At this year’s SupplySide West trade show, innovative delivery forms were front and center. Kathy Paffendorf, account executive, Pharmchem Laboratories Inc. (Kearny, NJ), spoke to Nutritional Outlook at the show about how Pharmachem is meeting its customers’ delivery needs.
Pharmachem was acquired by Ashland Global Holding Inc. (Covington, KY) last May, an agreement which Paffendorf said was “a great fit” for both companies. “They were looking to expand their nutritional division, and we fit that criteria for them…because of our processing capabilities [and] our strategic alliances with other suppliers,” she explained. At the show, Pharmachem showcased new chewable and stick pack delivery forms of Ashland’s trademarked, highly bioavailable Ferronyl iron ingredient. According to Ashland, Ferronyl iron is a carbonyl iron powder with a higher iron level than ferrous salts.
While Ferronyl iron has been available on the market for a while, Paffendorf explained, Pharmachem “put a little nuance into it and we put it in a chewable form and did flavor masking so you can’t taste any iron.” In addition to the new chewable form, Pharmachem also formulated Ferronyl iron into a stick pack form that purportedly disperses more quickly. “We call it speedy melt,” Paffendorf said.
According to Paffendorf, easy, on-the-go delivery systems are “huge” right now. Chewables and stick packs, while not necessarily new, are more popular than ever before. She noted that Pharmachem has already seen significant interest in the chewable and stick pack forms of Ferronyl iron, especially given that mineral ingredients, like iron, are notorious for their less-than-desirable metallic tastes. Pharmachem’s new chewable form of Ferronyl iron comes in lemon lime and mixed berry flavors.
Microencapsulation, Paffendorf said, is another delivery trend that the company sees gaining steam. “As people are trying to pair up probiotics with other ingredients that may affect potency, microencapsulation is more and more in demand. So, we’re seeing a lot of that.” Microencapsulation also allows formulators to add color to a formulation and draw the eye to specific ingredients, “so it stands out from the rest of the formulation,” she said.
Post-acquisition, Pharmachem’s primary focus is bringing more of Ashland’s specialty excipients into the nutritional market, Paffendorf said. Probiotics are also “a big growth area for the next several years.” She added that even in the probiotics category, unique delivery systems are on the rise. “[Probiotics] can come in a dropper form; they can come in a chocolate candy. We can deliver probiotics in what looks like an M&M [candy].”