Nutrasource Blog

The Future of Probiotics from the International Probiotics Association

Posted by George Paraskevakos on Tue, Aug 29, 2017

The International Probiotics Association (IPA) works with industry, government and academia to advance probiotic technology, research and product development.

Nutrasource is back again this year partnering with IPA to bring you the Probiotics Resource Center at SupplySide West 2017. Stop by the pavilion and meet up with our team and other people and companies who have an interest in the prebiotic and probiotic industry.

To give you an idea of what to expect at the Probiotics Resource Center, we talked with IPA Executive Director George Paraskevakos.

1. What changes in the last few years have impacted the probiotics market the most?

George Paraskevakos: What is most telling is the science — we have gone from maybe 500 published articles, studies, technical papers and other research to a time where a quick search on PubMed will yield close to 15,000 different published materials. 

With the microbiome becoming a mainstream topic, the science has taken a more serious approach to how these live microorganisms can impact our everyday lives.

Other areas of change have been the regulations for our sector including quality, market commercialization and claims stance. We have seen regulatory guidelines for probiotics tighten, and I believe this challenge will only become more difficult.

2. What are some new areas of research being explored?

George Paraskevakos: Originally, the research was focused on gastrointestinal health. We are now seeing R&D in very novel areas such as the brain/gut axis, metabolic syndrome (including cardiovascular health, cholesterol, obesity and diabetes), immune health, oral health, skin disorders and women’s health in all stages.

I also believe research will lead us to the day when we will see probiotics addressing health outcomes for disease states. It’s just a question of time.

3. What challenges are probiotic companies facing right now and how are they combatting those challenges?

George Paraskevakos: I truly believe there are two main factors we need to be diligent about, and those are science and regulations. My ultimate blue-sky vision would be to consolidate and have all government agencies across the globe treat and regulate probiotics with the same guidelines. But I am a realist, so our work at IPA continues toward becoming the Global Voice of Probiotics and disseminating the message about the advantages of these beneficial microbes demonstrated through the science that is being conducted. We also are working toward continuing our dialogue with regulators around the world to educate them.

The other area that is equally important is education aimed to the end users — that is, the consumers who use probiotics and the health care professionals who recommend them. Again, by marrying the concept of justified science and credibility among regulators, IPA will be better positioned to educate and spread the good word regarding probiotics and their benefits. From the association's standpoint, it must be a collective effort by all stakeholders involved.

4. How would you describe the future of the probiotics market? Where do you see the probiotics market sitting in the next five years?

George Paraskevakos: Healthy and on a continued growth path. We have seen markets like North America come on board that are about to go mainstream shortly. But there are still fairly large markets out there globally that are in a very early state, such as in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

5. What can attendees expect from the Probiotics Resource Center at SupplySide West this year?

George Paraskevakos: We had two themes in mind when developing the Probiotics Resource Center: learning and building connections. The pavilion serves as a meeting place where scientists, industry members, educators and health professionals can connect, learn and discuss all things probiotics. 

Most exciting of all, we'll be featuring 30-40-minute guest lectures at the center from prominent players in the probiotics sector: 

  • Lallemand Health Solutions
  • Deerland Enzymes
  • MeriCal
  • Amin Talati Upadhye
  • Trust Transparency Consulting
  • RNI Consulting
  • Winclove Probiotics
  • Prenexus Health
  • Eurofins
  • UAS Labs
  • Bifodan
  • Pharmachem
  • Probiotical
  • DuPont
  • NSF

Topics will range from gut health, heart health and oral health to clinical trials and product formulation strategies for probiotic and prebiotic supplements, foods and other applications. 

6. What benefits does IPA provide to its members?

George Paraskevakos: IPA is proud to serve as the “Global Voice of Probiotics” for our 90+ member companies. Our aim is to increase growth and awareness of the probiotic industry by bridging the gap among probiotic sector stakeholders. We do this through a variety of initiatives, including media releases, speaking engagements, presence at conferences and trade shows, articles and collaboration with other associations and trade groups, and most importantly outreach to government agencies.

IPA members enjoy a variety of benefits, including access to exclusive trade reports, regulatory bulletins and research, participation in special networking events, decision-making opportunities through our board of directors, liaison with regulatory bodies around the globe and much more.

Interested in Joining IPA?

Joining IPA is easy! Click to view and complete the membership application.

Connect with George in the Probiotics Resource Center at SupplySide West.

When: September 27-28, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Booth AA122

Topics: Events, Probiotics, Foods & Beverages, Dietary Supplements/Natural Health Products