Postbiotic diversity: Natural Products Expo West 2024 Report

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Sirio Pharma is delivering immune supporting postbiotics in an approachable gummy format while Kerry is offering multiple benefits via its Plenibiotics postbiotic ingredient.

Photo © AdobeStock.com/BillionPhotos.com

Photo © AdobeStock.com/BillionPhotos.com

Brands are making a push for postbiotics in an effort raise awareness about the category. At this year’s Natural Products Expo West, for example Sirio Pharma launched a gummy containing the branded postbiotic ingredient from Cargill called EpiCor, while Kerry introduced its Plenibiotic postbiotic ingredient. EpiCor, an established immune support product was previously marketed as a yeast fermentate, as it’s made from brewer’s yeast. According to Justin Green, director of scientific affairs for EpiCor, a Cargill Company, it has been difficult for EpiCor to pin down and find the right term for its ingredient for decades. It was relatively recently that they discovered the term “postbiotic” in doing more research on the ingredient’s mode of action, via the gut. Now, partnering with Sirio to create a gummy that delivers 250 mg of EpiCor in each gummy, they are making the concept more accessible to a broader audience, educating them about the gut-immune connection, and introducing them to the idea of postbiotics.

“We still need to bridge the gap a little bit with consumer awareness between gut health and immune health,” said Green. “There are consumers that still have to make that connection, and I think calling a postbiotic an immune ingredient in something like a gummy, which is more mainstream, is a great way to do that.”

“Obviously, postbiotic is a new term, not everybody knows what a postbiotic is and it's also important to talk about what it does,” said Evelyn Reinson, director of brand marketing for Sirio Pharma. “So, by talking about gut and immunity, we're describing what the postbiotic does. I think as the market evolves and learns more about all of the benefits of postbiotics, [consumers will eventually understand], but now it's important to advise the market,to educate and to let them know the benefits of taking such a product.”

With Plenibiotic, derived from Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei 327, Kerry is showcasing a range of benefits, including gut support and skin health, even in pets. Research conducted on the ingredient has shown that it can support bowel regulatory1 as well as skin barrier function2. According to Jordan Dow, vice president of Kerry’s proactive health division, consumer awareness about postbiotics is low, but he also emphasized that postbiotics can’t necessarily be used as a catch-all term either. While they are all in essence inactive microorganisms, they each may offer different benefits.

Then the challenge becomes to not explain what postbiotics do, but what does a specific postbiotic strain does. In that way, postbiotics are more complicated than probiotics for example. While probiotics may impart different benefits, consumers understand they are populating their gut with live bacteria. Inactive bacteria, ie. postbiotics, can be more nuanced in their benefits. Therefore, brands will have to strike a balance between communicating the specific benefits of their postbiotic product, while raising awareness about what postbiotics are.

References

  1. Saito, Y,; Mihara, T.; Oki, M.; Kumagai, T. Effects of heat-killed Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei 327 intake on defecation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study. Biosci Microbiota Food Health, 2018, 37 (3): 59-65. DOI: 10.12938/bmfh.17-025
  2. Saito, Y.; Mihara, T.; Maruyama, K.; Saito, J.; Ikeda, M.; Tomonaga, A.; Kumagai, T. Effects of intake of Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei 327 on skin conditions: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in women. Biosci Microbiota Food Health, 2017, 36 (3): 111-120. DOI: 10.12938/bmfh.16-031
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