Probiotics are equated with food because of their proliferation in yogurt, but that doesn't necessarily mean one delivery system is superior.

"We don't really have good head-to-head comparison studies between supplements and foods, so it's really hard to say one is better than another," said Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., probiotics consultant and owner of Dairy & Food Culture Technologies. "Where we stand today, there are a limited number of probiotic strains that have real compelling levels of science behind them." For this reason, Sanders said the delivery system is much less important than the science behind a particular probiotic strain.

"One of our strongest suits is science," said Ganeden CEO Lefkowitz. By increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut, GanedenBC30 has been shown to help regulate the digestive system, strengthen the immune system and help reduce inflammation. The spore-forming probiotic strain called Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 is safeguarded from stomach acid and food processing.

"We have a real head start when you look at the shelf-stable food market," said Bush. "We have the only clinically backed, safety-backed, field-proven, shelf-stable probiotic that can go into the many different places it goes into."

Ganeden said 10 new product launches are scheduled this year. On Monday, Cedar's Mediterranean Foods debuted probiotic hommus and the world's first fortified wrap with GanedenBC30 at the International Dairy/Deli/Bakery Association show in Anaheim, Calif.

It's rare for a supplier to become fully vertical and offer a finished product like Ganeden has done with its supplements, said Todd Runestad, editor in chief of the New Hope Supply Network, noting that it makes sense to sell this "proof of concept" to a large dietary supplements manufacturer such as Schiff. Salt Lake City-based Schiff Nutrition International develops, manufactures, markets and sells branded and private-label vitamins and nutritional supplements in the United States and globally.