NEW YORK -- As the link between gut health and overall health becomes more clear, consumers have been increasingly adding probiotic supplements to their health and wellness regimens. This rising awareness of digestive health explains why probiotics have become one of the most significant drivers of growth in the consumer health care market.
Probiotics are considered to be the "good" bacteria that live in the gut, and their function is to regulate the digestive system, which is a quite complex network essential to the health of the human body. Maintaining the proper balance of the more than 100 trillion microbes in the average human body helps to promote immune function, proper digestion and general good health.
As with any complex system, the digestive tract doesn't always operate as it should, causing various digestive issues. Probiotics can play a role in mitigating some of these problems and helping the gut get back to running smoothly.
In 2017, the global probiotics market was valued at approximately $40 billion, according to Zion Market Research, which expects the market to reach a value of $65 billion by the end of 2024--an estimated compound annual growth rate of 7.35% between 2018 and 2024. According to data from Nielson, digestive health is the fastest-growing category within the vitamin, mineral, herb and supplement industry.
To meet the growing demand for probiotics, many manufacturers are incorporating the benefits of probiotics into non-supplement products, such as drinks, cereals and nutrition bars.
An example of such innovation is a new product from Viactiv, which is manufactured by Adare Pharmaceuticals. Viactiv Digestive Health Soft Chews expands the Viactiv supplement brand into the growing digestive health category. These dark chocolate chews provide a clinically studied probiotic strain that helps feed good bacteria and fight bad bacteria to help maintain that essential gut balance. "Our proprietary, heat-treated and dried Lactobacillus LB Fermentate is preserved and effective so it can do its job as it passes through the digestive system, " said Craig Sheehan, general manager of consumer products at Activ Nutritional.
"Our proprietary, heat-treated and dried Lactobacillus LB Fermentate is preserved and effective so it can do its job as it passes through the digestive system," said Craig Sheehan, general manager of consumer products at Activ Nutritional. "The dark chocolate chews are also individually wrapped, which makes it easy for consumers to take them wherever they are, and contain at least 50% less sugar than gummy probiotics. "
Another example of innovation in the probiotic space is the introduction of Probiotics+ from Emergen-C, a new powdered drink supplement that naturally supports daily immune health and aids in digestion.
"We know that a healthy gut plays a large role in our immune health. In fact, the gut is home to 70% of our immune system," said Akosua Asamoah, senior brand manager at Emergen-C. Probiotics+ naturally supports immune health, according to Asamoah, with each packet guaranteed to deliver 2 billion live active cultures and a boost of 250 mg of vitamin C.