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Digestive health market teeming with opportunity

“Keeping regular” is all the rage on airwaves as companies strive to be the first to dominate the positive digestive health market in a way that comes remotely close to the fine work Dannon has done paving the way via its Activia probiotic-infused yogurt.


A well-running digestive system provides the foundation for overall health and wellness—for men, women, children and babies. Made up of an intricate system of organs—that starts in the mouth and includes the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, and pancreas—the gastrointestinal system is affected by diet, antibiotic use, bacterial and viral infections, food intolerances, hydrochloric acid production, obesity, and other factors. A poorly functioning digestive system can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, heartburn, a weakened immune system and other potentially serious health problems. It can also produce a constellation of painful embarrassing symptoms, such as bloating, diarrhea, gas and stomach cramps. As scientists research the gut-brain connection, they are also finding that stress and emotions can affect the gastrointestinal system and that digestive problems can contribute to mood and attention issues.

Nutritional ingredients that support a healthy digestive tract include probiotics, enzymes, fiber, aloe vera, lactase—the list goes on. A raw diet of plant-based foods delivers the active enzymes needed for good digestion; yogurt and kefir are naturally rich in probiotic or “good bacteria.”


Fi: Where do you expect to see the most category growth in the coming year—food, beverage, or supplement?

Scott Ravech, CEO Deerland Enzymes

We fully expect the enzyme-based supplement industry to continue to experience growth in the digestive category, based on several factors:

·       Our existing and new customers who express increasing interest in adding an enzyme supplement line or expanding on an existing line. In both cases, this will include a multi-component approach (enzymes blended with other products—probiotics, prebioitcs, herbals, botanicals, etc.)

·       Brand loyalty of consumers to our customers and their expanding product lines

·       The emergence and growing popularity of condition-based supplements

·       New product development. We’ve received considerable interest and new business from the latest technologies launched by Deerland Enzymes. The most recent of these includes the ThioZyme line of products: AO (Anti-Oxidant), YD (Yeast Defense) and GI (Gastro-Intestinal).


Fi: This is a broad and busy category with implications for a variety of health conditions. How do you keep from getting lost in the crowd?

SR: Deerland Enzymes rejects the idea of a one-size-fits-all digestive supplement. In many cases, our customers have a very different approach to digestive wellness; they want to partner with a supplier that will invest the time to understand their business better, the challenges they face and the specific product development strategy they plan to implement. In doing so, we are in a better position to provide a product that works best for them. In 2009, we officially branded this no-cost customization service with the name YourBlend, in which we give our customers a platform to collaborate on formulations that address their market-specific needs.


Fi: Where do you see emerging opportunity in this category?

SR: Opportunities in the digestive supplement category would include global expansion, as well as continued investment in R&D to launch new products, in particular more clinically supported product launches.


Fi: What is the biggest threat to growth?

SR: The single biggest threat to digestive supplement industry growth is the FDA’s NDI Guidance document. If the FDA is willing to reach a better balance between industry and government, it could be great for our industry. However, if it’s used to promote their views of new laws that should be put into place, I see it stifling innovation and growth without any real benefit to consumers. Worse yet, it could chase ethical companies out of the market, leaving a larger customer base for unethical suppliers, who will not behave per DSHEA simply because new regulations have been implemented. FDA should work with those of us who have invested in becoming GMP certified to drive unethical suppliers out of the market. We all want the same thing—safe supplementation.

Condition-specific directory: Digestive health


Alchem USA


Alchem’s DGL, a special licorice extract, provides support for sensitive gastrointestinal tissues by stimulating natural protective factors in the digestive tract.


[email protected]

Minnetonka, Minnesota


Anderson Global Group LLC


VitaFiber Isomalto Oligosaccharides are the premier ingredient in many of the fastest-growing nutritional bar and beverages products in North America. In addition to being a prebiotic, unlike other fiber products, VitaFiber is soluble, has a sweet taste and has been clinically shown to cause no GI distress while consuming up to 60g per day.  


[email protected]

Irvine, California



Beneo Orafti Synergy1 prebiotics



Oliggo-Fiber inulin 

Known as the “invisible fiber,” inulin can be incorporated into almost any food or beverage without affecting taste or texture. It is recognized as a prebiotic ingredient that supports the natural, healthful bacteria in the lower gastrointestinal tract. 


Minneapolis, Minnesota



Litesse prebiotic


Deerland Enzymes

ThioZymeGI, ThioZymeYD


Ganeden Biotech Inc.

GanedenBC30 spore-forming probiotic

GanedenBC30 survives most manufacturing and gastric processes, is shelf stable, and is self-affirmed GRAS. 


Mayfield Heights, Ohio


Ingredion, Inc. 

NutraFlora short-chain FOS prebiotic fiber


Maypro Industries LLC


BB536 is Japan’s top-selling probiotic ingredient, now diary-free. This proprietary strain of Bifobacterium longum is one of the most shelf-stable strains in the world, with stability guaranteed from 24-48 months. Supported by more than 40 human studies, BB536 is the closest composition to the naturally occurring bifidobacteria present in an infant’s digestive tract.


[email protected]

Purchase, New York


National Enzyme Co.

BioCore digestive-enzyme products



Bio-Tract controlled-release system for probiotics


Nutrition 21

Probiomega probiotic

This unique combination of Lactobacillus casei (KE-99) and omega-3 fish oil supports digestive and immune health. Probiomega supports digestive health by increasing the performance of the L. casei. Omega-3 fish oil works to extend the probiotic’s shelf life.


[email protected]

Purchase, New York


Sabinsa Corp.


LactoSpore (Bacillius coagulans) is a versatile probiotic that is stable at room temperatures and is naturally microencapsulated for stability, so from dairy to bakery, you can be assured of its potential. Available for dietary supplements as well as food, with self-affirmed GRAS status. 


[email protected]

East Windsor, New Jersey


Stratum Nutrition


ACTAZIN is a superior, whole-food ingredient derived entirely from New Zealand green kiwifruit. Regarded as a superfruit, green kiwifruit is high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. By utilizing a proprietary cold process, we maintain the beneficial nutrients of the fruit including the kiwi-unique enzyme, Actinidin. All these natural nutrients together support digestive health and offer superfruit benefits.


[email protected]


Terry Laboratories LLC

Aloe vera powders and liquids

Aloe vera functions as an aid to control intestinal secretions to normal levels, influence the bowel flora, control gastric and intestinal pH, improve the functioning of the pancreas and limit adverse bacteria action in the colon. Aloe vera works synergistically throughout the entire digestive system to normalize actions and improve overall function.


[email protected]

Melbourne, Florida


Xsto Solutions LLC


PepZin GI from Hamari Chemicals is a proprietary complex of zinc and L-carnosine for digestive health. More than a dozen human trials and 50 published studies show PepZin GI supports the mucosal lining, the natural defense mechanism of the digestive tract. Studies demonstrate PepZin GI works holistically to reduce occasional heartburn. 


[email protected]

Morristown, New Jersey

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