In a recent blog post, we discussed the probiotics market, which widely appeals to many U.S. consumers seeking more natural solutions to their health issues, but where did it all start and how did it become so popular? Probiotics awareness specifically received its first boost in the United States with the ubiquitous advertising for Dannon’s probiotic-rich yogurt, Activia, in the early 2000s, featuring actress Jamie Lee Curtis. According to a recent research study, the benefits of probiotics are well-known, with 73% of U.S. consumers with digestive problems aware that “probiotics are used to help maintain the natural balance of organisms in the intestine.” This is up significantly from “47% aware” about 10 years ago. In addition, awareness of the term “probiotics” grew from 9% in 2002 to 60% in 2009 among adults, according to a study by the National Marketing Institute.
Procter & Gamble, seeing the potential of “good bacteria” as a promising digestive aid, began its development work 10 years ago, with its partner Alimentary Health. The company launched Align in 2009 with the proprietary bacteria bifantis, leveraging the already existing consumer awareness to achieve rapid sales growth. Schiff Nutrition also saw the growth potential and acquired the Digestive Advantage and Sustenex brands from Ganeden Biotech in June 2011. The two brands were merged in 2013 under the single Schiff Digestive Advantage brand moniker. This was followed by increased interest from other major OTC manufacturers, leading to a bidding war for Schiff Nutrition in 2012. After Bayer Group reached an agreement in late 2012 to acquire Schiff Nutrition International, Reckitt Benckiser prevailed with a higher offer and closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Schiff in December 2012. The launch of more probiotic brands and line extensions into the mass market from other manufacturers is expected to continue.
Some other brands, such as market leader Culturelle (Royal DSM) and Accuflora (Church & Dwight), enter the mass OTC marketplace from the natural products retail channel without high mass consumer market awareness and required significant investments in marketing in order to build awareness in a competitive market. Others enter as line extensions from well-known brands, such as Phillips’ Colon Health (Bayer Group) and Centrum Pronutrients Probiotics (Pfizer), with an instant high brand recognition and credibility, marketing expertise, and spending programs, and experience more rapid sales growth. In the natural and specialty retail channels refrigerated probiotics are popular with brands such as Ultimate Flora by Renew Life Formulas and Raw by Garden of Life.
Strong promotion and advertising from manufacturers, coupled with consumers’ increased acceptance and understanding of the many digestive and related health benefits of probiotic products, represents the successful recipe that continues to fuel sales of both current and newly launched brands. We will take a deeper dive into this market’s solid performance through our NEW! Digestive Immunity and Probiotics: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities report, to be published in the spring of 2017. In addition to a complete view of this market, the study will also feature in-depth profiles of both shelf-stable and refrigerated brands like Align, Schiff Digestive Advantage, Culturelle, Philips Colon Health, Raw, Nutrilite Digestive Probiotic, Accuflora, and Ultimate Flora, among others. View the complete list of companies/brands profiled and do not hesitate to contact our team to learn more about this new report.