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Asia a huge market for probiotics
Date Published：2/12/2018 09:02:05 AM
MANY reports and clinical studies show the benefits of probiotics to human health, from maintaining balance in the digestive tract to maintaining the immune system. Even beyond, some probiotics are said to offer relief from allergies and skin problems. But experts agree, there is still so much to discover about probiotics – defined as live microorganisms that have a positive effect when taken in the right amounts. US-based company Ganeden Biotech Inc. has 27 published papers supporting the probiotic value of GanedenBC30®.
We recently spoke with Steve Quinn, Ganeden Business and Regulatory Director for Asia and Europe, on this product and the company’s market expansion in Asia.
Steve Quinn, Ganeden Business and Regulatory Director for Asia and Europe
Are Ganeden’s products already recognised in certain parts of Asia, or is the company’s presence in Fi Asia 2017 the entry point to the region?
GanedenBC30® (also known as Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) has a degree of recognition in some segments of the Asia market, but events like Fi Asia are still very important to us. So far, our main success in the region has been in powder applications and protein products, but we have yet to really break into mainstream food and beverage, which is our real strength. We are starting to see movement in those categories, but there is still work to be done and more recognition to earn.
What are your impressions of the ASEAN market, specifically for probiotics?
For Ganeden in particular, it’s a market of nearly limitless potential. Typically, people in the region associate probiotics with traditional applications like yogurt. This means we have a lot of educating to do, but the market for probiotics in food and beverage outside the dairy case is virtually untapped.
Are there regulatory issues?
Definitely. Unlike Europe where all of the member states share harmonised rules and regulations, every country in Asia is completely different. There are some places where registration is only a matter of filing a form and showing US – FDA GRAS status, and there are some markets where our team has been navigating regulatory hurdles for some time and are still very much in the process. It can be difficult at times, but also very understandable; the officials need assurance that GanedenBC30 is safe and does what it’s claiming to do in regards to health benefits. In the end, we are always able to satisfy any concerns, but the process can take time.
Probiotics has garnered much interest from health-conscious consumers. But there are those who remain sceptic. Where is this scepticism coming from?
I think there is always a layer of healthy scepticism with any trend that becomes so popular so quickly, like we have seen with probiotics. First, probiotics are not medicine. That is, a person does not take a probiotic and instantly feel better. They are for supporting health and improving overall digestive, or immune health and consumers do not always feel this “support” right away because it is not a dramatic change. Most people just tell us that one day they realise that in general, they have felt better since starting the probiotic. The fact that people cannot see, smell, or taste anything different in their food also drives some questioning.
Could you cite some clinical research that attest to the benefits of probiotics and particularly your product?
Certainly. New research and clinical information about probiotics in general comes out nearly every day, and a quick Google alert will show this. However, the benefits of probiotics are strain specific, so you must look at the specific strain being researched and the studies on that particular strain showing its health benefits. GanedenBC30 is supported by 27 published clinical papers all available on our website, https://www.ganedenprobiotics.com/probiotic-research. In addition to our immune and digestive health studies, I recommend that readers download and look through our protein utilisation papers. To date, GanedenBC30 is the only probiotic in the world with an established protein utilisation benefit and the clinical research we published on that topic is really exciting and ground-breaking.
What are Ganeden’s plans for 2018, especially in Asia (Southeast Asia)?
Asia and in particular Southeast Asia are areas of untapped potential for Ganeden. This Fall, Ganeden merged with Kerry Ingredients, based in Naas, Ireland. In light of that, Ganeden and Kerry will work together on an expansion strategy globally for 2018, including Asia. Experts from both teams will work together to decide the best way to maximise existing resources and evaluate where additional resources will need to be placed. We are also evaluating strengths and needs within existing workforces and distribution partnerships. The feedback from Fi Asia has been great, and we will be back next year, but sharing a stand with Kerry next time.