Gummy grand slam: Understanding the opportunities in chewable supplements – article

Rising popularity of gummies is raising the bar for taste and efficacy. Creating successful products requires manufacturing expertise and versatility.

April 3, 2023

6 Min Read

For decades, dietary supplements were pretty much synonymous with pills. Yes, there were some tinctures, teas and powders on the market, but the overwhelming majority of products came in capsule, tablet or softgel form. Most consumers just accepted that taking a supplement typically meant popping a pill.

Times have changed. Thanks to significant ingredient innovation, high-quality supplements now come in a broad spectrum of delivery formats. And whether they are pill fatigued, have trouble swallowing or are simply seeking something different, shoppers are increasingly choosing those alternative delivery systems—especially gummies.     

Of all of the non-pill formats, none has rocked the dietary supplements industry quite like the gummy. The market has exploded with tasty, chewable gummy supplements in recent years, spanning all categories and conditions. Plus, consumers now seek gummies that meet all their expectations for taste, clean ingredients and efficacy.

Formulating a winning gummy product is complex, requiring technology, specific materials knowledge, experience and versatility. Partnering with a specialized co-manufacturing company that understands the myriad ingredient nuances of gummy-specific innovation and possesses a category specific proven track record of producing top-selling gummy supplements is the recipe for success. But before you engage in product production it’s important to understand the market opportunity.

Validating the opportunity: A booming gummy market

By all measures, the gummy market is exploding. Mintel’s Global New Products Database shows that between 2017 and 2021, launches of gummy and chew supplements increased by 153%. During that same timeframe, gummies and chews accounted for 7% of all dietary supplement launches—and by 2022, that percentage had jumped to 10%.


Gummies are now the single most popular supplement delivery format, according to Nutrition Business Journal’s (NBJ) Delivery Format Report 2022. Last year, when NBJ asked 1,005 consumers which format they favored, 27.4% chose gummies, whereas 25.1% picked tablets, 19.7% went for capsules and 13.1% selected softgels as their preference.  

Given both the proliferation of gummy SKUs and their booming popularity, it’s no wonder sales are skyrocketing worldwide. In the U.S. alone, the gummy supplement market mushroomed by 75% in 2021, NBJ reports, raking in nearly $13 billion in sales and enabling gummies—for the first time ever—to squeak past tablets and capsules to become the best-selling single supplement delivery format.


Sweet on gummies

Innovating in the gummy space also takes insight into why consumers are embracing these formats. New research sheds light on changing consumer attitudes. For example, taste, not surprisingly, is the number-one reason why consumers prefer gummies to other formats, as indicated by 27% of respondents, in a recent survey by a flavor manufacturer.[1] Beyond taste, 24% of survey participants said they like the chewy format, while 22% appreciate the variety of flavors. Another 18% like the convenience aspect of gummies. Interestingly, 52% of respondents said they believe that gummies are more effective than other formats.

While gummy users span all demographics, they do skew younger. NBJ’s 2022 research reveals that 43.3% of Gen Z shoppers prefer gummies, compared to 30.9% of millennials, 24.5% of Gen Xers and 18.9% of baby boomers. 

New supplement users are also more likely to favor gummies, according to NBJ data. Among consumers who started taking supplements within the last one-to-five years, 35.3% favor gummies over other formats.


Gummies for all health needs

These insights are especially important given that consumers now want to see chewable options across condition-specific supplement categories, from brain health and immune support to digestive wellness. Shoppers now also seek chewable non-pill formats that support key issues like sleep and stress as well as energy, mood, heart health, women’s health and beauty-from-within.

Many gummy consumers also maintain an eye for clean labels. They don’t like long lists of artificial ingredients and mystery components. These shoppers also look for product attributes such as allergen-free, non-GMO, organic, kosher, halal and made with natural colors, flavors and sweeteners.

An added concern is sugar content. While many consumers appreciate the treat-like aspect of these products, which may help them stick with their supplement regimens, they don’t want to ingest a lot of sugar and empty calories. Consumers also increasingly look for plant-based gummies as an alternative to the traditional gelatin-based options. In fact, when FONA International investigated which product attributes gummy consumers prioritize, survey respondents ranked vegan or vegetarian claims as the most important. Next came organic, low calorie, sugar free and natural colors.

In response to these growing demands, Funtrition offers a variety of gummy technologies to meet partners’ needs for clean ingredients and efficacy, including gelatin, plant-based agar and pectin, mixed matrix and filled gummies.

Manufacturing to meet the demand

A leading contract manufacturer of advanced gummy solutions for the global nutraceuticals industry, Funtrition by Procaps is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand. With their specific gummy technology experience and capabilities, the company partners with product developers and brand owners to help bring their gummy visions to life.

Vertically integrated, Funtrition has grown along-side the supplement industry at large to meet the high demand. The company is expanding its gummy production capabilities by adding a market for gummies.

Funtrition broke ground on the 62,000-square-foot Florida production and packaging facility in early 2022. Phases one and two of the project—establishing offices, logistics, warehousing and packaging operations—are now complete. Phase three of construction—establishing full gummy manufacturing—is well underway.

Funtrition’s original facility, in Bogota, Colombia, can produce 300 tons of gummies per month. For packaging, it can achieve 2.5 million minipacks, more than 1 million bottles and 2 million flow-packs monthly. Once completed, the Florida facility will match the Bogota center’s manufacturing capabilities and eventually add single-serve packaging services.

With more than 20 years of experience, Funtrition can serve as a crucial partner in portfolio renovation and new product development, helping to drive product innovation and get them to  market efficiently.

With Funtrition, product developers and brand owners can gain support from early brainstorming all the way through to final-product packaging. It all starts at the company’s new Inspiration Center, located at its Bogota headquarters, home to over 20 scientists and diverse resources. Available support includes product ideation, gummy design, prototyping, feasibility evaluation, process and packaging engineering, regulatory and marketing. 

Additionally, available for your brand packaging, Funtrition has complete gummy products that align with leading health categories. For example, for brain health, BrightG combines Cereboost-branded American ginseng extract with brain-boosting choline and omega-3 fatty acids. BrightG boasts a light texture, clean bite and tasty tangerine flavor.

Deep experience is also fundamental. To date, Funtrition gummies have been used in more than 100 SKUs globally, 78% gelatin and 22% plant-based. The company launches more than 50 new SKUs annually.

Click here to get in touch with Funtrition.

[1] FONA International. Vitamins and Supplements Consumer Engagement Summary, January 2021

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