Innovative ingredients inspire greener, cleaner formulations – article

New syrup solutions help create consumer-friendly product labels that are organic, non-GMO and lower sugar

April 3, 2024

6 Min Read

The quest for cleaner products has seen meteoric interest in the last decade with new ingredients emerging to create products that connect to consumers’ values.  The trend now extends to supplements, including gummies — those glittering, gem-colored chewables with labels that make even brighter promises for glowing health. But after walking the sugar-laden plank of early generation gummies, consumers shopping for the chewy supplements these days demand more.

Consumer data reported by Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) for New Hope Network’s 2024 State of Natural Report punctuates value-driven purchasing priorities. Among consumers who regularly shop for natural and organic food and beverages, the survey found 56% of respondents said the USDA Organic certification is most important to them when shopping for products.

To hit all the right marks, products must not only taste great with less sugar and deliver a functional payload, they also should include clean and organic ingredient attributes. Fortunately, select suppliers are providing the ingredients that enable formulators to create gummy products that meet consumer needs and priorities.

“Ultimately, gummies need to not only deliver beneficial nutrients, but also exceptional taste and sensory performance,” said Tonya Lofgren, product manager at Ciranda. The Wisconsin-based supplier has been delivering innovative certified organic, non-GMO and fair trade ingredients for more than 30 years. Ciranda supplies ingredients to ensure meaningful certifications for many applications, including syrups that perform well in gummies.

Bright opportunities

It’s a timely proposition. Gummies are now the single most popular supplement delivery format, according to NBJ’s Delivery Format Report 2023, commanding 23.4% of supplement market share. Historical data from this report noted the category claimed 10.1% of the market in 2016. By 2021 it had more than doubled to 21.3% of the market with explosive 74.9% growth.1 That year was the first time U.S. gummy sales — nearly $13 billion — bounced past tablets and capsules to become the best-selling single supplement delivery format, ending thousands of years of pill domination. Not too shabby for a product available in heart, teddy bear and T-Rex shapes!


The format’s appeal crosses conditions. In NBJ consumer research, 38.9% of respondents looking for healthy sleep supplements prefer gummies. For stress, that slice grows to 43.4%, making stress the only category where gummies are nearly equal to the combined pill formats. Gummies are also popular with those surveyed for varied categories such as sports, weight loss, cognitive health and bone health.

In 2023, when NBJ asked 1,198 consumers which format they favored, 26% chose gummies as their first choice. While gummy users span all demographics, gummy lovers do tend to be younger. Gen Z — a group with many more decades of buying power ahead of them — are gobbling up gummies at more than twice the rate of their Baby Boomer parents and grandparents. NBJ’s 2023 research revealed that 38% of Gen Z shoppers prefer gummies, compared to 30% of Millennials, 26% of Gen Xers and 18% of Baby Boomers. 


Craving flavor and health

Consumers across demographics have always grabbed gummies for their flavor. In fact, NBJ reports the largest percentage of consumers who prefer gummies over other formats do so because of taste. But many of today’s consumers now seek the same tasty reward without the sugar — a reflection of more general consumer preference. Seventy-two percent of consumers say they are trying to either reduce sugar or avoid it entirely, according to a recent survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC).2 “Low in sugar” and “fresh” remain the top two definitions of healthy food among those surveyed. Older generations are more likely to mention “low in sugar” and “low in sodium,” while younger generations more often choose "organic,” "natural," “limited or no artificial ingredients.” The report also notes that consumers prefer sugar to artificial sweeteners.

Research by Mintel shows similar results, with 3 in 5 consumers choosing lower-sugar products. It’s a preference definitely apparent among supplement shoppers. In the 2023 NBJ survey, 48% of frequent supplement users who prefer gummies agreed with the statement: “I try to limit the amount of sugar in my supplements.”

Greener, cleaner gummies

Supplement shoppers are also seeking greater ingredient transparency and cleaner sweet gummies free from long lists of artificial ingredients and unfamiliar compounds. Brands are responding with more options.

“While corn syrup has been used in gummy manufacturing for many years, consumer interest in clean label has driven the industry toward syrups from different non-GMO sources, including tapioca and rice,” said Lofgren.

This need for cleaner labels that do not sacrifice sweetness drove Ciranda to expand their line of high quality, organic, non-GMO syrups for gummies and other applications with new reduced sugar syrups launched in 2023. “At Ciranda, we listen closely to our customers, and we repeatedly heard them say their options to reduce sugar were limiting,” said Don Trouba, VP of go-to-market for the employee-owned company. “In response, we collaborated with our global partners to develop three syrups, sourced from agave and tapioca, that help with sugar reduction. With these new products, brands can now achieve sugar reduction while staying true to their certifications and clean label goals,” he said. The syrups are functional, sustainable and non-GMO. Each can be used as a single syrup replacement for traditional syrups or combined to create the ideal sweetener for a unique product.


The new non-GMO Tapioca Syrup RS18 contains 38% less sugar than Ciranda’s DE40 Tapioca Syrup with superior binding and film-forming properties. “Not only does it provide sweetness with low sugar, it also helps make it low tack,” Lofgren explained.

The company also offers two new agave syrups that are lower sugar. The new Agave Syrup AL40, USDA Organic, non-GMO syrup contains 40% less sugar and 40% fewer calories than the standard organic agave syrup. This syrup is used to lower sugars while maintaining sweetness, added Lofgren.

Another new option is Agave Syrup IN10, USDA Organic, non-GMO syrup that contains 9% less sugar and 8% fewer calories than the company’s standard agave syrup, along with 10% of solids as inulin fiber.

Pioneering with mission

Ciranda pioneered organic tapioca syrup more than 20 years ago and continues to build on those decades of expertise. “As the first company to commercially import and distribute tapioca syrups in the U.S., we have been helping our customers with a wide range of services, from training on how to pick the right syrups to troubleshooting formulations and equipment,” said Lofgren. The products are backed with in-house research and development, technical support and deep relationships with global supply partners.

Husband and wife team Brazilian-born Hans and Joan Friese founded the company on the belief that organic was better, years before the federally mandated organic program was created. The company is committed to sustainable sourcing and having a social impact in the communities in which it does business. Ciranda sources through partners who align with its values through fair working conditions, labor practices and overall environmental health. The company is named after the Ciranda folk dance, a Brazilian dance reflecting the importance and equality of all people working united together for the benefit of all. This is a mission brought to life through ingredients that connect growers, the planet, manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers.

[1] Nutrition Business Journal. Delivery Format Report 2022.

[2] International Food Information Council. 2023 Food and Health Survey.

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