Jane Wolfe discovers how the probiotics sector is extending its reach far beyond digestive wellness – infiltrating numerous categories as the benefits are more widely researched and understood – and advancing inventive new formats

The probiotics market in the UK is predicted to register a CAGR of 5.6% during 2020-2025, according to Mordor Intelligence, representing the fastest growth in Europe in a sector dominated by dietary supplements and functional foods and drink.

The research firm highlights that lactose-intolerant consumers are one of the main drivers of growth but that probiotics are moving beyond digestive health to include areas such as immunity, skincare, oral health, slimming and sports endurance, adding: ‘They are proving to be one of the most versatile ingredients of all time’.

A global survey of 16,000 people conducted by Chr. Hansen to determine consumer awareness of probiotics and their potential benefits found 75% of respondents reported being very or somewhat familiar with these ‘good bacteria’ while 48% said they consume them daily or almost daily, either in supplements or foods. 

The popularity of probiotics is being boosted by consumer interest in their functional benefits, such as helping with gut and immune health and supporting the microbiome, the results suggest. Of those surveyed, 50% were familiar or very familiar with the term ‘gut microbiome’ and most associated it with digestive health, followed by immune health, wellbeing and general health.

However, some misconceptions remain (47% of consumers mistakenly thought that all dairy yoghurts contain probiotics) and 71% of respondents said they would be interested in learning more about probiotics and are interested in information around their health benefits and specific strains.

“Delivery technologies that protect strains and deliver them with greater accuracy will become a more important part of the probiotic category”

“The results of our survey highlight the importance of consumer education and encourage continuing efforts to work with the industry to provide this education,” says Lars Bredmose from Chr. Hansen, adding that May 2021 saw the firm’s launch of The Probiotics Institute – a global, science-based platform providing educational content on probiotics and their relationship to the human microbiome.

And as consumers do become more apprised of their benefits, they are exploring different ways to consume probiotics. “Innovations are being made in probiotic delivery formats,” says Mordor Intelligence. “The traditional dietary supplement format will remain the most vital, but new delivery technologies that protect strains and deliver them with greater accuracy will become a more important part of the probiotic category.”

Gut-friendly brews
Think probiotics, think kombucha – a product that can court controversy due to issues related to authenticity and production – from pasteurization, to fermentation time, storage and packaging – particularly since the multinationals have entered the sector.

Still, there is an impressive selection of independent brands to choose from, including: Old Kombucha – fermented for 40 days, this organic, raw collection includes Lemon, Green Tea and Hibiscus Ginger; Equinox, which offers a River Cottage range including Hedge Kombucha – fruity botanicals of sloes, rosehips and juniper berries with organic green tea to capture ‘the bittersweet notes of an autumn hedgerow’; and Pure Kombucha which uses herbs and teas sourced from eco-friendly farms throughout Asia to produce naturally carbonated kombucha, hand-crafted in Essex, with variants such as Ashitaba & Ginger and Bee Bread, Ashwagandha, Reishi Mushroom & Ginger. 

Alongside its collection of organic kombuchas, krauts and kimchis, Loving Foods has created an innovative line of fermented juices. “Our fermented vegetable juices are basically like concentrated health tonics,” says MD Adam Goldwater. “You won’t really find anything like this in the shops, they’re a unique product. Essentially, they are the leftover juices from our vegetable ferments. But in practice, they offer all of the same goodness – vitamins, enzymes and beneficial live bacteria – as our veggies, but it a handy drinkable package. When you don’t have time to eat, you can just have a quick shot and get a hit of probiotics without any of the fuss. They’re also great on salads and can be added to smoothies as well.”

Goldwater says the brand emerged from a desire to bring real, organic, fermented food and drink to as many people as possible. “After suffering from various health issues, including eczema, ulcerative colitis and IBS, my wife, brother-in-law and I started making fermented foods at home to help heal our guts.” The family business moved into a factory a few years ago and is now transferring to a unit three times the size ‘to cope with the growth’ and expand its range.

After suffering from
various health issues … my wife,
brother-in-law and I started
making fermented foods
at home to help heal our guts

Loving Foods’ USP is that everything is made exactly the same as it would be at home, ‘with no shortcuts’, says Goldwater. “We only use 100% organic fruit, veg, herbs and spices. Everything is fermented for at least three weeks and is always 100% raw and unpasteurized. We never heat treat anything as it kills all the bacteria and destroys the enzymes, but most other brands do because it makes them shelf-stable, cheaper to produce, easier to ship and easier to store. All our packaging is glass, we don’t use plastic for anything in contact with our food and drink. And we never, ever, use any artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives, stabilizers or thickeners.”

Interest in fermented food and drinks has definitely grown since the pandemic, Goldwater notes. “We were already seeing a lot of increased awareness through the media, with lots of stories on probiotics, gut health, the importance of organic food and drink, et cetera. But with all the press surrounding COVID and how important our immune systems are to our overall health, this has just accelerated what was already happening. So they were headed mainstream already, they’re just on their way there a little more quickly now.”

Targeted formulas
Probiotic supplements are continually evolving, with an increasing number of combination formulations targeting specific areas, for example Optibac’s Pregnancy, Travel Abroad and For Women; ProVen Probiotics’ Fit for School, Shapeline and CardioPro; and Fermento Probiotics’ Skin Calm and Immune Power. 

The role of probiotics in helping with depression and low mood is also gaining traction, with recent research by scientists at the University of Oxford showing that taking a probiotic (the trial used Bio-Kult) for four weeks improved mood and emotional processing.  

With this benefit in mind, Garden of Life’s MOOD+ Microbiome Formula is positioned as a ‘new approach to emotional health’ for those seeking to manage their mood. With clinically studied probiotics (16 strains and 50 billion CFU) in amounts shown to support mood and relaxation, the blend also includes prebiotic fibre from organic acacia, ashwagandha and Alaskan blueberries. The brand says what makes its Microbiome Formulas different is that ‘what we promise is what you get’ – live probiotic cultures, shipped in a two-shot desiccant-lined bottle to ensure the formula arrives alive and stays alive. All products are resistant to stomach acid and bile, ensuring proper arrival and activation in the intestines.

Sligo-based VOYA’s first foray into the VMS sector comes in the form of SEA OR Orplex Body and Hair, Skin & Nails Seaweed Food Supplements which both provide Lactobacillus and Bifido bacterium amongst their active ingredients, along with vitamins, minerals and ORPLEX marine complex containing two Irish seaweeds: immune-supporting Fucus serratus and iodine-rich Laminaria digitata. Talking about the supplement’s probiotic content, nutritionist Emma Bardwell says: “They happen to be the two most well researched strains when it comes to good bacteria and they’ve obviously been shown to help for things like gut health and digestion, but also for nutrient absorption, so they actually help us extract as much of the goodness from our food as possible and they also support your microbiome. Supporting that microbiome is really beneficial for things like mental health – it has a knock-on effect with our mood – and also impacts on things like hormone metabolism.”

On delivery
In the supplements category, fresh delivery methods are now emerging, with products such as Optibac Probiotics mixed berry flavour Adult Gummies containing Bacillus coagulans Unique IS-2, as well as the RDA of vitamin D, zinc and calcium. Positioning them as a tastier way to support gut and immune health, Optibac Probiotics co-founder Soraya Janmohamed comments: “We are … proud to be able to bring our company values to this exciting new format in the market. Adult Gummies have all the ingredients for success: gummy format, highly researched strain, added vitamin D, great taste, vegan, no hidden nasties, and all in eco-conscious packaging.”

Dr.OHHIRA’s Fermented Vegetable Extract combines vegetables, fruits, seaweeds and mushrooms naturally fermented with a mixture of 12 kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The blend goes through a five-year fermentation process based on ancient Japanese traditions and contains pH-balancing organic acids, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, oligosaccharides and amino acids to promote a healthy digestive pH and encourage the growth of an individual’s own unique flora. Available in packs of 30 x 2.5g, the liquid can be consumed directly from the sachet.

Other non-capsule formulas include: Trivas Probiotic Superfoods shakes – an organic superfood powder offering ten billion probiotic CFU’s per serving along with nootropic compounds 5-HTP, guarana and ginseng and digestive aids ginger, liquorice and aloe vera; Natures Aid easy-to-use sugar-free Kidz Pro-5 Daily Microbiotic Powder with five billion live organisms and eight strains of bacteria; and Microbz Bio-Live Sleep liquid which offers 15 families of live cultures fermented with a calming blend of herbs to aid restful sleep.

Supporting that microbiome is really beneficial for things like mental health … and also impacts on things like hormone metabolism

Recent innovations in kombucha formats include: Superfoods Company Instant Kombucha in powder form – infused with black tea and a dose of apple cider vinegar it comes in Grapefruit, Pomegranate and Mixed Berry flavours; Cidrani’s handy 70ml sachets which are easily snapped into water, with varieties including Kombuchaga Morning combining chaga and fermented symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast with 100% Arabica cold brew coffee; and Naked Biotics daily bacterial shots in two variants containing 12 strains and multiple classes of live bacteria: Restore for sensitive stomachs with rosehip and peppermint, and Maintain to promote general wellbeing with elderberry, rosehip, chamomile and olive leaf.

The diversity of probiotic drinks recently expanded with the creation of Red Billion Probiotic Raspberry Sour Beer. Launched by start-up Porbicient in collaboration with brewery and restaurant chain Brewerkz and developed by researchers from the National University of Singapore, it is dubbed the ‘world’s first gut-friendly probiotic beer’, is 4.5% ABV and contains over one billion live Lactobacillus paracasei per can. Cheers!

Skin friendly
Until recently, probiotics in skincare was fairly niche, however this application is really taking off in the natural and organic sector, with many more brands focusing on how they improve the skin’s microbiome. 

Just a few examples of products utilizing their benefits include: Antipodes Cream Culture Probiotic Night Recovery Water Cream; Awake Organics Star Cloud deodorant; Madara Cosmetics Probiotic Mist; Pacifica Probiotic Water Rehab Cream; Andalou Probiotic +C Renewal Cream; MONO Skincare Ultra-Gentle Face Cleanser; and Inur’s Renew Sleeping Mask.

And now cosmetics are also getting a probiotic boost. This year the UK saw the launch of French brand BE+RADIANCE cosmetics, founded by Aïmara Coupet (ex-L’Oreal and Sephora) and positioned as the first microbiome friendly make-up range. The brand says the collection is all about healthy skin for all colours and contains active probiotics encapsulated using a unique technology to benefit the skin and feed the ‘good’ bacteria, blended with superfood ingredients. Made with 85-100% ingredients of natural origin and PETA-certified, the collection includes cucumber water, silicone-free foundations, powders, highlighters, blush, primer and a face oil.


Solaray’s Most Powerful Probiotic

E-mail:  [email protected]

No two digestive systems are the same – microbiome is the unique collection of living microorganisms in the body and maintaining its balance is essential for good health. Solaray’s Mycrobiome Probiotic Urgent Care contains 100 billion friendly bacteria and 24 strains, designed to respond to the body’s personal needs, promoting good digestive health and boosting the immune system. Designed to help people to live brighter, the ‘VegCap’ enteric shield capsules protect live cultures from stomach acid, ensuring they reach the gut alive and are delivered where they are needed most. For more information about Solaray contact Natural Trade Brokers.


Your Flora Symbiotics

Living Planet Distribution
Tel: 020 3176 9982
E-mail:  [email protected]

Your Flora is an innovative range of symbiotics which uses an extended fermentation process to transform organic wholefoods and herbs into a potent complex of biotics, enzymes, polyphenols and other micronutrients to nourish the digestive microbiome. Crafted by practitioners in a bespoke laboratory, Your Flora is the result of careful research into fermented nutrition, unifying the best aspects of traditional practices and cutting-edge technology. Unlike single-strain probiotics, naturally fermented wholefoods work in synergy with the gut microflora rather than crowd it out. There is a Your Flora for every constitution, from sensitive digestions to post-antibiotic use and even one for the whole family. 


Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formulation

Bio-Kult | ADM Protexin Ltd
Tel: 01460 243230
E-mail:  [email protected]

There are trillions of microorganisms including different types of bacteria that live alongside us in our gut, known as our gut microbiome. This community of microorganisms which reside naturally within your body’s gastrointestinal tract play a really important role in maintaining overall wellbeing.
Our digestive system is our first line of defence against harmful microbes and toxins entering into the body as well as being the place where we absorb the nutrients to keep us alive and functioning. If you consider that over 70% of your immune system is located in the gut, it comes as no surprise that a healthy gut tends to lead to overall health and likewise, an unhealthy, unhappy gut could lead to ill health in other areas of the body. The use of live bacteria supplements could be considered as part of a maintenance plan to keep a balanced gut flora.
Bio-Kult is a scientifically developed, advanced multi-strain live bacteria supplement containing 14 live bacterial cultures proven to survive the high acidity of the stomach, and to complement the existing gut flora naturally present in a healthy person’s digestive system. Bio-Kult does not need to be refrigerated and can be taken alongside antibiotics, by children, when pregnant, by vegetarians and as part of a healthy diet. Bio-Kult capsules can be pulled apart and the contents sprinkled onto food, mixed with a drink or swallowed whole.



Wholesale Health Ltd
Tel: 01606 889905
E-mail:  [email protected]

Good Health Naturally’s multi-award winning PrescriptBiotics™ provides the perfect solution to support good digestive health. Ingesting PrescriptBiotics™ Bio-Identical” SBO Probiotics Consortia™, with 8 x species of beneficial bacteria, helps support microflora balance, regulate digestion and balance overall immune health. These soil-based organisms are cultured in their ancestral plant matter of humic and fulvic acids (a natural prebiotic). During ingestion, research shows they survive the harsh environment of the digestive tract and come alive when they reach the gut. Derived from a pristine natural source, PrescriptBiotics™ is entirely chemical, toxin and GMO-free. Suitable for daily use. Vegan. 90 veg caps.



Wholesale Health Ltd
Tel: 01606 889905
E-mail:  [email protected]

Probiotic14™ from Good Health Naturally is a powerful blend of 14 viable strains of friendly bacteria with 9 billion CFUs per serving. This unique formula includes Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum,  Lactobacillus rhamnosus and others. Multi-strain probiotics are a good option as an everyday supplement to support gut health, helping to restore the composition of the gut microbiome. Probiotic14™ helps to support the health of your digestive tract and nutrient absorption and strengthen overall immunity. It also includes the prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS) to help feed the good bacteria in the gut. Suitable for all ages. Vegan. 120 capsules (approx. 60 servings).



Tel: 07453 305286
E-mail:  [email protected]

Trivas: From Old Swedish þrīvas (“to go forward; to grow; to be strengthened; to be successful”), Related to the English Thrive.

Trivas is a luxury wellness brand with a focus on digestive health. Operating out of beautiful Cornwall, we work with a team of expert nutritionists to create innovative food-based supplements. Our flagship product, Probiotic Superfoods, is a daily wellness shake designed to address the root cause of digestive disorders such as IBS and acid reflux. Packed with organic fruits and greens, dietary fibre, Nootropic compounds, Aloe Vera, L-Glutamine and Liquorice Root, a single serving provides 10 billion CFU’s of some of the most heavily researched probiotic strains on the planet. All in a great-tasting drink with less than 100kcal and 1g of sugar.
Carefully chosen for their digestion-boosting and gut-calming properties our probiotic strains include Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Bifidobacterium Lactis, Bifidobacterium Longum and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Combined, these 4 Probiotics not only support the optimum functioning of the digestive system but have also been shown to boost immunity, promote skin health and even reduce cholesterol.
Easy to incorporate into your daily routine, Probiotic Superfoods makes a great addition to a morning smoothie or as a nutritionally dense low-sugar alternative to a glass of fruit juice. Well tolerated by even the most sensitive stomachs, Probiotic Superfoods is gluten-free, dairy-free and suitable for those following a low FODMAP diet.

Key Benefits
– 7 Organic Fruits & Greens
– 10 billion Probiotic CFU’s per serving
– 100% RDA of Vitamins D3 & B12
– High Fibre blend of Rice Bran & Flaxseed
– Nootropic compounds including 5-HTP, Guarana & Ginseng
– Ginger, Liquorice & Aloe Vera for Digestive support
Directions for use: Add 1 scoop (10g) to 250ml of water and mix well. For best results, we recommend consuming with the first meal of the day.