SUPPLY CHAIN 101
Have you ever thought about how a product like a probiotic you buy in a store goes from an idea to your home? Probably not, and that’s ok. We’ve made our way around more than a few supply chains in our life, so let us break it down for you. There are dozens of steps, including:
- Selecting the raw bacteria strains from places around the world and making sure they make it to your blending facility without dying
- Testing the strains to make sure they are viable and alive
- Blending the strains with the other elements of the probiotic
- Encapsulating the mixture
- Getting the pills in bottles
- Getting the bottles in boxes, on pallets and ready for shipping
- Moving the pallets to a warehouse (usually via truck!)
- Storing the pallets until the retail stores request them – which can be anywhere from a day to months
- Put them on another truck to get them to the retailer’s back stock room, where they can again sit for months
- Move them to the shelves
- Wait for someone to buy them
- That someone puts them in their car, takes them home and stores them in a bathroom where it’s hot and steamy
We’re literally omitting about 20 steps, but you get the idea. Here’s the problem – at each step, the chance for someone to screw up and leave the probiotics out in the hot sun, next to a fridge in a store room, on a hot truck – which generally will kill off some of the bacteria.
Bottom line – the longer and more steps you have from manufacturer to delivery, the more likely the bugs you’re taking are toast.
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?
There is no hard and fast rule because it’s difficult to say how many extra bacteria manufacturers put into their pills to account for die-off, and a lot depends on how the pills are stored on the retailers’ shelves. The best estimates out there say most of the common strains die at a rate of 10-15% per month when things get a little toasty. So while it’s natural that you will always have some die-off in your probiotic, minimizing the time between manufacture and consumption is KEY. This is why Jetson skips the retailer and gets the pills from our manufacturer to you as quickly as possible.
IS ALL HOPE LOST?
Simmer down. There are a few things we can do to make the bugs last longer:
- Use a spore-based probiotic. These are like seeds and are really resistant to temperature and other nasty conditions.
- Ensure there is LOTS of extra live bacteria in the pill to account for natural die-off.
- Use a great substance inside the pill (like rice bran powder) that makes sure moisture doesn’t creep in.
- Don’t buy from a retailer.
Luckily, Jetson checks all these boxes. You’re welcome.