If you were to recognize dietary supplement manufacturing as a “journey” rather than a “process,” you might not be wrong. For even the most seasoned nutraceutical industry insiders, some pitfalls easier to stumble into than others, including a certain probiotic manufacturing oversight…

Like we’ve mentioned in the past, the dietary supplement manufacturing process can prove to be a pretty interesting journey. Especially for first-time brand owners, the whole thing can serve as an incredible learning process.

For those in the process of launching a probiotic-focus dietary supplement, there’s one key factor you may want to consider as you flesh out your business plan and establish your long-term timeline.

What’s the most commonly underestimated factor for probiotic supplement brand owners? Time.

Now, I know what you may be thinking: But time is a key factor in every production run, isn’t it? So what makes probiotics any different?

And you’re absolutely right – time is a key factor in every single dietary supplement product run. Especially given the fact that no two runs play out the exact same way, building extra time into your business plan is almost always a good idea.

When it comes to probiotics, there’s one time-eating factor that isn’t necessarily present with other supplements: If you want “fresh”, living probiotics in your product, there’s a good chance that someone will have to grow them for you.

Growing Probiotic Bacteria for Dietary Supplements and Other Products

For the kinds of probiotics most commonly found in dietary supplements (the types that are preserved in a powder rather than a liquid), the growing/manufacturing process will look something like this:

With the help of a “growth medium” (which can be dairy-based or nondairy-based) and the necessary temperature/humidity settings, lab technicians set up the starter bacteria in petri dishes and allow them to grow and colonize.

Depending on the specific strain of probiotic bacteria being cultured, this step can take anywhere from several hours to several days.

Once the bacteria colonies have grown to the necessary size, those same technicians begin the process of separating the bacteria from their food (aka the growth medium). Oftentimes, this step is completed with the help of a centrifuge.

In the final step, the bacteria are preserved and prepared for use in a product by means of one of several different methods. You can read about a handful of those methods here.

The Takeaway

When all is said and done, it can take a manufacturer anywhere from days to weeks to receive the probiotics needed to formulate your product. Discussing standard production times and probiotic production times with your manufacturer is a simple way to help you allot enough time for the entire production process.