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Consumers are clamoring for their vitamins, minerals and other bioactive ingredients in gummy form, but the delivery format game for supplements extends well beyond sweet, gelatin-based gummy bears and new supplement “treats.” Capsules remain popular due to new technology and the ability to deliver higher payloads, while liposomes and oral thin strips offer new directions for supplement manufacturers and brands.
June 1, 2023
Looming large over the supplement industry is a consumer-driven push for gummies, gummies and more gummies. But underlying the desire is something formulators know quite well—challenges to the gummy format include inconsistent active ingredient levels, issues with the water matrix, and delivering enough of an ingredient to make doses efficacious. Trends away from sugar and toward clean labels and plant-based options are also driving the gummy sector into new areas, as new ingredient combinations, new flavors, new sweeteners and new formulations come to market.
Gummies might be the “it” technology today, but formulators working with difficult-to-mix ingredients or recipes with high active dosages know capsules are still category leaders, due to their ability to mask unpleasant flavors and creatively deliver both water- and oil-based ingredients, sometimes within the same capsule. Liposomal technology is similarly advancing and helping to deliver higher and more complex doses, and even oral thin strips are making waves as alternate supplement delivery vehicles.
Read all about the range of delivery formats resonating with consumers in this downloadable digital magazine. The articles include:
Content Director Todd Runestad looks at an issue in supplements that encompasses nearly every delivery format: The use of plastics and its impact on the planet at large. One company with a solution is the nonprofit 5 Gyres Institute, who is helping pioneer supplement companies like Rainbow Light and Natural Vitality to create all of their supplements bottles from 100% post-consumer plastic.
With gummies exploding in the market and delighting consumers’ taste buds, Charlotte Traas of TopGum Gummiceuticals explains the who-what-why of power ingredient pectin. The gummy texture of gummies is often associated with gelatin, but the industry’s need for a vegan or vegetarian option is growing.
More ingredient versatility, dynamic sensory appeal and improved efficacy lead this list of innovation trends in tried-and-true capsules, as compiled by Rachel Adams. One leading product is Lonza’s Capsugel Wave technology, which enables supplement makers to deliver oil- and water-based ingredients in one capsule with an appealing, wave-like visual aesthetic.
The adoration for gummies isn’t a rebel stance or an impassioned, tie-dyed plea for better health. It makes good business sense, suggests Pete Croatto, and companies generally don’t lose money catering to what consumers want. But format issues like maximizing the amount of an active ingredient, dealing with gummies’ water properties and consistent potency are all current formulation challenges.
Lisa Schofield describes the current technological state of liposomes—the sphere-shaped vesicles that protect nutrients against digestive enzymes and immunological breakdown. The Quicksilver Delivery System from Quicksilver Scientific, Phytosome proprietary technology from Indena USA, and Pharmako Biotechnologies’ new PlexoZome technology are among those featured here.
As consumers get more interested in what is on their product labels, they are asking exactly what those “other” ingredients are and what purpose they serve. Laurie Van Gels with Ribus Inc. describes some clean label options. Excipients usually fall into four areas: flow aids, fillers, binders or lubricants, and the industry is delivering clean label options like rice extract and rice fiber.
Limited loading capacity, difficulty ensuring consistent dosage amount, and stability issues are the recurring headaches in manufacturing the supplement “treats” consumers love. Formulation specialist Blake Ebersole looks at the challenge of developing combination food-supplement products. He notes that there’s more to the world of enjoyable supplement delivery forms than just squishy nuggets of sugar and cowhide extract—supplements can also come in forms like chocolatey bites, sugar-free gel chews and quick-dissolve tablets, to name a few.
Gen Z thinks oral strips are clean and fun. Millennials think they’re cool, and Gen X likes their potency and swift onset. Even Boomers see the value in the oral strip delivery format, as Dinesh AR of Aavishkar Oral Strips details. Oral strips do not have sugars and may have up to 10 times less fillers when compared to gummies carrying the same dose, as described here.
Examples of delivery formats takeaways for your business include:
Traditional hard capsules—a form beloved for its many inherent benefits—are made of gelatin derived from porcine or bovine sources. Allergen-free and taste-free attributes are available, as well as flexibility in color options and release profiles.
For prebiotics and probiotics, gummies are seeing 14% growth year over year on Amazon, according to SPINS.
Nothing beats a well-made capsule in terms of maximizing the benefit while minimizing unnecessary junk. A world of ingredients is available in different varieties and forms to create a unique and groundbreaking capsule supplement.
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