Speaking to NutraIngredients at a number of shows recently, experts in the prebiotic and probiotic space agreed that the current regulatory environment - both in Europe and the USA - is a key challenge. However, in every challenge there is opportunity.
"The main thing for ingredients suppliers and brands in this space is to define their regulatory strategy," commented William Rowe, President and CEO of Nutrasource Diagnostics. "There are a number of opportunities - both pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and in the US through the medical food pathways - which have application for probiotics and prebiotics."
"Determining which regulatory pathway companies are going down needs to feed back into their clinical strategy and the regulatory strategy going forward," he added.
Meanwhile, Jamie Yacko, marketing manager at Merical told us that ensuring research backs up on-pack claims is vital.
"Claims are what our customers want, so that their consumers know what the product is for," said Yacko - who said that being able to communicate that remains a 'huge challenge'.
However, she does see opportunity in the clean label space and in offering products with 'better ingredients' to accompany probiotic strains. However, there remain challenges in the manufacturing of clean label probiotics.
Experts also agreed that the use of prebiotics in combination with probiotics - to provide a synbiotic effect - is a huge future opportunity, but that getting the right claims and having them scientifically validated remains the biggest challenge and opportunity facing the industry.