Lumina Intelligence gathered information from 316 products from 73 probiotic brands in the United States. The brands had updated their health claims between November 2019 and January 2020.
Lumina has a business model of capturing what consumers are saying about products online as a way to measure their actual sentiment about the products. Hard sales data gets at the same information in a cruder way—if few people buy a product it’s a good sign that they don’t like it. But Lumina’s approach can help companies find that information quicker, potentially in time to do something about it before the bad quarterly sales numbers come in.
The scope of the research on probiotics included the following categories: supplements, juice, kombucha and cosmetics.
The report collected information from both product packaging and websites. The researched products received 229,000 total customer reviews as of January 2020. This illustrates 200% growth from December 2017.
Lumina analyzed 290 products that carry health claims in the US. Of those, 98% make health claim references to probiotics, 9% to prebiotics, 6% to both vitamins and/or minerals and botanicals, and 1% to enzymes. Because one product can make a claim relating to more than one type of ingredient, the total is over 100%.
Whether online or on packaging, Lumina noted that overall, 92% of products carry a health claim in the US.
Health claims boost online engagement
The insights service found that products with a health claim were reviewed 218,000 times, while products without a claim were reviewed 11,000 times.
Products that carry a health claim also average a slightly higher star rating of 4.4 out of 5 compared to 4.3.
Lumina analyst Thomas Morgan, when discussing the service's data on sports nutrition products at the recent NutraIngredients-USA Sports Nutrition Summit in San Diego in January, said if people aren’t taking about and sharing about your product, you’re in trouble.
“Sixty-two percent of online buyers refer to reviews before making a decision,” Morgan said at the conference.
The number of reviews can be used in a predictive fashion to see which product categories are most at risk, he said.
“Product categories with the lowest reviews have the most chance of being dropped from sales platforms,” he said.
Lumina Intelligence is an insights service provided by William Reed, the publisher of NutraIngredients-USA. Lumina tracks products and online consumer reviews across 20 countries to provide insight into nutrition markets.