Once viewed with disdain as transmitters of infections, the bacteria living in and on us have earned a better reputation over the past decade. Science has revealed the instrumental role that our so-called “microbiome” plays in supporting human health. To support and protect beneficial microbes, the natural products industry has rolled out everything from condition-specific probiotic and prebiotic supplements to shampoos and mouthwashes aimed at preserving the healthy bugs.
In 2018 alone, U.S. consumers are projected to spend about $2.4 billion on probiotic supplements, up from $425 million in 2008, according to Nutrition Business Journal. Include functional foods and beverages (which constitute about 80 percent of sales) and the global probiotics market is expected to reach $64 billion by 2022. Meanwhile, sales of prebiotics—indigestible fibers which serve as food for good bacteria—are also soaring.
Here’s what you need to know to help your customers support their microbiome.