Israeli manufacturer claims delivery tech blunts caffeine’s bitterness

A gummy manufacturer claims that a new encapsulation technology has allowed it to put caffeine into gummies while avoiding a bitter aftertaste.

Hank Schultz, Senior Editor

May 17, 2023

3 Min Read

An Israeli manufacturer claims to have solved the bitterness puzzle with the launch of a new line of caffeine gummies. That comes at a propitious time, with Nutrition Business Journal forecasting continued strong growth for the category.

TopGum Ltd., a manufacturer based in Tel Aviv, has launched a line branded as Gummiccino.  The products feature flavors reminiscent of popular barista drinks and a 40-milligram (mg) dose of caffeine in every two-gummy serving.

The caffeine is supplied by an extract of robusta coffee beans (Coffea robusta). Robusta is the fuller-flavored cousin of arabica varieties (Coffea arabica).

Humans have long history with caffeine, despite its bitterness

Caffeine has been consumed in one form or another for many centuries. The origins of its use as a dietary ingredient are shrouded in myth. However, it is certain that humans have been ingesting caffeine at least since the fifteenth century in the form of coffee and tea consumption. 

One thing that has been true that whole time, however, is caffeine imparts a bitter taste. This is not much of an issue for tea or coffee, which have overall flavor profiles that tend toward bitterness anyway.

But according to TopGum, it has been a hurdle in other delivery formats, such as gummies. Depending on the manufacturing processes, caffeine can impart a bitter aftertaste that even a gummy’s sweetness and forward flavors can’t fully mask.

Related:Melatonin gummies deemed 'unsafe' but are they really? — analysis

TopGum claims its proprietary encapsulation technology—branded as TopCaps—not only improves flavor but boosts absorption of dietary ingredients that might be difficult to absorb.

TopGum is offering the gummies in three flavors: espresso, cappuccino and mocha. However, the company said the technology will allow customers to customize the flavor profiles, caffeine dosage and other attributes of their individual products.

The base dosage of 40-mg per serving corresponds to the amount of caffeine in a standard espresso shot, the company says. (Perhaps counterintuitively, espresso is fairly low on the caffeine content scale as coffee beverages go.)

Brand holders of all sorts are scrambling to get into the gummy game, which is one of the fastest-growing delivery formats of all. Amichai Bar-Nir, CEO of TopGum, said he believes the company’s new offering will only boost that growth.

“Until now, coffee-flavored caffeine gummies have had a limited market presence due to tendencies to develop a bitter flavor,” Bar-Nir said.

Gummy sales forecast to more than triple over 8-year span

By all measures, the gummy market is exploding. In a press release, TopGum cited recent data from Innova Market Insights that shows gummy supplement launches grew by 54% in the five-year period from 2017-2022 globally.

NBJ data pegged gummy supplement sales at $5.5 billion in the U.S. in 2018. The delivery format was already growing fast by that point, with a 13.4% growth rate that year. 

In 2020, sales were $7.4 billion, according NBJ, with 18.1% growth.

But 2021 was the true watershed year for the category. NBJ found that $12.7 billion worth of gummy supplements were sold that year, which represented an eye-popping 71.8% year-over-year growth.

NBJ is forecasting growth to normalize, with annual increases falling from 5.6% for 2023 to 4.4% by 2026.  Still, the category is expected to hit $17.4 billion in sales that year.




About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz has been the senior editor of Natural Products Insider since early 2023. He can be reached at [email protected]

Prior to joining the Informa team, he was an editor at NutraIngredients-USA, a William Reed Business Media publication.

His approach to industry journalism was formed via a long career in the daily newspaper field. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and German, Hank was an editor at the Tempe Daily News in Arizona. He followed that with a long stint working at the Rocky Mountain News, a now defunct daily newspaper in Denver, where he rose to be one of the city editors. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his time there.

The changing landscape of the newspaper industry led him to explore other career paths. He began his career in the natural products industry more than a decade ago at New Hope Natural Media, which was then part of Penton and now is an Informa brand. Hank formed friendships and partnerships within the industry that still inform his work to this day, which helps him to bring an insider’s perspective, tempered with an objective journalist’s sensibility, to his in-depth reporting.

Harkening back to his newspaper days, Hank considers the readers to be the primary stakeholders whose needs must be met. Report the news quickly, comprehensively and above all, fairly, and readership and sponsorships will follow.

In 2015, Hank was recognized by the American Herbal Products Association with a Special Award for Journalistic Excellence.

When he’s not reporting on the supplement industry, Hank enjoys many outside pursuits. Those include long distance bicycle touring, mountain climbing, sailing, kayaking and fishing. Less strenuous pastimes include travel, reading (novels and nonfiction), studying German, noodling on a harmonica, sketching and a daily dose of word puzzles in The New York Times.

Last but far from least, Hank is a lifelong fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

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