Probiotics: What's Inside is Alive
Unlike other dietary supplement ingredients, probiotics are live organisms. Given their popularity with consumers, the increase in probiotic product innovation, and the advancement of science demonstrating the various benefits of these live organisms, it is important for retailers to be informed about these products now more than ever.
CRN, at the direction of its Probiotics Working Group, is developing an initiative to help educate retail buyers and other retail stakeholders on the intricacies of probiotic products. Understanding these intricacies will improve the chances of retail buyers purchasing high-quality probiotic products from responsible manufacturers. The initiative will also seek to educate retail dietitians, pharmacists, sales associates and other stakeholders on probiotics to help them better curate their offerings, improve their handling of these products, and educate their customers of the benefits of these products.
CRN has produced a “Retail Buyer’s Guide” to probiotics featuring educational materials on:
- The unique bioactivity and various benefits of probiotic products
- Labeling probiotic identity and quantity
- Storage and handling best practices
- Consumer Usage data
Read more in CRN’s recent press release announcing details of the upcoming retail education initiative.
Further reading – CRN published bylines on probiotics:
- Educating the public about probiotics – the valuable role retailers play
- Probiotic taxonomy change has widespread industry impact
- Advancing probiotic innovation with science and advocacy
- Probiotics & the COVID-19 market transformation
- Driving Opportunities in the Microbiome Space
- State of Probiotics: From the lab, to the law to ‘lactobacillus’
CRN's Dr. Andrea Wong discusses probiotics basics in this short video. Learn more here.
Consumer Usage of Probiotics:
Results of the 2020 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reveal that 11% of supplement users report taking probiotics, with some slight variation among age groups. Supplement users aged 35-54 are most likely to take probiotics, with 13% of adults in this age cohort reporting usage; followed by 11% of users aged 55+; and 10% of users aged 18-34. Historically, probiotics usage has skewed female and to adults aged 35-54.
Among those who report taking a probiotic, a majority (57%), cite GI support or general health and 51% report taking this ingredient for immune health.
32% of supplement users report taking supplements for immune support, according to data from the 2020 Consumer Survey. Of those users who take supplements for immune support, 27% report taking probiotics.
Additional Tools and Resources:
- CRN and IPA’s Best Practices for Probiotics: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the International Probiotics Association developed scientifically-based voluntary best practices that address the labeling, stability testing, and storage recommendations for probiotic-containing dietary supplements and functional foods. These best practices are intended to facilitate transparency and consistency.
- Roadmap for Retailers: The Council for Responsible Nutrition created this guide to assist its members, their customers, and retailers selling dietary supplements with meeting their obligation under the law. As manufacturers and marketers of supplements are limited by law as to the claims they can make about their products on the labeling, in print or broadcast advertising, similar requirements and restrictions apply to retailers and distributors who speak directly with consumers. This guide supports individuals assisting consumers at the point of purchase to discuss dietary supplements accurately and legally.