Chew on this! Delightful delivery formats – digital magazine

Gummies are the “it” delivery format with supplement consumers today, but formulators know full well that candyceuticals have a distinct set of limitations, including shelf-stability and stickiness, frequently high sugar content, and a cap on how much active ingredient can be included. Those inherent challenges keep the door open to both proven formats like capsules, tablets and softgels, and emerging delivery solutions like powders, effervescents, liquids, oral thin strips and squares. As such, brands that want to stand out in the dynamic nutraceutical space need to keep pace with evolving consumer interests as well as new product development and formulation trends.

April 11, 2024

3 Min Read
Chew on this! Delightful delivery formats

Healthy candy is a concept most consumers are eager to latch onto, but supplement formulators and contract manufacturers know the delivery format picture is a lot bigger than the swift rise in its popularity. Outside of the innovations to make gummies lower in sugar and higher in ingredient payload, supplement makers are modernizing other formats in ways that should make brands take notice.

Liquid supplements are offering more concentrated formulas, in line with consumers shifting toward smaller, single-serving sizes. Companies are developing new chewable tablets with features like microscopic droplets to improve bioavailability and allow for higher ingredient doses. Oral strips are gaining in popularity due to convenience and ease of use. Fizzy drink mix formats allow supplement takers a drinkable format with multiple active ingredients.

In short, the supplement industry is moving toward offering consumers more convenient, effective and higher-dose supplements with lower sugar content. Dozens of examples can be sampled in this free digital magazine, all about delightful delivery. The articles include:

Viewpoint: Supplements are … fun?

The experience of taking supplements, compared to traditional pills, can be enjoyable, and new formats are delivering the delight, explains Content Director Todd Runestad. Oral thin strips, squares, powders and RTDs are leading the pleasure parade. An important aspect of new delivery format development is a commitment to being nutrition-forward, as younger generations shun sugar water and ho-hum products for quality supplement solutions.

Let’s fix that!

Gummies are super popular, but the manufacturing process involves precisely mixing and cooking the ingredients, and careful consideration of factors like temperature, pH and water activity. “Candy scientist” Michelle Frame breaks it all down. She explains that major and minor ingredients define confectionery gummy formulas, and how major ingredients control not only sweetness, but also structure, texture, body, shape, gel matrix and water activity control.

Sweet nothings

Gummy makers are innovating to reduce sugar and increase the amount of active ingredients they can include, writes Peter Rejcek. But new delivery formats like chewable tablets, liquids, effervescent tablets, oral strips and jellies are also coming on strong. Even fringe formats like dissolvable strips and more radical delivery systems — at least for Western palates — like konjac jelly out of Southeast Asia are on contract manufacturers’ radar as well.

In praise of pills

From optimal dosage levels and efficacy to lifestyle preferences, Frank Romanski offers five reasons why capsules remain the preferred format for 44% of consumers. The tried-and-true delivery format can help brands deliver not only potential health benefits, but also add value and functionality for consumers like convenience, swallowability, taste, release kinetics, efficacy, and lifestyle preferences such as plant-based or vegan options.

Special deliveries

Fizzy powders, crystals, beadlets of microencapsulated ingredients, oral pouches, plant-based gummies — the dietary supplement space is always innovating new delivery formats, according to Sydney Postal. But there are challenges to consider as nutraceutical brands evaluate delivery formats: powders can be complex to flavor and are susceptible to clumping, tablet coating comes with its own set of intricacies, and capsules have a limited range of sizing options, to name just a few.

Examples of delivery format takeaways for your business include:

  • Nutrition Business Journal predicts that the days of double-digit growth for gummies are over, even after gummy sales were up 12.1% in 2022 to nearly $14.3 billion. Contract manufacturers, suppliers and brands are betting that innovations in established formats like liquid supplements, effervescent tablets and chewables can eventually take a bigger bite of the pie.

  • Gelatin is the most utilized gelling agent in supplement gummies because of its ease of use, ready supply and consistency. Pectin, the other gelling agent most often used in gummies, is a vegan, upcycled ingredient from citrus and apples and is known for a clean flavor release and tender bite.

  • Consumers want more active ingredients, less added ingredients — the same trend that has happened across food and beverage over the last 10 to 15 years.

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