As millennials steer clear of big brand bland, they turn instead towards smaller brands and products with limited edition life cycles. While this is great news for small start-up brands, companies small and large can include marketing strategies whose goals are cyclical in nature. For example, marketers of functional beverages might do well to follow Mountain Dew’s lead: give millennials limited-edition flavors, let them vote on their favorites, then deliver on the chosen one. Functional foods marketers could follow Doritos’ example and offer limited edition mystery flavors like Doritos’ Thai chili and Kaffir lime. Jones Soda is a brand that has built a franchise appealing to the “limited edition” mentality of millennials, featuring flavors like Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.

  8. Skin your brand.
    Millennials don’t like to be interrupted by ads when having a conversation with their pals. So how do marketers send a branded message without intruding? One way is to skin the brand. A great example of skinning is the online music site Pandora.com. Pandora allows listeners to continue listening to their music relatively uninterrupted while displaying the “skin” of the brand as the background of the page. Whenever a user interacts with the site (to click a thumbs-up or thumbs-down or change the station), the background changes and a new brand skin is displayed. When marketing to millennials, find ways to represent your brand that don’t interfere with the consumer’s primary sensory experience.

  9. Make them feel good.
    Lastly, keep the emotions of millennials in mind. In their book, How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generation Y, Van den Bergh and Behrer claim that “happiness seems to be the emotion that has the largest impact on brand leverage” for millennials. Whether or not this influenced Coke’s “Open Happiness” campaign can be debated, but millennials’ desire to feel good and connect with brands emotionally are two of the generation’s defining characteristics. Regardless of whether your product is for joint health, brain health or some other condition, find a way for your brand experience to evoke positive emotions.

  10. Connect uniquely.
    Millennials have a different set of priorities, connect and communicate in different ways, use different decision processes and make different choices than Baby Boomers. As a result, a campaign or brand targeting millennials needs to revamp every aspect of its marketing strategy to speak to and attract millennials. Just running a Boomer ad in millennials’ publications or launching a Boomer-directed brand on Facebook and Twitter will most likely not yield positive results. When targeting millennials, give them their own packaging, their own campaigns (preferably grass-roots), their own contests and their own causes, and they’ll show you just how brand loyal they can be.

Jeff Hilton is co-founder of Integrated Marketing Group and has helped take the industry from buying a full-page ad here or there to the complex, integrated marketing strategies of today.  Since the 1980s he has helped launch and revitalize brands promoting health and wellness.

Best cold & flu supplements

Best cold & flu supplements

American Health Ester-C 1,000 mg with Citrus Bioflavonoids. Vitamin C can reduce cold symptoms, but you need to take a lot: 2,000–6,000 grams daily in divided doses. This nonacidic form may be better tolerated and absorbed. It’s also available in new 1000-mg effervescent packets.

Honorable Mention

Boiron Oscillococcinum. Taken at the first sign of illness, this homeopathic remedy may help with flu symptoms

Quantum Health Zinc Elderberry Lozenges. Keep these on hand: Zinc and elderberry may help ease and shorten cold and flu symptoms.

See the full list of winners
View the gallery of products

Kashi introduces four all-natural steam meals

Kashi introduces four all-natural steam meals

Kashi, the premier natural food and lifestyle company, today announced the launch of new, all natural Kashi® Steam Meals—adding to its extensive family of frozen entrees.  Available in four great-tasting flavors, including Chicken Fettuccine, Sesame Chicken, Roasted Garlic Chicken Farfalle and Spinach & Artichoke Pasta, the delicious, single-serve Steam Meals offer distinct tastes, unique ingredients and Kashi's signature Kashi Seven Whole Grain blend, providing at least 35g of whole grains per serving*.

"We recognize that people don't always have the time to create a meal from scratch, and they struggle to balance busy schedules with making healthful food choices," says Jeff Johnson, senior nutritionist and natural food and lifestyle expert at Kashi.  "Our Steam Meals offer a nutritious and convenient solution that delivers what people love most about a homemade meal—real, quality ingredients with incredible taste—making them a meal you'll want to eat, not have to eat." 

Kashi Steam Meals are available in 9.5 oz. single-serve bags and use microwave steam to heat the food in just minutes while preserving the quality of the ingredients, which allows the natural taste of each to shine through.  The four flavors include:

  • Kashi Chicken Fettuccine Steam Meal: Adding a nutritious spin to a classic favorite, this savory meal combines Kashi Seven Whole Grain fettuccine pasta and all natural white chicken with a variety of ingredients, such as broccoli florets, mushrooms, tomatoes and yellow zucchini.  Topped with a light white wine parmesan cream sauce and a hint of zesty lemon, the dish provides 5g of fiber, 17g of protein and 43g of whole grains per serving.
  • Kashi Sesame Chicken Steam Meal: Crisp edamame, carrots, roasted green beans and red peppers are paired with all natural chicken and Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf and tossed in a spicy citrus sauce to create an exciting taste combination.  The meal offers 8g of fiber**, 17g of protein and 35g of whole grains per serving.
  • Kashi Roasted Garlic Chicken Farfalle Steam Meal: Boasting exceptional flavor reminiscent of a fine dining experience, this meal blends Kashi Seven Whole Grain farfalle—a new pasta from Kashi—with all natural chicken, crisp asparagus and spinach in a flavorful roasted garlic, tomato, red wine and basil sauce.  It contains 4g of fiber***, 15g of protein and 37g of whole grains per serving.
  • Kashi Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Steam Meal: As a delicious vegetarian option, this dish combines Kashi Seven Whole Grain penne pasta with a vibrant vegetable medley of artichokes, spinach, roasted red peppers and cannellini beans in a parmesan cream sauce with a hint of lemon.  The meal has 8g of fiber****, 13g of protein and 41g of whole grains per serving.

Kashi Steam Meals are now available in the frozen aisle of grocers and natural food retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.99.  For more information, visit www.kashi.com.

* The Whole Grain Council recommends 48g of whole grains per day
** Kashi Sesame Chicken Steam Meal contains 9g of fat per serving
*** Kashi Roasted Garlic Chicken Farfalle Steam Meal contains 9g of fat per serving
**** Kashi Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Steam Meal contains 9g of fat per serving

About Kashi Company

Founded in 1984, Kashi dreams of a world where everyone embraces natural health. As a natural lifestyle pioneer, Kashi is passionate about and committed to improving the health of people and our planet.  By providing great tasting, nutritious and innovative foods, Kashi enables people to achieve optimal health and wellness, while also leading them on a path toward embracing a natural lifestyle.  Kashi encourages people to live their best lives through its interactive online community at Kashi.com and the Kashi REAL Tour, a lifestyle immersion program and national grassroots tour that educates people about the importance of natural foods and healthy living.  The company also champions non-profit organizations working to keep real food in the minds and hands of communities across the country through the Kashi REAL Project.  To learn more about 25 years of Kashi's mission, sustainable efforts, values and roots, get inspired by the Yearbook on Kashi.com.

Kashi's products are natural, minimally processed and free of highly refined sugars, artificial additives and preservatives. Kashi® brands and foods include: GOLEAN® cereals and bars; Kashi® Heart to Heart® cereal, instant oatmeal and whole grain crackers; Kashi® 7 Whole Grain Puffs, Honey Puffs, Nuggets and Flakes cereals; Kashi® Good Friends® cereals; Kashi® Autumn Wheat ®, Cinnamon Harvest®, Island Vanilla® and Strawberry Fields® (organic) cereals; Kashi® Honey Sunshine ®, Berry Blossoms® and Golden Goodness ™ cereals; Kashi U™ cereal; Cocoa Beach™, Mountain Medley® and Summer Berry ™ granola; Kashi® Pita Crisps; Kashi® chewy and crunchy granola bars, layered granola bars, soft-baked cereal bars; Kashi® snack crackers and cookies; Kashi® all natural frozen waffles, entrees and pizzas; and Kashi® 7 Whole Grain Pilaf. 

Join the Kashi community online at www.kashi.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kashi and visit us on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/user/KashiCompany.

Urban Moonshine launches new certified organic Energy Tonic

Urban Moonshine launches new certified organic Energy Tonic

The new Energy Tonic combines some of the most widely used adaptogenic herbs known to protect the body from the depleting effects of stress. It’s a healthier, organic alternative to much of today’s energy enhancing products that increase energy via caffeine and other stimulating ingredients for instant gratification. Those stimulants borrow energy from the body rather than build it.  Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic does both.  It can be used for an on the spot energy boost while also providing long term results.  

 

“My husband is a professional rock climber, so I’ve had ample opportunity to explore with him herbs that build endurance and resilience, instead of just fast burning energy,” says Jovial King, herbalist and founder of Urban Moonshine.  “Our new Energy Tonic showcases incredible nourishing herbs such as organic Rhodiola, American Ginseng and Schisandra that have enabled him to perform at his best and feel energized long term,” adds King.

 

Urban Moonshine’s Energy Tonic is great for over-stressed, over-worked and depleted folks and athletes seeking to support their adrenal system, encourage their body’s endurance capacity and extend their fatigue threshold.  This organic formula can help boost energy, support athletic performance and stamina, improve cognitive function and help the body maintain balance under stress.

 

Urban Moonshine’s goal is to reawaken interest in both herbal medicine and the idea of preventive medicine to refocus attention on building energy and wellness long term not just looking for a quick fix.  “Times are changing as people are starting to demand more than a healthcare system that just treats the symptom and we are excited to be part of that change,” adds King.

 

Tonics strengthen health over time, and Urban Moonshine encourages people to make a commitment to embrace them as part of a daily routine to build lasting energy, health and wellness.  Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic is offered in 3 sizes: a 2 oz bottle that is ideal for the household apothecary, a ½ oz pocket spray bottle that provides an herbal boost on the go, and a large apothecary size 8.4 ounce bottle that can also be used to refill the other sizes.

 

About Urban Moonshine

 

Urban Moonshine is a small family business with a mission to rekindle the relationship between herbal medicine and the modern world. Founder Jovial King has studied herbal medicine for many years with an array of renowned teachers. She is also the “herbal expert” for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living website, for which she enjoys writing a blog about herbs

 

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Entrepreneurs Ayo and Nigel Hart hold Dolphin Organics to high standards

Entrepreneurs Ayo and Nigel Hart hold Dolphin Organics to high standards

Between coaching high school basketball, prepping dinner for 6-year-old twins and developing a baby sunscreen formula, Ayo Hart still finds time to personally pick up the phone at Dolphin Organics, her children’s personal care company. Why? Because she really does want to talk to you.

Two years ago, answering questions about baby bath ingredients was hardly part of Hart’s day-to-day. Her husband, Nigel, was out the door at 4 a.m., heading from Westchester County to Wall Street and arriving home just as Ayo was leaving for basketball practice. Today, the two spend their work weeks addressing fellow parents’ concerns with their family-run, organic baby body care company.

After a successful launch at Natural Products Association Marketplace last June and a trip to Natural Products Expo East in September, Dolphin Organics has made its way into dozens of retailers and was featured on NBC’s “Green Week.” So what’s next? No strangers to multitasking, Ayo and Nigel are preparing their Natural Products Expo West product launches, shipping current orders and mapping out an ambitious distribution plan. Here, they share why Dolphin Organics is better because they are doing it together.

Natural Foods Merchandiser: What sparked the idea to launch a children’s personal care line?

Nigel Hart: My mother got breast cancer. Her oncologist in the UK highlighted chemicals for her to avoid, and a lot were in personal care products. It got us thinking more about how what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body.

Also, after the birth of our now 6-year-old daughters a few years before, we weren’t happy with what you could buy in the store and wanted to create products for our children. We wanted a completely natural, plant-based offering with as high organic content as we could get into a product that still works.

NFM: Tell me about Dolphin Moms.

Ayo Hart: We wanted to involve other parents from a very early stage, and that’s where our Dolphin Moms come in. Because they have been with us so long, it’s not like your typical focus group. They have invested all this time into the business and really feel part of it. They give us honest answers, and we believe in their opinions.

They helped us narrow down exactly what they wanted from the products—what they expect in the natural and organic space.

NFM: How did you transition from your initial idea to a finished product?

AH: Once we knew what we wanted to do, it took a while to find the right formulator in North America. Some manufacturers basically have you take a product off a shelf and allow you to re-label and rebrand it. We didn’t want that—we wanted our own formula, our own control. We wanted to own our destiny. That’s why finding the right formulas took many months.

NFM: Why did you decide to get the NSF/ANSI 305 “made with organic ingredients” certification?

AH: We were very aware of how many products claim to be natural and organic but contain what we consider to be harsh chemicals. We wanted to make sure that we made it very easy and clear to parents that we weren’t just saying we were natural. We wanted to meet the highest standard and decided to work with QAI and NSF. Parents can look at our certification and say, “This is made with good stuff, in a certified facility, with a process that also is not going to bring about harsh byproducts.” We also geared our formula toward the Whole Foods Premium Body Care Standard.

NFM: What’s next for Dolphin Organics?

AH: We’re debuting our sunscreen and new scents at Expo West. We also want to continuously grow Dolphin Moms. We trademarked it because we really wanted it to be a program. It’s more than wearing a T-shirt—it’s trying products, talking with Nigel and me, and really helping us come up with the best products for what Dolphin Moms are looking for.

NFM: How do you spread the word about Dolphin Organics and Dolphin Moms?

AH: We partner with trusted organizations such as Healthy Child, Healthy World, an amazing education resource, where you find a group of moms on a mission. We speak to moms that are engaged with nutrition, what they’re putting on their bodies and what they’re feeding their children.

NFM: What is your target market?

AH: It’s twofold: We’re a smaller organization, so we enjoy smaller independent retailers. I like that I can speak to the owner and have that partnership. But we also think there are many people who may not shop at a natural health foods store yet still want what’s best for their children. We want to make our product available to everyone, so we’re not putting any walls up to anyone.

NFM: What do you like most about working with retailers in your area?

AH: It’s nice to have that relationship where they support us coming into the store, doing demos and Q&As. They want signage, and I think there’s more of a conversation.

Ithaca is a very educated community. The owner at a local natural products store recently asked Nigel and I to come in and answer their customers’ questions. I really enjoyed that. People ask great questions.

NFM: How are you handling the company’s growth?

AH: It’s a double-edged sword because you want to grow, but you know with growth comes more work. When NBC chose us as one of the companies to feature for its Universal “Green Week” in November, we were very excited. After being on TV, we had more sales in one day than we usually had in one month. We were scrambling, but we got it done.

It’s hard for us because it’s a family business, and it’s the two of us. We want our clients to be serviced. If we’re working with a small independent retailer, I want them to know that someone from Dolphin Organics is going to regularly come in to make sure everything is OK.

Will EFSA's new stance on probiotics influence FDA?

Will EFSA's new stance on probiotics influence FDA?

Starting in September of this year manufacturers wishing to distribute their products in Europe will no longer be able to put “contains probiotics” on the label.

The European Commission (EC) has determined that due to the tacit understanding prevalent with consumers associating the word “probiotic” with a health benefit—digestive health and immune health primarily—the phrase constitutes a health claim. And because “probiotic” encompasses so many different strains, none of which have yet produced the quality or quantity of research necessary to win an approved health claim from the EC, no manufacturer, as of yet, can legally make a health claim about probiotics on their product.

Bummer.

Bummer because for someone like me, deeply steeped in the industry and having, on many occasions, personally experienced the health benefits of quality probiotics, I want the brands I believe in to be able to market their products according to the good they do, regardless of whether or not they have the clinical trials to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt. The anecdotal evidence provided to me by my digestive tract is all I need to claim a health benefit.

But I suppose Michel Sirgent, senior vice president of Bio-K Plus International, made a pretty indisputable point in our interview on the subject yesterday. “Until you do the research, especially with respect to probiotics, you don’t know if you’re delivering the benefit that you’re purporting.”

So far not one submission for a probiotic health claim has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority.

According to Sirgent, “one of the issues EFSA has with a lot of submissions is that a lot of submissions only claim to be able to increase the number of friendly bacteria in the colon. That’s as far as their research has gone. But that’s not a health benefit. No more than saying, ‘Well, my supplement can add two extra fingers on your left hand.’ How is that a benefit? Can I type faster? Can I wash my hair quicker? Maybe there’s a benefit but I have to prove it. Just having more beneficial bacteria in the body isn’t necessarily a benefit.”

Probiotics' catch-22

The crux of the issue comes from the nature of probiotics themselves. The health benefits are difficult to prove, the studies are costly, and because the bacteria are, for the most part universal, unpatented strains, it would be very difficult for manufacturers to make back the money they might invest in clinical trials from product sales alone.

In the world of pharmaceuticals this isn’t the case. Drug developers will have a patent on their creation. The formula is proprietary and protected and if it works they’ll make all of their investment back and then some. But when you’re talking about naturally occurring microorganisms that anyone can cultivate and use, that incentive disappears.

This is the most difficult contention we have to deal with as an industry as regulatory bodies like EFSA abroad and the FDA here at home begin to treat supplements and functional ingredients more and more like pharmaceuticals.

The catch-22 is that for those of us who believe in the products, we know that some of these ingredients are better than pharmaceuticals and we want to tell people all the amazing things they can do for your health. The industry has been struggling with these growing pains for years now, but I think we’re seeing more and more optimism from suppliers and manufacturers about our ability to rise up and meet the research challenge laid down, not just by EFSA and FDA, but by consumers themselves.

And if you ask me, Sirgent has the right attitude when he said, “If you’re going to make a claim you should be able to back it up. If you can’t back it up, as far as the consumer is concerned you shouldn’t be making those promises or creating those expectations. And if the government or regulators have a problem with that, then I think they’re probably justified.”