“The plant houses the world’s largest fermenter for probiotic production, and it is part of significant investment for DuPont in a really promising area where we see big opportunities for growth in the future,” said Martin Kullen, global research and development lead in charge of probiotics at DuPont.
“The [probiotics] industry is really ripe for growth. It is currently experiencing 5% annual growth with $1.5 billion in retail sales in the US last year alone,” he explained to FoodNavigator-USA. “As a market leader, DuPont develops and introduces the widest range of clinically documented strains with probiotics for the global population. As a result, about a third of the probiotics sold in the world contain DuPont strains.”
The new facility will help DuPont maintain, and potentially expand its marketshare at a time when consumer interest in probiotics is on the rise, he added.
“Our customers see consumer growth in this space driven a lot by consumers wanting to stay healthy and to be able to use natural solutions to stay healthy. And probiotics are a big part of that,” Kullen said.
He explained that while the most well-known benefits of probiotics center on gastrointestinal health and immunity, DuPont sees significant potential for probiotic strains developed for weight management, women’s health and brain health, including mood and stress management, symptoms that are not well-addressed by current offerings.
“Our probiotics are created with specific health benefits in mind, and we see significant benefit in backing them with extensive clinical trial testing and really driving the science … so that we can substantiate these with efficacy and health benefits that are specific to different demographic groups,” Kullen said.
Clinical support gives DuPont an edge
DuPont’s focus on clinical support gives it a competitive advantage – especially at a time when many products are making generic probiotic claims to catch consumers’ attention, but which do not have the research to support the implied health benefits that shoppers are seeking, Kullen said.
“We see that there is starting to be some speculation around efficacy, and this is a big opportunity for us to continue to communicate about the strong science, the proven health benefits that our probioitcs provide,” he added.
As the company and its customers do this, he said he hopes they can help dispel speculation about efficacy and also lay the ground work for products to make more specific, well-supported health claims as the regulatory environment continues to evolve.
HOWARU brand is growing
Kullen added that the probiotics created by DuPont with the most promising clinical research can be found under the company’s HOWARU brand, which includes a wide range of strains organized according to their supported health benefit.
For example, clinical research for the HOWARU Shape probiotic, which focuses on weight management, shows an average lost of 4.5% body fat, a 6.7% reduction in trunk fat and a 1 inch reduction in waist circumference.
Thanks in part to the clinical support for the HOWARU brand, Kullen said the line is “starting to see some nice movement and nice pick-up.”