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IPA World Congress, May 9-11 2014, Athens, Greece

Time to renovate your probiotic toolbox? IPA workshop explores how

By Shane Starling+

Last updated on 20-Mar-2014 at 13:19 GMT2014-03-20T13:19:52Z

Time to renovate your probiotic toolbox? IPA workshop explores how

Companies that manufacture probiotic products can learn much from other fast-moving-consumer-good (FMCG) firms like shower gel, pharmaceutical and smoothie makers in NPD, an expert says.

Dr David Calvert, UK-based chief of formulation experts, iFormulate Limited, will host an interactive workshop at the May 9-11 International Probiotics Association (IPA) World Congress in Athens, Greece, where firms will be challenged to examine their products and formulations.

Ahead of the workshop, Dr Calvert told us some probiotics players were doing a good job because the global €20bn+ probiotics space continues to grow even as some jurisdictions like the European Union have no approved claims, but that further innovation was required if the market was to optimise potential.

That meant new formulations, new flavours, new claim making.

“There is a lot that can be learned from other industries when brands are looking at different ways to enhance repeat buys,” Dr Calvert, a chemist by training, said. “Look at innocent smoothies – they are always reinventing their products with new formulations and flavours.”

“Aside from the health benefits, because taste and texture are so important to the consumer experience, companies can learn a lot from the pharma industry and from products like shower gels where viscosity is so important. How quickly does a shower gel have to change?”

Being nutritionals, companies can increase market penetration if they can market those gut health and immune system and other benefits to large health-conscious populations.

Build from a claim

That meant developing strain combinations that can utilise health claims where they are available in places like Switzerland, Canada and Japan, and being creative with messaging and soft claims in places where they are not.

“There are so many available strains and so much strong research showing their benefits, but there is always more companies can do in the way they are formulated and in formulations and matrices – by investing in this the rewards can be vast,” he said. “But you need to start with a basic claim of some sort.”

“That’s what I want to challenge people about in the workshop – to help them renovate their product toolbox, and help them get to market quicker with truly differentiated products that are easy to take, taste good, look good, have a long shelf life and deliver health benefits.”

More about the IPA World Congress can be found here .

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