consumer packaged goods

Tom's Pioneers Prebiotic Personal-Care Products

Step aside, kimchi and kombucha. Tom’s of Maine is out to give Americans a whole new way to befriend bacteria, debuting a line of personal-care products that promote the growth of good bacteria.

The company, owned by Colgate-Palmolive, is working with actress Ellie (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) Kemper as it rolls out the collection. And the launch includes toothpaste, bar soap, and a deodorant promising 48-hour protection.

Tom’s says the idea came from research that finds a third of Americans believe their bodily bacteria is out of whack.

The probiotic category has been booming for years, from supplements to yogurt to beverages. But prebiotic products look to take consumers one step further into the microbial kingdom. Prebiotics are the nutrients that promote the growth of probiotic bacteria that already exist in and on the body by feeding them, while “starving and crowding out the bad bacteria that cause bad breath or body odor,” according to the company.



Tom’s research also finds that while more than half of American consumers believe their gut could benefit from a healthier balance of good and bad bugs, significantly fewer recognize that the skin (40%) and mouth (37%) can also be out of balance.

The company is also promoting the collection with videos featuring Amy Shah, M.D., explaining the value of prebiotics.

It’s introducing the line at retailers like Target, Amazon, CVS and Whole Foods.

“We know most people appreciate the importance of balancing the bacteria in the gut, but often don’t realize there are other unique microbiomes across the body to support, as well,” says Justin Boudrow, personal care brand manager at Tom’s of Maine, in the announcement.

Other recent innovations from Tom’s include charcoal toothpaste, and what it claims is the first recyclable toothpaste tube.

And last year, the company, which has battled perceptions that it is less committed to environmental goals than independent brands, became a Certified B Corporation. That designation is earned through evaluations of social and environmental performance, transparency, and legal accountability. Additionally, it donates 10% of profits to supporting nature, including a $2 million to the Nature Conservancy for waterways protection.

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