Probiotic growth engine to continue humming for near future, UAS Labs exec says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Probiotic growth engine to continue humming for near future, UAS Labs exec says

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UAS Labs is well positioned to ride the wave of probiotic popularity and has responded with a tripling of its manufacturing capacity, CEO Kevin Mehring said.

“Probiotics are a booming category both domestically and internationally,” ​Mehring told NutraIngredients-USA. 

UAS Labs has increased the footprint of its facility in Wausau, WI from 15,000 to 45,000 square feet. The expanded facility includes more laboratory space, expanding manufacturing suites and fully integrated temperature and humidity controls that are monitored throughout the manufacturing process to ensure maximum cell viability. 

Mehring said the increased demand for probiotics is driven by a variety of factors, with an increasing pace of research leading the way.  The word “microbiome” seems to be on everyone’s lips these days, and it’s because of solid research results, he said.

“There has been incredible growth in clinical research on probiotics. There is new research coming out all the time exploring the incredible intricate relationships of this world of microbes and their effect on human health,” ​Mehring said.

Ad campaigns benefit all

Mehring said the category has also benefited in the US recently with high profile advertising campaigns that have made probiotics part of the common parlance. It has helped bring the visibility of the category in North America up to world standards, he said.

“Part of it is being in the right place at the right time,”​ Mehring said. “We are fortune in that we have had some major promotional dollars poured into the market that  have brought the American consumer up to speed. The Japanese and European markets have been ahead of us, but that is changing​.”

Consistent growth

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Mehring said that those promotial dollars and the booming research in the category will continue to support robust growth into the foreseeable future.  While dietary supplement sales growth overall has been sluggish in the past couple of years and some previously robust categories like omega-3s have faltered, probiotics have consistently outpaced that growth line.  It won’t end any time soon, he said.

“We are looking at low to mid double digit growth for the near future,” ​Mehring said. “Things look good. There is a solid suite of science that is expanding at a rapid rate. We ourselves are investing in gold standard placebo controlled, double blind trials that will be published soon.”

In house manufacturing

The goal for the expansion is to increase company’s capabilities to produce finished goods, Mehring said, while boosting quality control.

“Probiotics are interesting because it is very different than manufacturing an herbal supplement or a mineral supplement. You are dealing with a live organism and issues of viability. We have invested in a labyrinth of temperature and humidity controls to stabilize every stage of the manufacturing process,” ​Mehring said.

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