We have conducted an analysis of the following probiotic brands: NatureWise, Nature's Bounty, Schiff Products, and Nature Made.
In doing so we have determined the main difference between these brands is that each brand is emphasizing a different key aspect of their products. For example, NatureWise is emphasizing their time release technology, while Schiff is putting emphasis on edible probiotics. We also noted a difference in the brand's attempt to back their claims using science. For example, NatureWise and Nature's Bounty use a lot of in depth scientific explanations to help support their claims, while Schiff and Nature Made are very light on scientific explanation. We have also noted key areas of unowned whitespace. One such area is with regard to guarantees. While some brands make a potency guarantee, none of the brands are backing their guarantees with any solid evidence or policies. Additionally, another key area of unowned whitespace is with regard to featured stamps of approval. Only one brand has a stamp of approval.
Below, you will find a deep dive of our findings.
We first began this research by analyzing each brand's website particularly the probiotics section of the site. From there, we analyzed the information, messages and claims being presented on the website. We also analyzed the product labels and packaging to assess the messages being presented there as well. Lastly, we compared these findings side by side and made note of any areas of whitespace that are not currently being owned across these brands.
NatureWise's probiotics products all focus on a centralized theme of time-release technology. The landing page of the brand's probiotics section of their website explains that probiotics are good for health, but that most supplements do not survive the trip through the digestive tract to land in the gut, which is where the probiotics are most beneficial. The brand claims that their capsules can achieve this, and therefore are capable of delivering 15 times "more live, active cultures to the gut."
This brand sells five different probiotic products, each with a unique function/target market. These functions are: oral health, women's health, daily care, probiotics for kids, and maximum care. For each, the product packaging and labeling is the relatively the same, however they are each presented in a different color and include product details specific to that product/function. Despite this, the general layout, design, and contents are parallel across products. The labels feature the number of probiotic strains contained within the supplement and number of CFU predominantly on the label, with strain benefits below that. The label immediately presents the time-release aspect of the supplement (which each of the different probiotics are in alignment with). The label also blatantly shows the product function/target market. The packaging features the brand's overall values, beliefs, and missions. It advertises the brand's philanthropy efforts, talks about how the brand cares about people and the planet, and notes that the brand's values center around health and happiness for the world. The packaging also features product claims (discussed below), as well as supplement facts including ingredients, the probiotics contained within, and warnings.
Each of the five probiotic products feature their own unique product claims on the packaging. As a case study, we are looking at the 'Daily Care' product. For this product, the brand claims that the product is backed by clinical research, and, as a competitive edge, claims that it uses more diverse strains and more live cultures than other products. This section of the packaging also provides some educational insights on what probiotics do and why they are beneficial. Next, it provides information on WiseBiotics, the brand's trademarked delivery system. The packaging for the Daily Care supplement explains that probiotics are essential to health and wellness, but that probiotic balance can be thrown off by "stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, and some medications." It further states that the formula has been carefully designed, and uses strains and select prebiotics that have been clinically proven. It claims that this product will "replenish the beneficial flora in your gut for optimal health." With regard to the WiseBiotics delivery system, the packaging states that 96% of probiotics are destroyed by stomach acids before they arrive at the lower GI tract. The brand claims that the WiseBiotics delivery system ensures that the probiotic capsule can survive the journey through the acids, while simultaneously emitting a "controlled release of live, active cultures over an extended period of time, throughout your large and small intestines, for optimal health." Lastly, the brand claims that the WiseBiotics capsules are better than standard capsules, because they "deliver 15 times more live cultures to their targeted destination."
Stamps of Approval:
For each product, the brand features a web page with product descriptions. For the Daily Care supplements, the brand makes the following claims:
- Product is for men and women.
- Product is backed by scientific research.
- Product supports digestion, immune response, and overall health.
- Can be compared equally to a priobiotic supplement with a much higher CFU.
- WiseBiotics allows capsules to deliver "15 times more live probitic cultures to the intestines than standard probiotic brands." - The WiseBiotics delivery system "offers a sustained release of live, active probiotic cultures" throughout the intestines, which the brand says is something that a standard probiotic cannot provide.
- Capsules are vegetarian, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
- Capsules contain prebiotics and probiotics.
Furthermore, on the web page, the brand expands on the claim that their product is comparable to that of a product that has 150 billion CFU (while the Daily Care product has 10 billion CFU). They go on to claim that this is possible due to the fact that 96% of probiotics from standard brands are destroyed in the stomach, while 60% of NatureWise's probiotics make it to the intestines. The web page features a diagram of what the capsule looks like after traveling through the digestive system at various intervals and where in the digestive tract the capsule would be located at various intervals. The web page talks about reasons beyond digestion which probiotics can be used for, stating that "every single body system is affected by the health of probiotic colonies" in the gut. It ties this information together with the notion that "80% of the body's immune cells" are located in the gut. It acknowledges that science doesn't fully understand the entire realm of gut flora and health connections, but that "some of the known relationships include: improved immune health, energy levels, mood and mental health, healthy weight, and longer life."
The brand makes a guarantee with regard to live culture potency, claiming that many store-shelf probiotics "have no viability at all by the time they are consumed", and that NatureWise guarantees that their capsules are "viable with live, active cultures up to expiration, and [they] ensure exceptional shelf-life stability--even at room temperature."
The landing page of this brand's probiotics section immediately presents the consumer with the idea that probiotics play a key roll in nutrient absorption. They feature a video on how probiotics work. In their written description of how probiotics work, they again focus on the idea of nutrient absorption. The brand provides probiotic products that are designed to target specific dietary needs.
This brand offers nine different probiotic products: two products designed specifically for women; a controlled delivery probiotic and a dark chocolate probiotic, two acidophilus products; a chewable wafer version and a tablet version, an ultra strength probiotic, a controlled delivery probiotic, probiotic gummies, a probiotic for gas and bloating, and a probiotic for cholesterol/cardio-health. Each of these products have slightly different packaging. As a case study, we are focusing on the controlled delivery probiotic product, called Probiotic 10, because the brand says that this is their everyday probiotic supplement and therefore we can easily compare this case study to the Daily Care case study from above. The Probiotic 10 package features the function/target of the probiotic, the number of live cultures, the number of strains, the strain benefits, and a description of the health benefits of the probiotic. It also features educational information on the different strains contained within the supplement and how they support health. The package also features information about the brand, primarily touting their long-standing reputation since having been in business for more than 40 years. Lastly, the package features supplement facts, including a list of ingredients and warnings.
This brand claims that Probiotic 10 is the answer to the consumer's "everyday probiotic needs." It claims the product has 10 probiotic strains, including several that been clinically studied. The brand claims that these strains provide "healthy gastrointestinal function, digestive balance, and immune health support." The brand claims that this product has been tested in a laboratory and is backed by science. They claim this product has no artificial color, flavor, sweetener, preservatives, sugar, starch, milk, lactose, gluten, wheat, fish, or sodium, and this product is vegetarian. The brand states that the product is made in the U.S.
Stamps of Approval:
The information on the website reflects the same information provided on the packaging, and does not really provide any additional insights.
On their Probiotic 10 product, they guarantee that at the time of manufacture, there are 20 billion active cultures per serving. They also guarantee the quality of their product.
Unlike the previous two brands, Schiff does not have a probiotics landing page or section their website. Instead, their probiotics are featured in their "digestive advantage" product line, and all of Schiffs products are featured in an e-commerce-style page layout. We searched for probiotics in their search bar to isolate them from the overall digestive products category. In doing so, we were able to note that the vast majority of Schiff's probiotic products are edibles; mostly gummies, and some chocolate.
Schiff has a total of 25 probiotic products. These come as standard probiotic capsules, gummies, and a couple chocolate products. Some gummy versions are targeted at children, while others come in different flavors, target a specific ailment or are a part of a combination product. For example, one of Schiff's products is a combination of probiotics plus enzymes, while others are designed for lactose defense, gas defense, or bowel support. Each of these products has slightly different packaging. As a case study we have chosen to focus on the brand's daily probiotic capsules, in order to stay aligned with the other case studies we have focused on during this research. This brand uses the slogan 'The Probiotic That Survives,' on its packaging. The package says that this product has a hundred times higher survival rate compared to yogurt and other leading probiotics brands. The package features supplement facts, including ingredients and warnings. The package also features information about the brand's patented probiotic, BC30 (discussed below), offers educational information about probiotics, and explains why the product has a higher survival rate to that of other brands. It lists the benefits of using the product.
The daily probiotic capsule is also available in a gummy version, along with a gummy version that that includes fiber and another gummy version designed for kids--all of which are daily probiotics. Schiff claims that this product does not have any artificial flavors or preservatives. The brand claims that this probiotic "targets your specific digestive health needs and with continued use, gives you long-term digestive support." They say the product can alleviate abdominal pain, reduce bloating, and can help with occasional diarrhea. The brand claims that this product can "survive the harsh acidic stomach environment" in a way that other probiotic brands cannot. They claim this is because of their patented BC30 probiotic, which survives one-hundred times better than other brands. They claim the product can be taken once per day. Schiff says that "each capsule contains 2 billion viable cells of BC30 probiotic."
Stamps of Approval:
The product claims and guarantees are featured on the website. The website also provides insight on BC30, which is Schiff's patented probiotic that is featured in its probiotic products. Schiff says that this probiotic is "naturally protected by a protein shell, [and is] scientifically proven to survive stomach acid 100x better than other probiotics and yogurt." (sic) Beyond this, the website features the same information and wording as is provided on the package.
Schiff displays their 'Schiff Quality Guarantee' on this product, which they say is a guarantee of "purity, freshness, and labeled potency."
The probiotic product landing page for Nature Made immediately presents the consumer with a sense of choice when it comes to using Nature Made probiotics, because they say that they have different products to suit the consumers' individual needs. Of the products Nature Made provides, each one appears to be a combination product that provides some other type of dietary/nutritional benefits and ingredients alongside the probiotics.
Nature Made features four different probiotic products: adult probiotic gummies which feature vitamin B12 for energy, advanced dual action probiotics, dual action probiotics for women; and probiotics for daily balance. Each of these packages have a relatively similar packaging style and design. We have chosen to focus on the daily balance probiotics as a case study, in order to stay aligned with the other case studies presented here. The packaging states the number of live cultures per serving, the functions of the probiotic, the number of doses needed per day, and features supplement facts including ingredients and warnings. The packaging also provides explanation as to what the product does, what it contains, and what digestive ailments it relieves. It provides insight into the benefits of using the product. Lastly, it touts the brand's 40-year heritage.
The brand claims that their product reduces gas, abdominal pains, and bloating. They say their product is gluten free, has no dairy, synthetic dyes, artificial flavors or preservatives, and has "10 billion live probiotic cells of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v." This product is suitable for daily use. They claim this product should be taken once per day, ideally with food. They say there are no known drug interactions for this product, but warn that consumers should consult a health care professional before taking if they are taking medications. The brand claims that this product features a clinically studied strain. The product is made with probi-digestis. It is made in Canada, and packaged and tested in the U.S.
Stamps of Approval:
The website does not feature a significant amount of information regarding these products.
brand comparison AND unowned whitespaces
After analyzing each of these brands, we noted the following differences between them:
-- While each brand is making overall similar claims regarding what their product does (e.g. improving digestion and immune system), each of these brands is placing emphasis on a different key factor of the product. This is seen in the differences in product themes.
-- There are significant differences in the sizes of their product lines.
-- There are significant differences in the amount and depth of information these brands include on their websites and packaging.
-- The overall packaging presentation of their product lines is also different; where some brands rely on a uniform design across products, others have a more eclectic range of designs for different products.
-- Another key difference is with regard to their product claims; where some brands are providing more scientific claims and giving robust scientific explanations for these claims, others are making claims that are more high-level.
After analyzing each of these brands, we noted the following unowned whitespaces:
-- One element that most of these brands lack are solid guarantees. While some are guaranteeing probiotic potency up until the expiration date, none of these products are backing this guarantee up with additional insights or scientific information that supports the guarantee.
-- Another key whitespace area that isn't being addressed is in regard to stamps of approval. Only one of these brands features a stamp of approval, in which case they only featured one. None of the brands have an FDA certification. Even those products that claim to be vegetarian do not have a stamp of approval from a vegetarian association.
-- The content presented on the websites also leaves a lot of empty whitespace. Most of the websites did not feature any extra information than what was already featured on the product packaging. We feel this indicates a poor use of whitespace on behalf of these brands. In this context, we felt Nature Wise made the best use of their website whitespace, filling it with additional scientific and educational information, while Nature Made provided very little scientific and educational information across both their website and packaging.
In closing, we have providing insight into how the aforementioned probiotic brands are different from one another and have identified areas of whitespace that are currently not being owned. In doing so, we have focused exclusively on the types of messages and claims the brands are projecting through their product packaging and websites.