Best practice marketing; Winclove’s business partner, Institut AllergoSan


The collaboration between Institut AllergoSan and Winclove is long standing, dating back to 1991 when the two family-owned companies met for the first time. Since then, AllergoSan’s probiotic portfolio under the OMNi-BiOTiC® brand has grown significantly and up to now includes 9 of Winclove’s probiotic formulations. Institut AllergoSan has succeeded in making OMNi-BiOTiC® the market leader in Austria and Germany in the field of medically-relevant probiotics, and even to become the No.2 brand in the total Austrian OTC-market. Institut AllergoSan’s founder and CEO Mag. Anita Frauwallner has been running the company from the beginning and has established Institut AllergoSan as an international competence center for health and microbiota advice for doctors and pharmacies. We asked Mag. Anita Frauwallner to share with us some key elements of her marketing successes.

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Mag. Anita Frauwallner, CEO Institut AllergoSan



What made you decide a quarter of a century ago to dive into the world of probiotics?

Thirty years ago I owned a pharmacy focussing on healthy substances derived from nature such as vitamins and phytotherapeuticals. At that time, I heard about gut bacteria and realized that you cannot absorb even the best nutrients without good intestinal health. If you do not have the right bacteria in your gut, food supplements are just very expensive toilet flushing. I became interested in the topic of probiotics and the first ten years I attended many conferences on microbial (gut) health. At one of these conferences I met Prof. Dr. Rombouts from Wageningen University who shared similar ideas about probiotics as me. That is; effective probiotics should consist of multiple bacterial strains in sufficient amounts (at least 10^9cfu/gr). Prof. Rombouts was developing high quality multispecies probiotics together with Winclove, and this was where I joined the collaboration. In the beginning, probiotics were not much more than a hobby for me, but this changed when I met Prof. Stockbrügger at a conference in Amsterdam in 2001. He was the head of the Gastroenterology Department at Maastricht University and later in his career the editor of the European Journal of Gastroenterology. I asked him; “Why are you interested in probiotics?” He answered; “You see, I think I am a really good gastroenterologist, but sometimes at the end of the week you leave a patient in the hospital and you think you have done everything for him. But then you come back to the clinic after the weekend and suddenly he is in the intensive care department due to Clostridium difficile infection. We have nothing to help these patients; nobody in the world has a solution for Clostridium difficile infection”. Prof. Stockbrügger was also an early believer of fighting bad bacteria with good bacteria. This was the moment when I decided to sell my pharmacy and invest into research and marketing of probiotics and make my vision the focus of my lifetime: creating and giving highest quality probiotics to everyone.



Can you describe how the relationship with Winclove evolved over the years?


When I met Pieter Pekelharing and Bram van Leeuwen (red. founders of Winclove) I really liked that they shared my enthusiasm and my ideas but most of all that they had the facility and knowledge to put them into practice. I think it is incredible what Winclove and Institut AllergoSan achieved together. I share my ideas and get inspiration from the medical professionals at Winclove and together we work on how to turn them into reality. I see it as my mission to spread enthusiasm about probiotics all over the world – now for more than 25 years side by side with Winclove. They provide me the necessary product quality and background information. It is this positive interaction and the trust that Winclove is really making every effort to provide me with the best probiotic solutions that has made our collaboration such a success.



What defines the OMNi-BiOTiC®   brand success?


I am often asked, why do so many people buy your probiotics? It is our passion and believe in the products that inspire the doctors. I am enthusiast about probiotics from my own personal experience. When I was a child, I suffered from eczema and later in life from hay fever. When I gave birth to my son and he developed atopic eczema, I knew it was me who had given this allergy to my son. Together with Winclove and Prof. Dr. Rijkers we conducted the Ecologic PANDA study (red. The effects of selected probiotic strains on the development of eczema (the PandA study) 2009). We saw a significant reduction in the incidence of eczema in children taking the probiotics. Knowing that you can reduce the risk for your child of getting eczema, although you have an allergy yourself, is fantastic. I used to have immunity and gut problems but this has completely changed since I started taking probiotics 25 years ago. Since then I have no health issues any more, I think my last flue was perhaps 15 years ago. Seeing how my life has changed through probiotics inspires my team. Besides an enthusiastic team, Institut AllergoSan is involved in sports sponsoring and charity events. We also offer a complete education concept for doctors and pharmacists. We talk to key opinion leaders, connect with them, and motivate them through high-class trainings. 10 years ago we have even set up an academy focused on gut health.




Can you tell something about the importance of microbes in early life?


When a baby is born, it is so important to provide an optimal start by making sure the baby inherits the right bacteria and a perfect immune system. The health of the mother is crucial in this. Of course, quitting smoking and breast-feeding are very important for the child’s health. But Prof. Rijkers and I knew that the most important thing is to build a good immunity from day one. This ensures good health later in life as well. Just imagine that the major part of your immunity is established in the first years of life. When the right bacteria colonize your gut, this is good, however, so many babies are born in hospitals and are more likely to pick up hospital-acquired bacteria. The moment you have the idea of becoming pregnant, and the first months of life provide a window of opportunity for modulating the microbiota to promote healthy growth and development.


How do you see the future of indications specific probiotics? 


I would not allow myself to be a 100% sure, because it is very important to be open for new ideas. However, I think the future will bring two things; personalized probiotics and new bacteria. We are now at the highest quality standards with the available lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. I think Wincloves’ probiotics set a benchmark in our industry. However, diagnostics can help us to personalize probiotics to make them even more effective. I do not think that every single person needs a different probiotic, but I do believe in a more targeted way to address specific bacterial communities.  


Also legislation needs to be adapted in order to allow the use of recently discovered bacteria and to say more about the health effects of probiotics (based on the data derived from evidence based studies). In general patients should be able to manage their health by prevention instead of cure. I hope the future will allow us to communicate with people about the health effects of probiotics. Prevention is key to stay healthy and enjoy life.




















Interview Institute Allergosan

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