Probiotics are one of the better-selling categories within the VMS space, as evidenced by the number of growing probiotic brands on the top 10 mineral supplement brand chart, which is where IRI captures many of the probiotic SKUs. While market-leading mineral supplement brands Nature Made and Nature’s Bounty certainly include probiotics, i-Health’s Culturelle brand is the best-selling pure-play probiotic brand with $123.1 million in sales on 8.9% growth across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI.
According to i-Health market intelligence, more and more consumers are researching probiotics online and are coming to the store with a specific brand in mind. In fact, as many as half of consumers know the brand they plan to purchase before walking through the doors, and most of them are going to the digestive aisle in search of their probiotic of choice.
“Consumers are becoming more savvy and are looking for specific probiotics [strains],” Michael Bush, president and CEO of Ganenden, told Drug Store News. Not all probiotic strains are created equal, he added, as some strains are better at improving immunity health, for example, while others are better at resupplying the gut flora to reduce adverse side effects associated with antibiotics, such as diarrhea.
According to Ganenden, which licenses the branded probiotic GanedenBC30 to food manufacturers, 70% of consumers are aware of probiotics, and 54% are willing to pay more to trade up for a food or beverage containing a probiotic. “The mom buyer is typically buying for the immune benefits of a probiotic,” Bush said. “The probiotic industry is working together to help consumers understand it’s all about the strain.”