Probiotics: Responsible marketing will drive your business

Probiotics are everywhere these days. In supplements, cereals, yogurt—even snack foods like chips. While consumers are gradually becoming more aware of probiotics and the impact they can have on their microbiome, the risk exists for probiotics to become yet another passing fad in the health and wellness category. A recent NUTRAIngredients-USA article highlighted the importance of developing meaningful claims in the probiotic category, citing the cautionary tale of antioxidants and ORAC values just a few years back. Less-than-responsible marketing resulted in ubiquitous claims, many not particularly well substantiated. The opportunity for antioxidants fizzled fast. 

Research on human microbiomes and probiotics is one of the most exciting areas in modern nutritional science. New studies and advances will undoubtedly result in compelling claims—some well substantiated, others less so. Valid, responsible claims should be at the core of any responsible and effective marketing effort. But don’t overlook the importance of how your marketing message is delivered. The message delivery channel is as important as the claim itself. 

Let’s assume that consumers know nothing about probiotics and the microbiome.  Who do they turn to for advice? IFIC studies have consistently shown that Americans trust conversations with health professionals the most for nutrition guidance. In fact, the 2018 Food & Health Survey found that 78% of consumers who had a face-to-face conversation with their personal health professional about a nutrition topic had made a change based on that conversation. A separate study found that 96% of parents trust their pediatric professional for nutrition guidance.

Are you taking the time and investing in the resources necessary to educate health professionals about your probiotic brand? If not, you’re missing a critical link in your marketing plan—trust and credibility.

 Here are three things to keep in mind as you develop a responsible marketing plan:

  1. Develop your claims with scientific rigor.

  2. Deliver your messages with trust and credibility by building relationships with health professional and providing them with the information and materials they need to share your brand with consumers.

  3. Make it easy for consumers to understand your claims and act on them! Create accessible educational resources that drive awareness and trial.

The bottom line? How you deliver the message is as important as what you say.