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Probi: Probiotic Pioneers with a Passion for People

Anita Johansen | PhD (pharm.) | CEO | Probi
Anita Johansen | PhD (pharm.) | CEO | Probi

In the dynamic landscape of health and wellness, the nutraceutical industry serves as a crucial bridge between traditional medicine and holistic well-being, contributing to the quest for longer, healthier lives. Probi®, a standout player in this field, stands as a pioneer in probiotics, reshaping the nutraceutical landscape with its distinct vision, commitment to quality, scientific rigor, innovation, and a profound dedication to consumer well-being.

Led by CEO Anita Johansen, Probi’s foundation rests on science, leveraging state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing expertise to create standout products that offer proven value. With over 30 years of investment in research and development, Probi ensures its products meet the highest standards of quality, scientific research, and proven effectiveness.

Probi extends beyond the conventional perception of probiotics, diversifying its offerings to include scientifically proven benefits in various health areas—ranging from gut health to mental health. What sets them apart is not just clinical proof of benefits but a meticulous focus on specialized technological know-how, ensuring the survival of probiotic strains throughout manufacturing processes and supply chains.

In an insightful interview, Anita shares the captivating journey of Probi and its pivotal role in shaping the nutraceutical industry.

What are the core values that led to the formation of the organization? What are its mission and vision statements?

Our journey began with a core belief in the power of nature to enhance human health, and a commitment to harnessing the best of scientific research to unlock this potential. Probi was founded in 1991, born out of a research project which had been in progress at Lund University in Sweden since 1986. The purpose of the project was to discover whether administering specific probiotics instead of antibiotics to critically ill patients could enhance therapeutic outcomes and improve their chances of recovery. Based on the success of this project, a patent application was filed for the probiotic bacterial strain Lactiplantibacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V®). Since then, numerous clinical studies have been performed on this strain, which to date is the most studied L. plantarum strain in the world.

Probi’s vision is to continue being a pioneer in probiotics and to deliver on our mission to provide probiotics for healthier lives and a healthier planet.

At Probi we work with an “Own It” culture, and in everything we do, we aim to be credible, curious, committed, and clear. These values define who we are and guide our daily work and interactions with our colleagues. And more importantly, they guide our interactions with our partners and customers.

Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to become a part of the organization?

I joined Probi mainly because of two things that I am passionate about – the people and the solid science supporting Probi’s probiotics. With my education as a PhD in pharmaceutical technology, I have a scientist background, and I have worked more than 20 years in consumer healthcare companies developing consumer relevant nutraceutical products for global brands. Joining a company who delivers good science and meaningful innovations was key to me, and so was the opportunity to join a company with a culture that promotes global collaborations internally and externally, empowering its colleagues to be curious, and empowering them to be influential and accountable.

What are the most popular Nutri ingredients that your company supplies / manufactures?

  • Probi Digestis® is our unique and patented probiotic gut health concept based on Lactiplantibacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V®).
  • Our probiotic immune concept Probi Defendum® is based on a combination of the strains Lactiplantibacillus plantarum HEAL9 (HEAL9™) and Lacticaseibacillus paracasei 8700:2 (L. paracasei 8700:2™).
  • Probi FerroSorb® increases the natural uptake of iron and supports a healthy microbiota, without the gastrointestinal discomfort often experienced with iron supplementation.
  • Probi® Osteo supports bone health, helps maintain bone density and mineral content, supports balance in natural bone remodeling, and may lead to stronger and more robust bones.
  • With BLIS® by Probi® we offer a unique way to boost oral health with probiotic strains BLIS K12™ and BLIS M18™ – two exclusive Streptococcus salivarius strains clinically documented and shown to support oral and dental health.
  • With our Probi LiveBac® range of active probiotic strains and species for use in dietary supplements, functional food products, and gummies we provide pure cultures, blends, and finished products, available in a wide variety of formulas.

How does your company ensure the quality and safety of its products?

“Safety first, quality always” is a saying at Probi. Safety and quality are built into our products from the moment we start our research until the products reach singular end consumer. We ensure selection of safe and rigorously tested strains, tested both in preclinical and human clinical trials carefully processed in environments that maximize the stability and shelf life of our probiotics.

How does your company approach sustainability and environmental responsibility in its operations?

Probi is dedicated to helping people everywhere live healthier lives. We believe that a healthy planet is a prerequisite to this. Probi has designed its Sustainability strategy anchored on UN Sustainability Development goals.

Our Sustainability strategy is deeply connected to our business objectives and our values. It is important for us that our sustainability work is integrated within the entire organisation as well as in our objectives and action plans to deliver our business strategy.

Can you discuss any new products or innovations that your company is currently working on?

Our new mental health concept Probi® Sensia is proven to positively affect the microbial balance in the gut, while protecting and supporting neurocognitive functions. Probi® Sensia is based on L. plantarum HEAL9 (HEAL9™), a unique probiotic strain developed by Probi and protected by patents worldwide.

Another new offering from Probi is in the area of synbiotics, where we are advancing the wider synbiotic category with our evidence-based approach. With our Synbiotics by Probi® & Clasado we have explored the synergies of an innovative partnership with the company Clasado Biosciences.

How do you wish the organization to grow in the near future?

We just launched our new company strategy “Probi reinforced.” We have clear goals and objectives, and we know where to focus our efforts the coming years. We want to deliver sustainable and profitable growth, and we will deliver on our goals through a systematic focus on our strategic focus areas:

We will ensure our entire organization puts the customer at heart.

We will continue to bring new and market-relevant innovations to the market, supported by good clinical science.

And we will focus on being excellent in providing our customers the differentiated quality solutions they need.

And as the foundation for any successful sustainable organization is a thriving, capable and resilient organization, we will continue to nurture, support and develop our people.

What advice would you like to give to young enthusiasts who wish to venture into the nutraceutical industry?

My advice to a young enthusiast would be to carefully choose the company and the manager to work for. Working for a nutraceutical company treasuring science, ethics and integrity and having a manager who genuinely wants to see their people succeed, develop, and grow, and who will challenge you appropriately, is key. Secondly, always lean into the new challenges and opportunities that you will meet, and you are sure to get some great experiences.



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