Swedish probiotics specialist manufacturer Probi has acquired a stake in Blis Technologies, an oral probiotics maker based in New Zealand. With this investment, Probi has emerged as Blis’ second-largest shareholder and a member of its corporate board.

Probi is a multinational player producing clinically proven probiotics for boosting digestive health, immune health, bone health and iron absorption. The company also offers products that aim to address the distinct health needs of women, senior citizens and children. On the other hand, Blis Technologies is a biotechnology company manufacturing advanced probiotics for oral health and hygiene. Through its stake in Blis Technologies, Probi plans to expand its range of offerings in the probiotics market, while Blis Technologies plans to leverage Probi’s extensive manufacturing capacity to ramp up its production output and profitability.

Blis Technologies’ flagship products, the BLIS K12 and M18 probiotic strains, claim to improve natural immune defences by warding off oral infections and maintaining the health of teeth and gums. Studies have proven BLIS K12 can improve the ear, nose and throat health of infants and alleviate bad breath.

Probiotics have gained significant popularity in New Zealand in recent years in line with growing public awareness about their health benefits. As such, 59% of the country’s respondents in a GlobalData survey (see figure above) perceive probiotic ingredients to have a positive impact on their health. The same survey revealed that 64% of New Zealand consumers found immunity-boosting ingredients very or somewhat appealing. This reflects the strong potential for products fortified with probiotics, as well as related products such as prebiotics and ‘postbiotics’ in New Zealand.

Probi also plans to venture into the field of probiotic skincare through its subsidiary, Unconditional Skincare. Just as probiotics have been revolutionising the food and beverage industry for several years through the ‘gut health’ trend, these ingredients are charting new territories in the beauty and grooming space. Just as the human digestive tract is home to a ‘microbiome’, a delicately balanced ecosystem with trillions of good and bad microbes, the skin houses a microbiome of its own.

Preliminary scientific studies suggest a potential link between a host of dermal conditions such as dry skin, acne and eczema and the microbial imbalance in the skin microbiome. Researchers are exploring the use of a holistic mix of probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics to rebalance the skin microbiome and thereby attain naturally healthy skin. Cosmetics industry giants Lancôme and Christian Dior, as well as a plethora of start-ups, are taking a strong interest in developing skincare lines based on the concept of the skin microbiome. Such formulations could appeal strongly to 49% of the consumers in New Zealand, who find probiotic ingredients in beauty and grooming products somewhat or very appealing, particularly millennial (Gen Y) consumers.

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