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Formulating vegan, clean label supplements

Vegan supplements are carving out an important niche in the marketplace, but they must carry clean labels to satisfy consumers.

Vegan supplements allow vegan, vegetarian and even “flexitarian” consumers to add cleaner, plant-based elements into their diets. While many traditional supplement components are made from animal-based ingredients, supplement brands are sourcing and formulating with vegan alternatives to help consumers who want to transition without sacrificing nutritional quality or product integrity.

Companies like MegaFood, whose vegan supplements are certified by Vegan Action, know the importance of quality assurance (QA) and believe customers actively seek it out. “One way the proliferation of the vegan diet has influenced the supplement industry is that it’s spread awareness about the importance of accurate labeling and certifications,” said the company’s Erin Stokes, N.D., medical director. “The vegan seal is found on supplements that are free of any animal-derived raw materials and … provides a level of assurance for our vegan consumers.”

Clean label ingredients and processing practices are a big part of the vegan supplement movement. This September marked one year since the launch of the Clean Label Alliance, a consortium of six companies—RIBUS, Lonza, BioGrund, Capsugel, Bosch and Natoli Engineering—dedicated to developing clean label and vegan dietary supplements from formulation through production and finishing.

According to Steve Peirce, president of RIBUS, “vegan” has become a big part of their collective business. “The dietary supplement industry is well-attuned to the clean label and vegan movements and has the adaptation to move nimbly and accommodate demand in its DNA,” he said.

RIBUS (short for Rice Ingredient Business United States) is an excipient provider with an all-vegan product portfolio. Among its products is Nu-Bind, a new alternative to pregelatinized starch that binds ingredients in capsules and tablets using a combination of guar gum, gum Arabic, agave fiber, rice fiber and agave syrup.

Lonza aids vegan brands with a range of plant-based ingredients and dosage options including Plantcaps capsules made from pullulan (derived from tapioca), and Vcaps capsules made from hypromellose (HPMC) for protecting moisture-sensitive ingredients.

BioGrund offers vegan and organic-certified coatings as well as cellulose or starch-based products which meet vegan requirements. The company also achieves colorful coated tablets with natural colorants rather than synthetic, animal-based colorants or titanium dioxide.

Learn more about formulating clean label, vegan supplements in this full article, which appears in Natural Products INSIDER’s Plant-Based Revolution digital magazine.

Joanna Cosgrove is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has enjoyed covering the dynamic dietary supplement and healthy food and beverage industries for nearly 20 years.

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