CRN Announces New Initiative to Educate Retailers about Probiotics

Washington, D.C., November 12, 2020—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, today announced an upcoming education initiative to inform retailers about the intricacies of probiotic products, with the goal to aid them in assuring only high quality probiotics make it to their shelves. A “Retail Buyer’s Guide to Probiotics” will feature prominently in the campaign, providing educational materials on probiotic labeling, storage and handling practices, the importance of strain identification, various benefits of probiotics, consumer usage and other need-to-know information. The initiative will also seek to educate retail dietitians, pharmacists, sales associates and other stakeholders on probiotics to help them curate their offerings, improve their handling of these products, and better educate their customers of the benefits of probiotics. 

“Unlike other dietary supplement ingredients, probiotics are live organisms that require different labeling and storage and handling practices,” said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN. “Given the popularity of these products, the expanding product innovation, and the growing body of scientific research showing the benefits of this category, CRN recognizes that it’s more important than ever for retailers to be better informed about probiotics. In particular, it’s essential that retail buyers understand the particularities of probiotics because they serve as the gatekeepers for what ends up on the shelf, and for disseminating critical information to safeguard the reputation of their stores and benefit the health of their customers.”

Serving as a roadmap for retailers, the guide seeks to supply retailers with the information they need to know to improve their overall selection and handling of probiotics and with the necessary resources to best serve consumers.  The Retail Buyer’s Guide will include data on probiotic sales and consumer usage to further help buyers make more informed decisions about what types of probiotic products to stock to meet the growing consumer demand. The initiative will also help to ensure that these live organisms remain viable throughout the product lifecycle and to educate retailers about the unique bioactivity of different probiotic products, as they may operate differently in the body and affect various physical systems (digestive, cognition, immune function, etc.).
“Probiotics are unique dietary ingredients that play a role in good health and are supported by a long history of safe use and scientific research,” said Dr. Wong. “Some probiotic products contribute to maintaining digestive health, and developing science shows the benefits certain probiotics can have on immune function, brain health, oral health or bone health. Given the growing science around probiotics and the increasing consumer interest in these products, this category is likely to grow in the coming years. CRN is working to ensure that retailers have the information they need to serve their consumers.”

CRN’s Probiotics Working Group will beta test and finalize the “Retail Buyer’s Guide” in 2020. Additional deliverables, including an infographic and educational video will launch in early 2021. For more information about the education initiative, visit the campaign’s website or reach out to CRN’s Senior Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Andrea Wong ( to learn more about the education initiative and CRN’s Probiotics Working Group.

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 180+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements, and LinkedIn