Public Health, Let's Start from Probiotics
Human Microbiome Project, Revealing Pathogenic Pathways Caused by Symbiotic Microorganisms
Since Louis Pasteur, a French prominent microbiologist, first identified lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in 1857, the characteristics and the efficacy of probiotics have been studying more and more deeply. In 1995, Gibson G.R., the father of prebiotics, defined that the term “prebiotic” is used to refer to a non-digestible ingredient is beneficial to the specific bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract and play as an effective ingredient to produce a health benefit. The research and development of prebiotics provide new routes for the research of gut probiotics. In 2007, the National Institutes of Health invested $115M in performing the “Human Microbiome Project” which is conducted by four top laboratories collaboratively to study the symbiotic microorganisms living in the gut, oral cavity, nasal cavity, skin, and reproductive tract. In their expectations, NIH desires to figure out the difference in composition of gut flora between healthy people and patients. Based on their results, some proteins and metabolic products produced by symbiotic microorganisms have been identified to get involved in the pathogenic pathways of specific diseases. The Human Microbiome Project is the next milestone after the Human Genome Project in the history of medical research. It attracts both scientists’ attention and public attention.
Gut Microbiota, the Life-Long Factor to Your Health
Furthermore, about 99% of the symbiotic microorganisms live in the gut. Based on recent scientific studies, gut microbiota are closely related to crucial functionalities of the body. The gut is a high- efficient digestive organ system, and it will handle over 50 to 60 tons of food to small-molecule and absorbable nutrients for supporting us in our lifetime. The gut is also one of the most important organs in the immune system. Because there are many external and internal toxins in the gut, the gut has to be the first defender who can protect the circulatory system from the invasion of pathogens. In addition, the gut is called “the second brain” owing to the nerves branching into the inner layers of the gut such as the mucosa and muscular externa. Therefore the gut microbiota may be one of the potential factors to the occurrence of physiological and mental disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, autism spectrum disorder, and anxiety disorders. The effects imposed by the gut microbiota go far beyond expectations, so there is a question arisen by scientists who got impressed by the results: “Who is in charge of health exactly?” Consequently, great business opportunities related to gut health have been risen. The unexpected popularity of probiotics is the best example for this situation now.
Eat Freely and Healthy! Incredible Business Opportunities Brought by Probiotics
Wide Applicability of Probiotic Industry, Panoply of Products Available
Probiotics are “live microorganisms intended to provide health benefits when consumed properly”. There are more than 400 probiotic species with patently different functionalities and health benefits and have been identified in human body. The given development of probiotics and its application have covered numerous fields including functional foods and beverages, dietary supplements, and feed additives. Moreover, the scope of application of probiotics are still expanding. Based on the insight provided by MarketsandMarkets, the global probiotics market is estimated to reach the value of US$45.64 billion in 2017. It is projected to reach US$ 64.02 billion with a CAGR of 7.0% by 2022. The growth rate is obviously higher than other traditional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and fish oil. In terms of product categories, the global market of functional foods and beverages with probiotics reached US$37.74 billion which accounted for 83% (the highest percentage) of the overall market. In terms of geographic regions, the CAGRs of the local probiotics market are over 7.6% in Canada, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
Fermented Foods Are the Rising Star for Consumers
Fermented foods are everywhere around us. For example, kimchi, nattō, yogurt drinks, and lacto- fermented beverages are fermented and produced by probiotics. Fermented foods not only have rich content of probiotics and beneficial enzymes, but also provide better nutritional values, tastes and functionalities of improving metabolism and gut ecosystem. Based on the insight provided by Google Trend, the count numbers of “probiotics” and “prebiotics” on Google have been increasing in recent years. The high attention of probiotics also fosters the competition between manufactures who are vying for a share of the probiotics market.
Probiotics Are under the Spotlight: International Brands Mount a Massive Attack
M&A Targeting on Probiotic Manufacturers Have Been Triggered by International Manufacturing Giants
The tremendous market size of global probiotic market attracts international manufacturing giants to vie for a share. In 2016, PepsiCo announced that they bought KeVita, a probiotic beverage brand in US. This step is the next adjustment on their production lines after providing probiotics in the products of their juice brand, Tropicana and also represented their entering of the functional beverage market. KeVita, the brand bought by PepsiCo, has three major production lines for lacto-fermented beverages, probiotic drinks, and kombuchas. Their major appeals are “made with organic” and “non-genetically modified”. They feature one flavor with one probiotic respectively among their 4 developed flavors: pineapple, coconut, hibiscus, and berry. Their clear aim is to establish a healthy image for the company. In 2017, a start-up company affiliated to General Mills invested US$6.5 million in Farmhouse Culture, a manufacturer for probiotic foods and beverages in US. Farmhouse Culture primarily focuses on manufacturing the products related to fermented vegetables such as potato chips made by kimchi and probiotic beverages with vegetable flavors. The M&A case conducted by these two giants have identified that the trend of beverage market is toward to functional beverages.
New Hot Spots: Functional Probiotics and Daily Necessities
The Differentiation of Efficacy Leads to the Variety of Probiotic Products
About the innovation of probiotic products, the application of probiotics in dairy products and gut care are not the only focuses. More and more evidence pointing toward to the health benefits besides gut care such as weight control, vaginal health, immune capacity, and athletic performance. Based on a study conducted by Morinaga Milk, Bifidobacterium breve B-3, a probiotic strain, can decrease the average body fat percentage of adults effectively. After taking the probiotic for 12 weeks, the average body fat and the average body fat percentage of subjects were decreased by 0.6 kg and 0.7% respectively. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, the probiotic strains proven by several efficacy evaluations, have been demonstrated that they can recover the healthy balance of vaginal flora and alleviate recurrent urinary tract infections. In US, Marywood University has developed an iron supplement product called Regular Girl for female athletes. The main ingredients include soluble dietary fiber and probiotics. Based on the experimental data, after taking Regular Girl for 4 weeks, the average level of serum ferritin of athletes has been increased by 41%. It can recover the damaged red blood cells caused by training and is helpful to improve the athletic performance.
Probiotics Acting as Biological Control Agents: the New Idea for the Development of Daily Necessities
There is a variety of microorganisms in our living environment. If a pathogen becomes the dominant bacterial species of the environment, it will become the source of a pathogenic pathway. Chrisal, a cleaning product manufacturer has developed a series of cleaning products with active probiotics. Through the competition with deleterious species, the probiotics will dominate the surface of the object and destroy the biofilms of pathogens to kill them. The products can effectively inhibit the proliferation of pathogens and prevent cross-contamination. Avec Moi, an oral care brand, has launched the toothpaste with probiotics. It will establish a balanced ecosystem in the oral cavity by ADP-1, its exclusive patented probiotic. It helps consumers to sustain fresh breath and stay away from halitosis. Along with the coming of probiotic shampoo, body wash, dental floss, and panty liner, those probiotic products have been developed by manufacturers successfully. The relationship between probiotics and consumers is getting closer and closer.
Probiotics, the Cosmetic Revolution
Probiotic Skin Care Products, such a HIT for Skin Care Lovers
The hottest topic in cosmetic industry must be “probiotic skin care products” now. Based on scientific studies, if your skin is under inflammatory conditions, the species diversity of skin flora will be decreased from 200 species to 100 species. Therefore how to reach the ecological balance of skin flora and further solve the skin issues such as aging and irritation caused by environmental contamination has become the key point for development. In Korea, Ildong Pharmaceutical launched the collection of First Lab Probiotic featured with lactic acid bacteria, and the collection gained amazing popularity. The sales of the First Lab Probiotic mask, the first-launched product in this collection, have exceeded 12M units. The sales of the following First Lab Probiotic Serum has also exceed 1M units! The most popular ingredients in the Advanced Génifique Activating Serum, which is also called “little black bottle” by skin care lovers and one of the hottest products launched by the world-renowned beauty brand Lancôme are the extracts from Bifidobacterium longum and yeasts. 2019 is 10th anniversary for the Advanced Génifique Activating Serum. Therefore the grand advance of the Advanced Génifique Activating Serum has been announced: with additional extracts from Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus and three other patented prebiotics. Lancôme declares that each drop of the Advanced Génifique Activating Serum has more than 30M probiotics. The advanced version can provide 3 fundamental effects: recovery, protection, and regulation. That is what consumers are eagerly anticipating.
Probiotic Skin Care Products, such a TARGET for Skin Care Manufacturers
To vie for a share of the probiotic skin care market, international manufacturers start collaboration with start-up companies (listed as below). Although technical barriers and supervisory barriers still exist, microbiome has become the key factor for the development of skin care products. In the past, consumers had understood the beneficial effects of gut microbiota to health. Now, they are ready to understand the new concepts of skin probiotics will have effects on skin health.