Probiotics: What's Inside is Alive
Unlike other dietary supplement ingredients, probiotics are live organisms. Given their popularity with consumers, the increase in probiotic product innovation, and the advancement of science demonstrating the various benefits of these live organisms, it is important for retailers to be informed about these products now more than ever.
CRN, at the direction of its Probiotics Working Group, developed an initiative to help educate retail buyers and other retail stakeholders on the intricacies of probiotic products. Understanding these intricacies will improve the chances of retail buyers purchasing high-quality probiotic products from responsible manufacturers. The initiative will also seek to educate retail dietitians, pharmacists, sales associates and other stakeholders on probiotics to help them better curate their offerings, improve their handling of these products, and educate their customers of the benefits of these products.
Access Educational Campaign Assets:
The Retail Buyer's Guide: provides educational materials on labeling probiotic identity, quantity, and viability; storage and handling practices; the various benefits of probiotics, consumer usage data and other need-to-know information
- NEW: Scientific White Paper: provides a deeper dive into the science behind probiotics, building on information provided in the Retail Buyer's Guide
- Infographic for Retail Buyers: summarizes key aspects of the Buyer's Guide to help retail buyers easily reference important points to better understand the overall handing of probiotics
- NEW: Infographic for Consumers: highlights need-to-know information for consumers including tips to help make smart probiotic purchasing decisions and to find reliable information about these products
NEW: Vendor Questionnaires:
- One Pager: "Ten Questions to Ask Your Vendors About Probiotic Supplements"
- Ten Questions with added visuals
- Educational Video for Retail Buyers: short explainer video to help retail buyers understand how probiotics are different from other dietary supplements and how to make smart choices about which products to offer their customers
- NEW: Educational Video for Consumers: short explainer video to help consumers understand how probiotics are different from other dietary supplements, what to look for on the label, and the wide range of health benefits that these products offer
Further reading – CRN published bylines on probiotics:
- Best practices and education for probiotics amid regulatory uncertainty
- Educating the public about probiotics – the valuable role retailers play
- Probiotic taxonomy change has widespread industry impact
- Advancing probiotic innovation with science and advocacy
- Probiotics & the COVID-19 market transformation
- Driving Opportunities in the Microbiome Space
- State of Probiotics: From the lab, to the law to ‘lactobacillus’
CRN's Dr. Andrea Wong discusses probiotics basics in this short video. Learn more here.
Consumer Usage of Probiotics:
Results of the 2020 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reveal that 11% of supplement users report taking probiotics, with some slight variation among age groups. Supplement users aged 35-54 are most likely to take probiotics, with 13% of adults in this age cohort reporting usage; followed by 11% of users aged 55+; and 10% of users aged 18-34. Historically, probiotics usage has skewed female and to adults aged 35-54.
Among those who report taking a probiotic, a majority (57%), cite GI support or general health and 51% report taking this ingredient for immune health.
32% of supplement users report taking supplements for immune support, according to data from the 2020 Consumer Survey. Of those users who take supplements for immune support, 27% report taking probiotics.
Additional Tools and Resources:
- CRN and IPA’s Best Practices for Probiotics: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the International Probiotics Association developed scientifically-based voluntary best practices that address the labeling, stability testing, and storage recommendations for probiotic-containing dietary supplements and functional foods. These best practices are intended to facilitate transparency and consistency.
- Roadmap for Retailers: The Council for Responsible Nutrition created this guide to assist its members, their customers, and retailers selling dietary supplements with meeting their obligation under the law. As manufacturers and marketers of supplements are limited by law as to the claims they can make about their products on the labeling, in print or broadcast advertising, similar requirements and restrictions apply to retailers and distributors who speak directly with consumers. This guide supports individuals assisting consumers at the point of purchase to discuss dietary supplements accurately and legally.