Lumina Intelligence, launched recently by NutraIngredients’ parent company William Reed Business Media, offers granular data on products and ingredients, including online engagement data for 236 probiotic products linked to 82,000 consumer reviews.
Data from its new “Online engagement with probiotics in the United States” report indicated that 71% of probiotic products available online in the US use some kind of free-from claim, which is significantly higher than products in China, where only 16% of brands carry any kind of ‘free-from’ claim.
The topic of the gluten content of probiotics hit the headlines in 2015 when investigators at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) presented findings at Digestive Disease Week meeting in Washington, DC, that indicated that 12 of the 22 top-selling probiotics contained some traces of gluten in 12.
Experts from the International Probiotics Association were quick to point out that only one product in the study that made a gluten-free claim was found to contain the protein at an unacceptably high level. This was most probably linked to the manufacturing process and the use of excipients and growth media rather than ‘contamination’.
Gluten-free is the leading “free-from” claim made on probiotic products in the US, with 172 brand variants carrying the claim, compared to 109 brand variants with a soy-free claim, and 89 brand variants with a dairy-free claim.
By comparison, while the UK’s top ‘free-from’ claim is also gluten-free, the second most common claim in the UK is ‘wheat-free’. In China, gluten-free was again the top claim where any kind of claim is made, according to Lumina Intelligence data.
Online reviews: Purchase influencers
Consumers increasingly rely on reviews when purchasing online, which is why Lumina Intelligence tracks these.
According to a blog post at vendasta.com (updated Sept 2018):
1. 92% of consumers read online user reviews, compared to 88% in 2014
2. 88% of online shoppers integrate reviews into their purchase decision
3. 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading one to three reviews, compared to 29% in 2014
4. The top factor used by consumers to judge a business is "Star rating"
Health condition positioning and species
Lumina’s database also shows that the top health benefit positioning for probiotic products in the US is (unsurprisingly) digestive health, followed closely by immunity. Women’s health is a distant third, with general wellbeing and weight management rounding out the top five.
The most common species used in formulations for adults and children is Lactobacillus acidophilus (used in 12% and 15% of products, respectively), while L. rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, and L. plantarum also featured heavily for adult products. The rest of the top four most common strains used in children-specific products included B. longum, B. animalis, and L. rhamnosus.
The Lumina Intelligence platform, which is initially focused on probiotics and will soon expand to sports nutrition and sustainability, allows for users to customize their dashboard.
“There is a lot of customization available on the dashboard. They can research who their competitors are, where their competitor’s products are focused in terms of strains. They can also search to find all the science behind certain strains,” said Ewa Hudson Head of Market Insights – Lumina Intelligence.
ABOUT LUMINA INTELLIGENCE
Lumina Intelligence is an insights service delivering a unique perspective on high-growth food and nutrition markets brought to you by William Reed, publisher of food and drink news sites including Nutraingredients-USA and FoodNavigator-USA.
Lumina Intelligence has been created to equip the industry with tools to measure the evolution of science, online consumer engagement and regulation and its impact on product formulation, labelling and new product development.
Our aim is to help users pinpoint trends and opportunities in niche markets, helping maximize the chance for success for new product launches.
With data from over 20 countries, Lumina provides in-depth ingredient analysis and product labelling information across Probiotics, Sports Nutrition and Sustainability.