China Food

How important is it to be alive? The influence of focused probiotic “activity” on product development

“activity” of probiotics will be one of the core standards for the quality of probiotic products.
Throughout may, “activity” of probiotics became the focus of the industry.
On May 29, the probiotics prebiotics and health branch of the Chinese Nutrition Society released the “China probiotics prebiotics Consumer Research Report”. This report conducted a comprehensive quantitative study on consumers’ cognition, understanding and mutual differentiation of probiotics and prebiotics, as well as their needs for probiotics and prebiotics products. It was found that 59% of probiotics consumers agreed that “the more probiotics, the better, but there should be a daily upper limit”, 24% of probiotics consumers agree that “the more probiotics, the better, no upper limit”.
Picture source: 2022 “China probiotic prebiotic Consumer Research Report”
Previously, the China Nutrition and Health Food Association issued the group standard t/cnhfa
006-2022 “Specification for classification of the viable rate of probiotic food” to classify the viable rate of probiotic food. The highest standard is that when the probiotic food is stored for one-third of the shelf life under the conditions marked on the label, the viable rate of probiotics (the ratio of the total number of viable probiotics to the total number of probiotics added) is greater than or equal to 50.0%.
Source: food industry technology
This standard was initiated by the intestinal health standardization research alliance, with the participation of more than ten authoritative institutions such as the China food and Fermentation Industry Research Institute and the China Institute of standardization, as well as well-known probiotic products and raw material enterprises. It fully demonstrates and evaluates the production and application of probiotics, and has a strong industry representation.
The society and authoritative institutions also pay attention to the activity of probiotics, pushing the topic of “activity” of probiotics to the wind, causing a lot of social attention, which will have a far-reaching impact on the development trend of probiotic products in the future.
Probiotic “activity”
It will be one of the core standards of probiotic product quality
At present, the probiotic market is developing very rapidly. The data statistics of the “2020-2026 China’s Probiotic industry operation status and investment profit forecast report” released by Zhiyan consulting show that in 2019, the per capita consumption of probiotic supplements in developed countries such as Italy, the United States and Australia was $11.6, 6.8 and 6.3 respectively, while China’s per capita consumption was only $0.4, which has a very large market growth space. In 2022, the domestic probiotic market is expected to grow to 89.6 billion yuan, with a compound annual growth rate of 17.3%. In the next two years, it will become another market that has entered the scale of 100 billion level.

Source: Industrial Information Network

In the past two years, probiotics products have begun to touch all aspects of people’s lives. According to incomplete statistics, probiotics related products on e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, and pinduoduo cover various fields such as snack food, health food and daily chemical products.
Due to the imperfection of industry regulations and standards, the quality of probiotic products is uneven, and there is a large gap between the actual test value and the label value in the “activity” of probiotic
, which leads to the inconsistency between consumer expectations and reality, affecting the development of the whole industry.
Why is the “activity” of probiotics so important to the market? In terms of efficacy, it is found through experiments that eating more active probiotics is more effective for human health.
In a study on probiotics to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 55 volunteers over the age of 20 were randomly divided into placebo group, low-dose group, medium dose group and high-dose group.
The changes of IBS symptom scores after four weeks of intake of designated probiotics are shown in the following figure: in this study, compared with the baseline value, the severity scores of abdominal distension and poor excretion in bnr-l group, bnr-m group and placebo group have significant changes. In bnr-h group, the severity scores of all symptoms changed significantly (P < 0.05). For the abdominal pain score, the value change of bnr-h group from baseline to 4 weeks was significantly lower than that of placebo group (P = 0.020), and the degree of relief of abdominal pain symptoms in bnr-h group was greater than that in bnr-l group and bnr-m group.
Changes in symptom severity scores
(A) Abdominal pain; (B) Abdominal distension; (C) Feeling of poor excretion
Source: Food Science and Biotechnology
In the process of practical application, the requirements of scientific research and technology to maintain the activity of probiotics are also very high. Probiotics have been in the process of attenuation before colonization in the gut due to the impact of probiotics in the production and processing process, storage and transportation environment and gastrointestinal environment. One of the basic conditions for probiotics to play its role is to allow sufficient probiotics to reach the intestinal tract alive.
The longer the probiotics stay in gastric juice, the lower the survival rate, and the trend of accelerated decay.
Source: microbiology Bulletin
Therefore, ensuring that probiotics with a sufficient number of viable bacteria enter the human body and produce efficacy in intestinal colonization is the core standard for testing the quality of probiotic products.
Products with sufficient “high” number of live bacteria
More opportunities for consumers to choose
With the more specific definition of some elements of probiotic quality, consumers will have a more accurate estimate of the number of live bacteria of probiotic products in the current market, so that they can truly judge the value of products. Products with high added value will no longer be determined by the brand alone, but driven by the brand + number of live bacteria dual core to truly realize product upgrading and market share expansion. A sufficiently high number of live bacteria will become an essential killer.
From the perspective of trend, some probiotic brands have realized the impact of probiotic activity on the end market, and have begun to increase the number of live bacteria in response to future competition.
In the past half year, many well-known brands at home and abroad began to increase their market competitiveness by increasing the number of live bacteria, such as Junyi probiotics of Sinopharm group, Chenguan dairy bacteria Xiaobao, Mengniu Youyi C, etc., all launched probiotic supplements with an activity of more than 100 billion CFU / bar. In overseas countries, probiotic products such as trupretty and gifinary adopt the compound formula of multiple strains, raising the number of viable probiotics to an amazing 300billion CFU / piece.
Sinopharm Junyi probiotics
Amount of live bacteria added: ≥ 100billion CFU / piece
Picture source: Taobao Yichi Yunjin
Addition of live bacteria: ≥ 300billion CFU / piece, 20 probiotic strains
Image source: Amazon pretty support
At present, the main factor preventing the upgrading of the number of viable probiotics in the market is the cost of raw materials. Doubling the activity of probiotics means that the cost of products increases several times.
With the continuous upgrading of manufacturing technology by domestic probiotic raw material enterprises, the number of raw material living bacteria has reached trillions of CFU. Coupled with large-scale production, the raw material cost of highly active probiotics will be greatly reduced. It is believed that within half a year to one year, consumers can enjoy the health benefits brought by highly active probiotics at a low cost.
Under the condition of controllable cost, products with enough high viable count will be more competitive in the market. At the same time, products with high viable count are also market breakthrough opportunities for new brands of probiotics.
Activity detection standard closer to the “edible” link
More competitive products
As an important selection standard for consumers, the number of viable bacteria has not been unified in product application. All kinds of active labels make it more difficult for consumers to choose.
At present, the mainstream viable count labels of products on the market are mainly “production addition” and “factory inspection”, and some even only mark the viable count. Considering the loss of probiotic products in all links from production to consumption, the closer to the consumer consumption link, the higher the reliability of activity test data, and the more guaranteed the product quality.
Common labels of active probiotics
In 2001, the world food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (who) defined probiotics as follows: probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested in sufficient quantities, produce health benefits to the host. There are two requirements, “living microorganisms” and “sufficient quantity”.
It is not difficult to see that the “sufficient activity” of probiotics has become an insurmountable gap for probiotic products. From the perspective of Science in all links of probiotics research and development, production and processing, ensuring that probiotics products have enough live bacteria in the hands of consumers is an essential lesson for product sales, and it is also the goal of the probiotics industry.
Literature support:
(1) Food Science and Biotechnology volume 27, pages
853-857 (2018)

(2) Probiotics prebiotics consumer survey report, probiotics prebiotics and health branch of China Nutrition Society

(3) Screening of probiotic Lactobacillus in simulated human gastrointestinal environment, microbiology Bulletin
(4) FAO/WHO《食品益生菌评价指南》,中国食品卫生杂志
Source of cover image: Netcom reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);
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