China Food

Underlying logic and innovation opportunities of probiotics

This is the 29th insight article from foodplus

Let’s systematically analyze the field of probiotics, including the underlying logic of probiotics, the innovation cases and innovation opportunities of popular probiotics products and specialized probiotics products.

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Author: Zhang Yu


With the continuous enhancement of people’s health awareness, the demand for functional products has shifted from professional supplements to simple foods. Probiotics, as one of the important and universal functional components, appear in more and more sub categories. At present, probiotics are mainly used in three aspects – functional foods, health food and probiotics raw materials.

Probiotics products application field, source: public data collation


The concept of probiotic function has gained public recognition and strong market acceptance. The products and brands that focus on probiotic ingredients do not need to pay a lot of cost to cultivate the target users in the consumer market. In addition, the target users are expanded greatly, and the ceiling of the product market is raised. This will directly lead to the direct benefit of the professional manufacturers who plan to break the circle to the simple probiotic public line.


For mass line products, users’ demand and requirements for food are constantly increasing, which undoubtedly poses greater challenges to food manufacturers. In particular, consumers who want to obtain corresponding functional supplements through tonic will force food and beverage manufacturers to be more professional and scientific in the functional field, rather than just completing the essence of consumer products or just making food delicious.


We find that with the deepening of the market popularity and consumption awareness of a certain functional component and functionality, the boundary between professionalism and popularity of the main functional component products is gradually blurred, infiltrated, broken and integrated with each other. Consumer brands focus on improving professionalism, professional brands are strengthening communication with consumers, and products are gradually expanding from pharmacies to supermarkets.


At this time point, we observe the trend of probiotics products in China.


On the one hand, in the field of popular line products, dairy products use probiotics to further innovate the functionality and taste of products. At the same time, more and more non dairy consumer products focus on probiotics, such as snack food, children’s food, pet food, drinks and other food consumer products.


On the other hand, businesses in the field of professional line products are breaking through to the field of mass consumer goods. And in the process of the two-way change from the public line to the professional line, from the professional line to the simple functional food, the professional line and the public line of probiotics products are gradually blurred, and some transitional products appear.


Probiotics products have also appeared transitional products between the professional line and the public line. One is that Biopharmaceutical Enterprises produce consumer grade functional foods to enhance the communication distance with C-end consumers, and are breaking the circle to the public product line, such as Jiangzhong.


Another form is the probiotic tonic products that are recognized by the consumer market with the “professional sense” products of emerging brands corresponding to consumption patterns and consumption scenarios, with the form of tonics, tablets and other professional products. For example, super patch and wonderlab.


In addition, probiotics are no longer the unique advantage of dairy products in food and beverage. With the innovation of probiotics technology and the discovery of new strains, probiotics can be applied to non dairy consumer products, which undoubtedly raises the ceiling of probiotics market.


Recently, with the expansion of probiotic supplier cooperation categories and the IPO of keto Hengtong, the first share of probiotics, the domestic probiotic market is likely to usher in a new round of growth period. We are very curious about how to use probiotics to do product innovation. How to use probiotics product innovation to grasp the dividend period of domestic functional subcategories is our curious expectation.


Therefore, there are two research purposes for writing this paper: first, in the mass consumer category, yogurt as a traditional advantage category, how to do probiotic product innovation? Looking at other categories of food and beverage, how to use probiotics for product innovation? Second, in the specialized consumer category, how to make innovations in solid drinks, capsules and other nutritional supplements and solutions, whether to rely on strains or break the circle, and whether it is expected to break the circle from the niche to the mass consumer market?


Therefore, there are four parts in this article

1. What is the underlying logic of probiotic product innovation and development opportunities?

2. How is Volkswagen probiotics innovating and what are they doing in the advanced market?

3. What are the key points of probiotics product innovation in professional line? What kind of probiotics products are being developed in developed markets?

4. Where are the opportunities of probiotic product innovation in China?


1、 What is the underlying logic of probiotic product innovation and development opportunities?

1. Functional consumer demand has entered the dividend period in China, and the improvement of health concept cognition shows functional focus and vertical crowd focus

People who are deeply engaged in the field of food and beverage almost see that the domestic functional consumer market is ready to develop, including probiotics, dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids and peptide related, traditional tonic food and food with certain ingredients removed.


More and more Chinese people are willing to “pay attention to health preservation” through various ways, such as dietary supplements, dietary supplements, sports fitness, adjustment of daily life, Chinese herbal medicine conditioning and so on, so as to maintain their health to the greatest extent. The concept of “prevention is greater than treatment” for diseases is deeply rooted in people’s hearts. People pay more attention to the mental health, digestive health and metabolic health related to their own health Sports health, skin health, brain health and so on.


According to the market research data of AI media consulting, as of December 2019, the willingness of Chinese consumers to choose health care methods from high to low are dietary supplements (57.8%), dietary supplements (48.6%), sports fitness (35.3%), regular work and rest (26.9%), TCM conditioning (14.6%) and others (11.9%). The functional preferences of health food consumption from high to low were nutrition supplement (67.9%), traditional nourishing (37.7%), beauty and body shaping (28.3%), disease maintenance (27.4%), eyesight and decompression (19.8%), endocrine regulation (17.0%) and pregnancy preparation (10.4%).


The daily consumption demand under the functional trend is increasing. Horizontally, the consumer market is undergoing wider popularization and user fission. Vertically, consumers’ demand for single function is gradually becoming systematic and professional in terms of cognition and acceptance. People’s attitude towards health care is more scientific and objective. The consumption environment of functional nutrition supplement is undergoing a benign transformation.


With the enhancement of people’s awareness of health and the extension of products, the penetration rate of “health preservation” concept in the consumer market is unprecedented. People use “health” to examine the nutritional components of products, and pay attention to the processing degree, main raw materials and publicity points of products. Consumers’ demands for nutrition and health care are gradually changing from the nutrition and health care products on the shelves of pharmacies to the food consumer goods on the shelves of supermarkets.


People’s demand for food and beverage products is gradually developing to natural health and functionality, especially not satisfied with “health without burden”, but also meet the daily functional needs in daily diet, including intestinal function, immune health, bone nutrition, brain function, sleep health, improving metabolism and other functional needs.

Health needs upgraded to functional needs, photo source: foodplus research team


According to our observation, functional products are expanding supermarket shelves and transforming into simpler functional foods. Based on specialty rather than concept, and can meet the diversity of functional needs, it is the basis of meeting the current functional consumption needs.

In terms of sub category development, according to the degree of functional specialization, OTC drugs, nutrition and health care products, dietary supplements and functional foods are weakened in turn, but at the same time, the audience groups of the product categories are also doubled in geometric order. According to the market growth and market share, the herbal dietary supplements, mineral supplements, vitamin supplements and other categories have the longest development history At present, the market share of the category with the most mature consumer cognition is over 10 billion, but the growth rate is low. The sub categories of nutritional supplement drinks, OTC weight loss drugs, sports nutrition, probiotics and so on are the “star categories” of the current domestic functional consumer market, which have the development potential of fast growth and market space has not yet been fully opened.

In terms of specific efficacy, consumers pay attention to daily functional scenes, and the health awareness of tonic promotes functional foods to be distributed in the consumer market like capillaries, with less illness and more health.

In terms of crowd and scene, it is more focused and subdivided, such as children’s immunity, maternal and infant nutrition during pregnancy, women’s beauty, elderly digestion and metabolism and bone health.

In terms of functional ingredients, natural raw materials, botanical ingredients with the same origin of medicine and food, and tonic food categories are more recognized by domestic consumers, highlighting the applicability to the target population and botanical or natural raw materials.

From the product point of view, the product development path presents “capillarization”, which is reflected in diversification, multi category, multi-function, multi scene, multi-channel and so on.

From the perspective of consumer users, the younger core groups include not only the “post-80s and post-90s” who have entered the middle age, but also the “post-00s” and “post-10s” who are in the prime of their youth. This group of people who pay attention to functionality and consumption regimen are also the main groups in the consumer market.


To sum up, probiotics have a larger market share than emerging products due to their cultivation degree and long-standing relationship. The growth rate of probiotics is faster than nutrition supplement products under consumption upgrading. Probiotics are not a single nutrient, but a collection of beneficial living bacteria. There are more opportunities for further innovation under consumption upgrading, and the products are more flexible Product categories can be flexibly applied and combined. In China and around the world, probiotics have become one of the most acceptable functional ingredients for consumers.


2. In the past five years, domestic consumers have paid close attention to intestinal health, and intestinal health-related food has become the daily diet tendency of Chinese people

According to the food categories and functional components highly related to intestinal health, we pull out the trend of Baidu Index in recent ten years to observe the change of people’s attention. We can see that people’s attention to intestinal health has gradually increased since 2014, and 2016 ushered in the blowout period of intestinal functional health product market.

Attention index of intestinal health food category, photo source: Baidu Index

Attention index of intestinal health functional components, image source: Baidu Index


First, from the perspective of product categories, yogurt and oats show a gentle upward trend with obvious periodicity, which are relatively mature categories related to intestinal function; the new “super food” recognized by consumers are quinoa and Kia seeds rich in dietary fiber.


From 2014 to 2016, it showed a gentle upward trend of attention. After 2016, the degree of attention increased significantly, and showed obvious cyclical changes. The sales volume of “synbiotic” infant probiotics granules increased steadily from 2016 to 2018. It is reasonable to believe that these two foods have a high level of market cultivation, and have become “super food” recognized by consumers.


Secondly, probiotics and dietary fiber are the two most concerned functional components, but the logic of the two components is very different.


Dietary fiber is more reflected in the food itself, for example, a certain food is rich in dietary fiber; probiotics is a “probiotics +” mode because of its functional diversity. For example, a certain product focuses on the benefits of adding a certain probiotics to the body. Among them, the attention of probiotics showed an obvious “sudden rise” from 2016 to 2018. During the same period, the sales volume of “synbiotic” infant probiotics granules increased steadily. The sales volume of synbiotic probiotics terminal consumer goods increased by 29.82%, 54.84% and 33.63% respectively from 2016 to 2018.


Thirdly, people’s attention to intestinal health is cyclical, with a cycle of one year and a peak in summer. From February, March to July and August every year, it is on the rise, and from September to January the next year, it shows a downward trend. In summer, people pay the most attention to intestinal function, and mature categories are the most obvious. It can also be used as the judgment basis of market segmentation whether there is obvious periodicity.


3. Immune health is driven strongly after the epidemic, probiotics both digestive health and immune health become the propensity of consumer choice

Affected by COVID-19, the health of the body’s function has attracted worldwide attention in a very short time, especially as the first health barrier, and the intestinal health that helps to absorb and detoxify.


As the largest digestive organ and the most important immune organ, the maintenance of intestinal health has naturally become an unavoidable problem in current health care, and it is also the most extensive functional demand of the market audience. And there’s more to the gut than that.


For example, intestinal signaling factors make it a virtual endocrine organ, which can be said to be the largest organ that can promote the circulation of signaling factors in the host body; bacterial metabolites (such as short chain fatty acids, lipopolysaccharide, vitamins and polyphenols) that can cross the intestinal epithelial barrier contribute to or interfere with the function of extraintestinal organs or tissues; immune cells start in the intestine and activate in the small intestine The nervous system can transmit signals from the gut to the brain, thus interfering with brain activity.


In addition to the gut itself, intestinal health also involves mental, cardiovascular, metabolic, immune and musculoskeletal health, which is crucial to health and plays an important role in diseases.


Shuanghuanglian oral liquid, Banlangen and other proprietary Chinese medicine OTC were snapped up during the epidemic period, which is a manifestation of people’s focus on improving immunity and preventing diseases. Probiotics have various functions and are an important component of functional food. When probiotics enter the intestinal tract, they will have complex relationships with the original intestinal flora, such as habitat, symbiosis, metaplasia, competition and phagocytosis, and ultimately play a role in promoting the health of the body. At present, there are more than ten kinds of probiotics, whose main functions include lowering blood sugar, antioxidation, preventing infection, improving immunity and so on.


As a branch of functional food, probiotics have two obvious advantages: one is functional label, but among many functional products, probiotics are one of the most mature categories in market cultivation, with mature market cultivation stage and high popularity of science and specialty; the other is that probiotics can be used as a transitional category of professional functional products and mass consumer goods, with great potential to break the circle of mass consumption.


However, in contrast to the development process of probiotics products, “probiotics addition” has always been the innovation of dairy products and supplements in a “self-discipline” way. At present, the mass consumer goods have cut in one after another, making the topic of probiotics innovation hot. Therefore, there are some problems worthy of in-depth consideration. For example: is the epidemic catalyzing the mass innovation of probiotics? Before and after the epidemic, has the demand for probiotic products been over amplified? If not, where is the baseline of product innovation and what is the underlying logic?


Definition of probiotics: after 2000, probiotics were defined and described by industry standards and expert groups at home and abroad. From the rough level of “bacteria beneficial to human and animals” to explain live bacteria, dead bacteria, bacterial components and metabolites, probiotics were revised to “play a healthy role in the host by ingesting a sufficient number of active microorganisms”. The key lies in microorganisms and living organisms Sex and health.


China’s health and Family Planning Commission issued a total of 8 probiotics, covering 33 strains. Among them, 13 probiotics have been used in yogurt products, while 7 probiotics, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus fermentum, Bifidobacterium brevis and Lactobacillus reuteri, are allowed to be added to infant food.

List of probiotics allowed to be added to food and beverage, source: health and Family Planning Commission


The concept of probiotics began around 2000, with the development and popularization of yogurt products, it has become one of the most mature functional ingredients in the functional market. The concept that yogurt helps digestion and probiotics are beneficial to intestinal health is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Since 2014, people have paid more attention to the concept, food and ingredients related to intestinal health, which also prompted more and more food and beverage to add probiotics, and even emphasized the specific strains, strains and functions added in products.


In the field of popular product line, on the one hand, yogurt products, as the biggest contributor to the popularization of probiotics, use probiotics to upgrade functional products; on the other hand, probiotics are added to snacks, beverages, pet food, feed, beauty products and other consumer products to improve digestive function or immune function.


This phenomenon generally developed from the concept of probiotics easy to gut. On the one hand, it indicates that probiotics products will gain a higher market popularity and have the potential to develop into advanced professional functions; on the other hand, it promotes probiotics products to extend from yogurt, Lactobacillus drinks and other dairy products to more consumer products, including beverages, leisure snacks, children’s snacks, pet food, etc.


2、 How is Volkswagen probiotics innovating and what are they doing in the advanced market?

In the NBJ supplement business report released by Nutrition Business Journal in 2019, one of the data is particularly eye-catching, and makes industry observers deeply worried: the growth rate of probiotic supplement sales has dropped from 17.1% in 2017 to 17.1% in 2018 But according to our observation, it’s more about the composition and form of products than about consumers. People don’t give up probiotics. They just want them to appear in more daily foods than in tablets and capsules.


This is also reflected in many functional foods in China. People’s requirements and demands for daily diet are gradually increasing. The mass line consumer food on supermarket shelves is “delicious + ingredients with light heat burden + beneficial to a certain extent” to meet the current needs of consumers’ Buddhist regimen, and is deeply loved by consumers.


In the early stage, probiotics began to be commercialized and industrialized with the launch of Danone yogurt and Yakult. In the field of consumer goods, Danone first claimed the concept that fermented food and its bacteria (not known as probiotics at that time) can target the intestinal tract and its flora and bring health to people. At that time, the definition of probiotics was not clear, and there was no clear standard.


So far, with the progress of science and technology in the field of intestinal flora, it has developed into the concept of “precision probiotics”. Precision probiotics will be customized according to the user’s diet, phenotype, lifestyle, age, gender, gene and flora. The first product case is yogurt fermented with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. At present, the main application of probiotics in the field of food in China is to add probiotics to infant milk powder, yogurt and beverage.


1. Applied innovation of dairy products

Probiotics have been used in the field of food and beverage for a long time, and gradually developed, and the commercialization of probiotics has also been very mature. The first category is dairy products. People’s first thought is yogurt and lactic acid bacteria drinks. It is these two categories that have become the biggest contributors to the cultivation of probiotics market.


The product image of yogurt containing probiotics to help digestion is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. In the past, most of the yogurt products were low-temperature yogurt products added with Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus to produce beneficial flora through fermentation. Now yogurt products can be differentiated by specific strains and strains, and have been well received by the market.


For example, Mengniu Dairy has successively launched “Guanyi milk” with animal Bifidobacterium Bb-12 and “European style charcoal baked” yogurt with Bifidobacterium Lactobacillus V9. Probiotics have become an effective way to forge yogurt product differentiation by innovating the functionality, product form, taste and taste of yogurt products.


Among the lactic acid bacteria drinks, “Yakult” in Japan is a typical representative, which has a long history. In 1930, Japanese scientist mitsuzuki Daida intensified the cultivation of Lactobacillus casei strain shirota in the laboratory, and began to produce and sell the “Yakult type lactobacillus milk drink” with Lactobacillus casei strain in 1935. After more than 80 years of development, “Yakult” has entered 38 countries and regions in the world, and has grown into a multinational giant in the global probiotic industry, with a global sales volume of nearly 15 billion bottles in 2019.


In 2002, “Yakult” began to enter the Chinese mainland market. In 2019, it sold 2 billion 747 million bottles, and the 2011-2019 year sales volume of CAGR was 21.1%. The growth rate of 2019 alone was 7.5%. Lactic acid bacteria beverage is also a sub domain of major domestic dairy enterprises. After Weiquan launched “Weiquan active lactic acid bacteria”, Mengniu “Youyi C” and Yili “meiyitian” are also widely welcomed by consumers. It can be explained from the side that China’s consumer market has a high acceptance of probiotic products.

Sales of Yakult in China from 2011 to 2019, source: public information


Domestic dairy products have invested a lot of energy in the application and research and development of probiotic products. From superior strains to patented strains, from foreign introduction to independent research and development, both large and new dairy enterprises are using probiotics for product innovation in terms of functionality and taste.


In the process of the transformation from “yogurt products contain probiotics” to “yogurt products contain probiotics / probiotics”, it is not difficult to see that yogurt, as a daily consumer category, is constantly improving in functional specialization. With the popularization of probiotics in product innovation, a wider range of consumer products, such as snacks, beverages, pet snacks, begin to add probiotics to highlight the health characteristics or safety of products Functional.


In the product application innovation of probiotics in Volkswagen line, including the “probiotics / strains +” mode of yogurt products and the “probiotics + X” mode of other daily food and beverage products.


First of all, yogurt products are the core application products in dairy products. At present, the application of strains can be roughly divided into three application dimensions: the first layer is the basic fermentation strains contained in almost all yoghurt products – Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus; the second layer is the application of functional strains. Since 2015, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus have been used as functional strains, and become the innovation trend of probiotic yoghurt products The third layer is to improve the taste of the product strains.

Source: public information


Domestic probiotic yogurt innovation case: at present, domestic dairy enterprises use probiotic yogurt for product innovation, which is mainly reflected in functional innovation and taste innovation.


In the aspect of functional innovation, eight beneficial strains are mainly used, including Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus paracasei. According to the statistics of probiotic yogurt ingredients on the market, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium are the most widely used functional strains.


Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus paracasei contributed to the difference of yogurt taste. Functional probiotic yoghurt can be divided into adding patent strains and adding multi strains.

Single strain + functional innovation: at present, domestic dairy enterprises mainly use Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium in functional innovation. For example, the animal Bifidobacterium Lactobacillus subsp. Lactis Bb-12 added to Mengniu “Guanyi milk” series has potential benefits on gastrointestinal tract and immune function, and the Bifidobacterium Lactobacillus bl-99 added to Yili “Changqing” series has been independently researched and developed by Yili for 8 years. It is originated from infant intestines and can promote the growth of Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria in intestines, enhance the intestinal peristalsis of host and promote the growth of host The main pepsin excretion was the former.

Compounding bacteria + compounding function: Yili Changqing series also combines the latter’s multi bacteria compounding mode. At present, in addition to two basic fermentation bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus), three healthy functional bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus Vanilli) are added to the single yogurt with the most probiotic bacteria Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus casei with good taste;

The probiotic lb-8 added to new hope dairy is actually a combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Chinese invention patent ZL 2008 1 0023014. X) independently developed by new hope dairy and Bifidobacterium HN019 introduced from DuPont to strengthen the regulation of gastrointestinal function;

Similarly, Inner Mongolia brand Langge’s “baqijun” series covers eight beneficial strains, including Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, etc., which are jointly used to improve gastrointestinal function.

Function innovation + scene Innovation: Jane Eyre launched the “body knows” with LGG Lactobacillus rhamnosus in 2017, and CASS launched the “one hour after meal” with C-I Bifidobacterium. The two products are yogurt products for postprandial scenes, which are different from the thick taste of most yogurt. These two postprandial yogurt are products with strong liquid fluidity, which taste sour, sweet and more delicious It’s like a drink. Yili Changqing introduces “postprandial lightness” with Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis and dietary fiber.


Category Innovation: Jane Eyre launched the “paternal formula” children’s yogurt, creating the first healthy children’s yogurt in China, with a total of three types. The first type is% sugar, followed by 2% sugar cane candy and 4% sugar cane candy and vegetables. Probiotics and fruit and vegetable ingredients are imported from abroad.

Taste Innovation: the main purpose is to enhance the strong and fragrant taste. Firstly, Lactococcus lactis is added, such as JUNLEBAO kefir room temperature yogurt, Yili Pareti, Guangming Shishi, uno, Jane Eyre formula children’s yogurt; secondly, Lactobacillus casei is added, such as Cass Series.


The innovation of probiotics in foreign yoghurt products is many years earlier than that in China. It is a commonplace to use probiotics for product innovation. At present, probiotics is a common and common health ingredient in foreign food consumer goods industry. Most brands regard “health”, “nutrition”, “natural” and “function” as the core cornerstone of products and brands, especially yoghurt The body is based on the category of health function.


For example, Danone launched probiotic infant milk powder, chobani launched probiotic herbal juice, and foreign probiotic yogurt innovation paid more attention to the ecological pattern of mutual benefit between products and brands. These important dairy companies are using probiotics to change consumers’ inherent impression that they are a yogurt company. Break through the category limit of yogurt, make the product pattern more ecological, how to use probiotics product line to assist the positioning of brand style and product positioning.

Danone is a leader in the yoghurt industry. In 1987, Danone launched the probiotic yoghurt brand “Activia” containing Bifidobacterium longum. This series of Functional Yoghurt aims to improve the intestinal digestion health. After that, Danone’s probiotics application innovation in other product lines also began to add Bifidobacterium research and development and application.

At the same time, Danone is also one of the consumer brands most concerned about maternal and infant health and nutrition. At present, the business line covers dairy products, drinking water and maternal and infant products. It is an international leading CpG brand with strong R & D capability. At present, the sub categories of yogurt business include children’s yogurt, plant yogurt and functional yogurt. At present, Danone’s probiotics products cover infant milk powder, yogurt, and its brands Actimel and Activia.

Danone has 1800 unique strains, including 193 strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium lactis, which are currently stored in the biological resource center of Pasteur Institute (crbip).

Chobani is a representative innovative dairy enterprise. In early August 2020, two probiotic product lines will be launched, namely, probiotic yogurt “chobani complete” and probiotic herbal juice tea “chobani probiotic”.

Among them, the design of probiotic yoghurt products is advanced nutrition and natural without addition. Each yoghurt is added with probiotics and prebiotics, 3G dietary fiber, 15g or 17g protein, involving 20 kinds of amino acids and other essential nutrients. It has the characteristics of 0 sugar and 0 addition, and all of them highlight the healthy positioning of the brand. The product specifications are set with cup (cup type yoghurt), shake (yoghurt drink) and tub (bucket type yoghurt) ), suitable for a variety of consumption scenarios.

“Chobani probiotic” is a series of probiotic flavor drinks with organic juice and herbs. There are four flavors in this series: Lemon + ginger, pineapple + turmeric, peach + Mint, cherry + hibiscus tea. It has effervescent and foaming taste, and improves immunity by adding probiotics.

“Chobani complete” and “chobani probiotic” product series, source: chobani official website

Meiji, the leader of functional yogurt. The products include pa-3 yoghurt for lowering uric acid value, LG21 yoghurt for protecting intestines and stomach and inhibiting the growth of Helicobacter pylori, R-1 yoghurt for preventing influenza, SC-2 yoghurt for anti ultraviolet beauty, etc.


Meiji functional yogurt product diagram, image source: Internet


Clio snakes, a new brand completed financing in August 2020, mainly produces refrigerated Greek yogurt bars containing probiotics. The product is made of full fat Greek yoghurt, which is rich in probiotics and wrapped in dark chocolate, so as to organically combine the nutritional and health properties of protein bar with the benefits of probiotics in yoghurt. In addition, a single Clio snakes contains more than 8g protein and about 170 calories.

Clio snakes product image, image source: Clio official website


2. Non Dairy “probiotics +” Applied Innovation

In the past year, probiotics product trends occurred repeatedly. In China, the innovative chocolate brand “dairiheiqiao” has completed two rounds of financing for sugar free healthy chocolate with dietary fiber prebiotics. In the first half of 2020, the three leisure snack brands “three squirrels”, “liangpin shop” and “baicaowei” have successively distributed children’s products and launched new brands “Xiaolu blue”, “liangpin xiaoshixian” and “Tong’an children” respectively, Without exception, the “probiotics” yogurt bean products.


The catering agency brand “wonderlab” has launched probiotic blue bottles containing Bifidobacterium Lactobacillus b420. In the field of maternal and infant specialty, Heinz, Garbo, English and Xiaopi have also launched probiotic children’s food. In 2020, Heinz will launch synbiotic children’s snacks that are conducive to children’s growth of Fos + GOS, and the use of pet snacks and feeds.


In July 2020, the company released probiotics flavored daily nuts and daily nuts oatmeal. Based on nuts, the company launched a combination of intestines: Probiotics + prebiotics (dietary fiber). The product ecology of Qiaqia food is similar to that of foreign leading consumer brands. Especially since the introduction of nuts, Qiaqia has paid close attention to the safety, health and functionality of food in the process of developing new products . “Ecological view” consumption brand.

Children’s probiotics popular line products, image source: Internet


At the same time, foreign non dairy probiotics innovation is common. Probiotic snack product innovations include “sipahh” probiotic straws in Australia, Tyson’s “pack” probiotic one mouthful snack, Meiji and morinago’s Bifidobacterium chocolate in Japan, olly, a functional soft candy brand of Unilever, probiotic + probiotic soft candy products, and Glico’s Probiotic biscuit.


The innovation of probiotic beverage includes Kombucha tea products with high market recognition but low brand concentration, and popular brands include kevita, GTS, Suja, etc.; wine giant constellation group invests in “karma” probiotic water.


On the demand side of products, consumers hope that they can find food and drink containing probiotics, whether it’s three meals a day or snacks. Consumer demand is changing from supplements to simple products.


On the supply side of products, probiotics can be formulated into a variety of non dairy products due to the emergence of robust, spore forming probiotic strains. Endospores formed in bacteria can naturally protect bacteria from the threat of the environment. In addition, new technologies can change the status of probiotics by using the characteristics of spores, which is undoubtedly a great progress and provides more choices for consumers.


The application innovation of probiotics at home and abroad can be roughly divided into broad sense and narrow sense: broad sense innovation is to create a product innovative layout of probiotics + other auxiliary ingredients, such as probiotics + prebiotics, probiotics + low sugar, probiotics + herbal ingredients, probiotics + nutrients and other forms including compound nutrition and spanning multiple categories; narrow sense is the development of probiotics products themselves Innovation points, such as the application of specific probiotics and the optimization and customization of their mechanism, and the optimization of product functionality or taste by probiotics.



3、 Specialized probiotics products: the road of innovation and breakthrough of professional tonics

Probiotics professional line products, different from consumer products with health concept, mainly refer to probiotics tablets, capsules and granules produced by professional biopharmaceutical companies to supplement a variety of intestinal beneficial and active microorganisms.


According to the population: the elderly, children, pregnant women, adults, women; according to the application of strains can be divided into Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus coagulans and so on.


In terms of product categories, the product solutions mainly focus on tonics and supplemented by personalized customized services. The product categories include three categories: solid granules, capsules and granules.


By brand type, there are two kinds of probiotic solution brands in domestic and foreign professional lines: consumer brand and R & D brand.


In addition, the number of colonies of professional products is much higher than that of consumer food. Generally speaking, a portion of ordinary food can provide about 1 billion CFU of probiotics, while a supplement capsule can provide 50-75 billion CFU of probiotics.


In the probiotics segment, the brand concentration is relatively high, and the product form is relatively mature, but there is also a lack of innovation. Taking children’s probiotics drops as an example, the product brands in the segment market are concentrated on the famous brands such as Bao, kangcuile and difulie, and the product form is relatively mature. In addition to the number of colonies per unit and the concept of probiotics, each product has its own specific strains And strains.


But it can be seen from the unit price that the ingredients are simple, and the price of drops with unique patented strains is higher. Synbiotics will also launch probiotics drops for children in 2020. The main probiotics and strains are Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, with a high viable count of 62.5 billion. However, synbiotics are mainly imported from Lallemand and DuPont, including Bifidobacterium infantis r0033, Lactobacillus helveticus r0052, Bifidobacterium bifidum r0071, Bifidobacterium lactis bi-07, Lactobacillus rhamnosus hn001 and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019.

Mainstream product of probiotics drops for children in domestic market, photo source: foodplus research and analysis team


In China, professional brands include well-known foreign brands, domestic Biopharmaceutical Enterprises and suppliers with R & D capabilities. Foreign well-known brands include “life space” in Australia, “Mami AI” in South Korea and “kangcuile” in the United States; domestic well-known probiotic brands and products include Leli, Jiangzhong pharmaceutical, Chinese Academy of Sciences, heshengyuan, xiaokuihua, modified pharmaceutical, Tomson Beijian, keto Hengtong and ANGLI in Jiaotong University.


In foreign countries, we see many innovative companies doing probiotics professional product innovation, it should be said that in terms of functional supplements, foreign innovative companies have been doing well, and it is easy to get out.


For example, sun genomics, which has just completed a round of US $8.65 million financing, has its flagship product flor é series, including flor é tots series for children aged 0-12 and flor é gut series for adults. Based on gene sequencing technology and its own probiotics repository, it can customize probiotics solutions and products for users. There is a 700000 probiotic strains repository, which is used to customize probiotic products for users.

Sun genomics product map, photo source: Sun genomics website


In addition, there are also innovations worth mentioning in probiotic product technology. For example, duocap capsule in capsule. The external capsule containing probiotics formula is dissolved and released to help the growth of probiotics, and then the internal capsule containing probiotics culture is dissolved again to improve the ability of probiotics to reach the intestinal tract. In the formulation of probiotics + prebiotics, it is a very effective product innovation to make probiotics reach the intestines alive and give full play to their effectiveness, although only efforts have been made in packaging.


The probiotics professional solutions in foreign countries present a trend of bigger brand pattern, more subdivided categories, more professional and more personalized innovation compared with domestic probiotics.


In comparison, domestic innovative products of specialized supplements are still in a relatively rough stage. There are roughly two ways to break through. One is the “hard core breakthrough” of strain technology. Through the professional and academic development of cutting-edge sub disciplines, technical barriers are raised, including the accurate application of strain and strain, customization based on intestinal mechanism, etc.; the other is the “territory opening” of product users, which is based on the development of intestinal mechanism Probiotics professional brand endorsement, expansion of simple probiotics consumer goods, take the opportunity to break the circle of mass consumption.


The cases of “opening up territory” of domestic professional lines include Biopharmaceutical Enterprises or health product enterprises (Jiangzhong lactobacillus tablets, amendment adult probiotics solid beverage, small sunflower probiotics solid beverage, Tomson Beijian children probiotics granules), academic institutions (Chinese Academy of Sciences xinsilian solid granules), probiotics suppliers with R & D capabilities (keto Hengtong yishiyou Series) , Jiaotong University – ONLEY probiotics) have launched probiotics daily supplement products.


Taking Jiangzhong as an example, in June 2020, Jiangzhong obtained and adopted the exclusive strain Lactobacillus plantarum P9, which is extracted from natural fermented sour porridge in Inner Mongolia prairie. It can inhibit pathogenic bacteria, improve the stability of intestinal flora, and is more suitable for Chinese intestinal environment.


Biopharmaceutical companies take the lead in adopting local strains instead of well-known strains imported from abroad, which leads to two thoughts: first, the function of local strains is no worse than that of well-known imported strains, and it may be more applicable; second, the adoption of new strains by pharmaceutical companies may lead to the change trend of probiotic food and beverage ingredients.


According to public information, a number of patented probiotic strains and strains from keto Hengtong have been applied in pharmaceutical enterprises, food and beverage enterprises, feed and animal husbandry and other fields. In addition, many famous brands in the industry have begun to apply these patented strains suitable for local Chinese intestines. It is reported that keto Hengtong has cooperated with several biopharmaceutical companies, such as sunflower, Jiangzhong, Yunnan Baiyao, lvshou, etc., to develop Mengniu Yili Guangming.

Source: prospectus


It is worth mentioning that the transitional probiotic products based on professional supplements and traditional consumer goods are also the fusion zone of professional and non professional mentioned above.

Probiotics in the form of supplements in consumer brands, photo source: Internet


For example, gkm3 probiotics are added to super patch’s “hold life king” to promote gastrointestinal peristalsis and prevent heat accumulation before and after meals. Sinetrol citrus powder fat crushing technology is adopted. Wonderlab, a food substitute brand, introduces probiotics small blue bottles. Traditional food and beverage brands also use the opportunity to launch solid drinks in functional scenes, with Yili and JUNLEBAO in the company Jiaotong e-commerce company launched “yixiaojun” probiotic solid beverage and n1115 probiotic solid beverage. Japanese brand Suntory also launched adult Bifidobacterium solid powder in tmall.



4、 Based on probiotics innovation, explore the way and key points for domestic probiotics product innovation


Here, we can see the emergence of probiotic products at home and abroad, and the foreign innovative products and paths are bright. But not all of them are suitable for the current consumption stage, consumer groups and the consumer demand derived from probiotics products in China.


We believe that in the application of probiotics products, innovation should first conform to the nature of a consumer product, secondly conform to the current domestic consumption demand, and thirdly have stronger adaptability.


First of all, as a food, the basis of the product is to conform to the consumption scene, consumption mind and delicious taste. The Buddhist regimen lifestyle of domestic consumers and core consumer groups will not buy or even buy bad food because of its strong functionality; it is still necessary to establish appropriate products through precise marketing and channels.


Secondly, as a functional food, the barrier of professional products is too high. Under the current situation of national health, it has more advantages to develop simple products with stronger applicability.


Thirdly, as a functional ingredient, probiotics are popular and have a high degree of market acceptance, but they are still at a simple and rough level, and they do not need professional daily supplements. From 2016 to 2019, the growth rates of ANGLI No.1 and ANGLI probiotics exceeded 20% and 6% respectively, but by 2019, the sales volume of these two main products only reached 200000 and 3050000 respectively.


In terms of domestic probiotics product innovation suggestions, we can not give a unified proposal, at least at the branch stage and brand type.


1. Give suggestions according to the type of development stage of the company


For innovative companies, we suggest that:

1) In terms of strains, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus plantarum are mature and widely applicable in the application of functional food, and there is still room for growth, so they can be used as the entry strains of preferred products. Among them, the application of Bifidobacterium lactis is mature, combined with specific functionality and product selling points, the market space of subdivided categories is relatively larger.

2) Focus on the pain points of segmentation, focus on a certain crowd, a certain scene, rather than taking care of all the crowd to provide basic functions. The more favorable direction is to promote digestion and absorption before and after meals and reduce the heat burden.

3) Among the non dairy products, beverage and leisure Zero food have broad application space.


For mature companies, we suggest that:

1) It is necessary to establish independent R & D capability and own its own strain library and user database. It is suggested to adopt probiotics research system of combination of production, study and research. On the one hand, it belongs to the company’s intangible assets from soft power to hard power. On the other hand, it can be followed up in time in terms of product applicability;

2) Combined with brand positioning, probiotics can be used to create a product pattern of healthy consumption brand. Probiotics products can be designed in combination with tonic, herbaceous and natural raw materials.


2. Give suggestions according to the efficacy and professional level of products and brands


For mass consumption companies, we suggest that:

1) The selling point of the product is simple and uncomplicated, and the product design should enhance the professionalism, especially the applicability to product positioning and the precise functionality to target users;

2) Probiotics complex reflects: a with probiotics is the best partner, B herbs with the same origin are loved by Chinese people, C rich in dietary nutrients, such as trace elements, high calcium, etc;

3) Probiotics efficacy is combined with consumption scenarios and the core categories of corresponding scenarios: on the one hand, it can focus on specific groups with a wide audience, such as white-collar workers’ digestive and metabolic burden. Consumers of probiotics products for children’s immunity and maternal and infant nutrition during pregnancy are still willing to choose professional brand products, but professional brand products need to be innovated.

On the other hand, the choice of products can focus on normal temperature drinks and functional snacks. Most probiotic drinks in the domestic market are low-temperature drinks. Limited by the requirement of probiotics to keep active in liquid, we can refer to the packaging design of probiotic powder and liquid separation and instant fusion, but we should consider the possibility that the unit CFU will decrease after being dissolved in water;

4) The functional application of dairy products in strains needs to be developed, especially the strains suitable for Chinese intestinal environment;

5) With the emergence of spore forming probiotics, probiotics can be formulated into various kinds of non dairy products.


For professional R & D companies, our suggestions are very limited, and we need continuous professional learning and observation. Only from the perspective of consumer goods, benefiting from the current high degree of consumer acceptance, there is a dividend period for professional brands

1) In the aspect of breaking the circle to the public line, it can extend to the outer layer of consumption through R & D and professional endorsement, and gain broader users and market share;

2) Establish and own their own probiotic strains library, and have the database of products and users on the product side;

3) In terms of professional line products, maternal and infant nutrition and children’s immunity products are aging, and there is a large space for innovation and upgrading.


To sum up, we have the following suggestions for probiotic consumer product manufacturers in the application and innovation of probiotic products:

1. Establish technical barriers and data barriers. On the one hand, we should increase the R & D investment and the cooperation of industry university research integration to establish the strain repository. On the other hand, we should establish the product user database to lay the foundation for the future precision probiotics and personalized customized products. This is also the hard power of the main probiotics product enterprises, and it is becoming more and more important. Probiotics from the concept to the initial market popularization, but the probiotics themselves are developing to precision probiotics, including strains, strains, probiotics efficacy response of different intestinal mechanisms under individual differences, as well as response measures. Personalization and customization are bound to become the mainstream direction of development;

2. In terms of applicability, we can cooperate with local suppliers and scientific research institutions. In terms of applicability, local probiotics are expected to replace imported probiotics. At present, 85% of probiotics in domestic products are purchased from abroad, but there are differences in genetic and dietary structure between China and the West. Compared with foreign strains, probiotics isolated from Chinese intestinal tract and Chinese traditional fermented food are more suitable for the characteristics of Chinese intestinal flora. The indigenous core strains such as Lactobacillus casei Zhang and Bifidobacterium lactis V9 are all self owned and independently studied in China. With the trend of import substitution of probiotics in Chinese market, domestic pharmaceutical companies have begun to use probiotics;

3. In terms of strains, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus plantarum are mature in the application of functional food, and there is still room for growth. Among them, the application of Bifidobacterium lactis is mature, and the market space of subdivided categories is relatively larger. In addition, the compound probiotics with multiple probiotics is also an innovative direction in the application of strains;

4. In product packaging and design, we need to combine the essence of product demand for innovation, such as product packaging scheme;

5. The higher quality of probiotics products is reflected in the compound strains and the more colonies in the unit;

6. The application space of spore forming probiotics is wide, especially in non dairy products;

7. In summer, as a period of strong demand for intestinal function products, seasonal products can be introduced appropriately to win more market share; on the other hand, how to open the demand for intestinal function products in autumn and winter when the demand is reduced can be regarded as the innovation starting point of manufacturers. ©FoodPlus

insight · insight is an article column launched by foodplus from time to time. It is mainly our insight into food entrepreneurship, subdivided categories or star food companies. It is characterized by long and in-depth articles. It is a column worthy of close reading.
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