Probiota Pioneers competition winners announced

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

Probiota Pioneers competition winners announced

Related tags microbiome Probiotic Probiotics Prebiotic Prebiotics Gut health Probiota

NutraIngredients has unveiled the winners of its highly competitive Probiota Pioneers competition, set to showcase innovations in probiotics, prebiotics, and microbiome research at the next, eagerly anticipated Probiota event in February 2024.

The NutraIngredients editorial team has handpicked three worthy start-up companies for their creativity and commitment to diversifying the industry.

The triumphant recipients, namely WellVine, REM Analytics, and ProBioEtna, have earned the exclusive opportunity to present their businesses to industry experts on the Probiota stage in Milan. 

This unmissable event​ promises to be a significant platform for these pioneering companies to boost awareness and connections.


WellVine​, launched in 2020 under the parent company Sonomaceuticals, has introduced a holistic prebiotic solution derived from repurposed chardonnay wine grapes​, which offer a rich array of oligosaccharides and abundant phenolics. 

The grapes, sourced exclusively from Jackson Family Wines, foster the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria and inhibit the proliferation of undesirable species, and the company promotes a zero waste approach to production. 

WellVine company logo

Scott Forsberg, chief operating officer at WholeVine Products, explains that being awarded ‘Probiota Pioneer’ status is of great significance in their mission: 

“When we started looking at this unique material that we had and how to best educate people about it, we looked at what kind of educational opportunities are there to talk about it, and frankly, Probiota is the premier industry event for our type of company.

“We're swimming upstream somewhat with this idea of diversity and complexity. It's much easier to tell a story about a single molecule or a single material, that makes communication easy and simple to talk about. 

“We didn't think we could do it by ourselves; we need something like Probiota to help us to give us a platform to showcase that.”

REM Analytics

Founded in 2017, REM Analytics​ specialises in the development, sale, and execution of microbiome tests. 

It distinguishes itself with the capability to precisely quantify relative abundances at strain level, leveraging the Advanced Testing for Genetic Composition (ATGC) proprietary technological platform. 

Company Logo - Paulo Refinetti

The platform allows the creation of tests tailored to various microbiome targets, including bacteria, fungi, and archaea. These tests can be customised to operate within any microbiome environment or matrix, such as the human gut, vagina, mouth, fermented foods, or mixed probiotics.

For Paulo Refinetti, founder and CEO, the significance of being a ‘Pioneer’ comes from the need to engageme and immerse himself in the industry. 

“We’re looking to build solutions for precision probiotics, and where better to do it than Probiota,” he explains.

“Our test is a targeted analysis, and I need targets. I'm hoping that by standing up on stage at Probiota, I can ask the industry ‘What do you want to measure to better deliver your probiotics?’   

“Tell me what you want to measure, and we can make a test for that. That’s the main reason why being a Probiota Pioneer is so exciting for us.” 


ProBioEtna​, a spin-off from the University of Catania, specialises in the creation of probiotics designed to promote women's well-being. 

Company Logo - Cinzia Lucia Randazzo

The team’s research, aimed at restoring the physiological balance of the vaginal ecosystem, is backed by a team of specialists in the field of ‘Human Health and Life Technologies’ at the University, and the ingredients adhere to rigorous quality and safety standards, supported by health benefits validated through both pre-clinical and clinical studies. 

The desire to apply to become a Probiota Pioneer came from “the networking opportunities with companies and researchers, which represent an unmissable event of connection with the main players operating in the probiotic sector,” Alessandra Pino from ProBioEtna explains. 

For them, “the award represents a strategic and prominent opportunity to share our activities with nutraceutical companies.”

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