Convenience and COVID-19: Australia’s Henry Blooms sells one million probiotic shots in Woolworths amid pandemic

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

The Belly Shotz (50mL) in Woolworths launched earlier in June 2020, available in ginger and lychee and green tea flavour ©BellyUp
The Belly Shotz (50mL) in Woolworths launched earlier in June 2020, available in ginger and lychee and green tea flavour ©BellyUp

Related tags Australia Probiotics Coles Woolworths

Australian supplement company Henry Blooms has sold more than one million bottles of its raw probiotic drinks in Woolworths supermarkets since launching earlier in June this year.

Marketed with immunity and digestion health claims, the drinks are sold under the Belly Shotz brand and comes in two variations – ginger, lychee and green tea flavours.

Each 50mL shotz contains approximately 3.3 billion probiotics. A pack of six retails for AU$7 (US$5) at Woolsworths. Woolworths is the exclusive distributor of Belly Shotz.

Carel Crous, new business development manager and head of NPD at Phytologic (parent company of Henry Blooms) told NutraIngredients-Asia​: “We are fortunate being in a space where people were looking for immunity, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial products​.”

Locally in Australia, there is also a big trend towards convenience, like one shot type of products, which were easy to consume and carry​.

Our Shotz are lactose free, vegan and sugar-free, containing live bio fermented cultures and superfoods​.”

Crous said demand was so high that it sold out within the first five weeks since the launch in June.

Orders have increased about 300 to 400%, with the firm shipping out six to eight pallets, from just two pallets at the beginning.

With all the interest, Crous said the firm was on the lookout to extend the range and bring more products to consumers.

The firm is debating to produce a 100mL shot, which is focused on immunity, mental health and digestion. The current 50mL shotz are focused on superfoods for overall gut health.

It is also in discussions with distributors serving the petrol and convenience sector, as well as small independent grocers.

Henry Blooms also launched five ready-to-drink (RTD) raw probiotics beverages (330mL) under the BellyUp line last year. Containing its bio-fermented concentrates, these were marketed with immunity, weight management, skin health, digestion and detox functions.

Take a shot

BellyUp’s RTD and Shotzs are made using Henry Bloom’s bio-fermentation process which involves five stages of fermentation with papaya and multi-strain probiotics.

It says its bio-fermentation process creates a more bioactive and bioavailable complex, making it easier to absorb and support a healthy microflora.

The strains of probiotics used in the fermentation process include: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium lactis ​and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (boulardii)​.

The strains are supplied by Henry Blooms’ sister company, Probiotics Australia, the country’s only manufacturer of raw probiotic strains. Raw probiotic strains are typically imported from China, UK, Malaysia and other markets.

The Shotz products are manufactured in Queensland.

Export plans

In addition to its domestic market, the firm is in discussions with distributors to export Belly Shotz to South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.

The firm hopes to enter South Korea early next year, and the Philippines in March.

In Singapore, there are talks to enter supermarket chains Cold Storage and FairPrice.

We asked if there were plans to export its RTD beverages alongside the Shotz, Crous explained that the firm was currently transitioning its packaging from glass bottles into cans, to lower shipping costs, and enable larger distribution in the future.

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