If you want to know what’s trending, ask a contract manufacturer. Contract manufacturers are in the trenches making products day in and day out for dietary supplement brands, giving them a valuable look at what some truly innovative brands are doing. And while they can’t divulge brand secrets, they can often provide an overall look at what’s trending based on what’s being made in their facilities as well as based on their own market tracking and overview.
So, what trends are contract manufacturers seeing this year?
Nutritional Outlook: Can you pinpoint a few topline product trends your company expects to see grow in the coming year? Also, are there specific health product markets you expect will be especially active in 2020?
Doug Brown, Sales and Marketing Director, Americas, Sirio Pharma [U.S. and China]: “The biggest trend we continue to see is an acceleration in demand for plant-based products globally—it’s the product class that will define the market in 2020. In addition to this, customers are also looking to work with contract providers that can help them work across the broadest spectrum of delivery systems. We can help them move their entire catalogs to plant-based products. More generally, we are also seeing the desire for greater numbers of ‘low sugar’ or ‘no sugar’ products. In terms of contract services, customers are often looking for more strategic partners that they can work with across the globe, delivering in multiple markets and continents.”
Vincent Tricarico, Vice President, Contract Manufacturing, NutraScience Labs (Farmingdale, NY): “We expect the popularity of clean flavor systems for powders to continue in 2020. We’ve also seen more brands successfully enter the beauty-from-within and sports nutrition categories in 2019, and there’s no sign of that trend slowing down over the next 12 months. The primary reason why these brands are doing so well is because they’ve learned to successfully leverage social media platforms, specifically Instagram. Lastly, sleep and memory products should continue to thrive next year.”
Bart Child, Senior Vice President, Commercial Development, Nellson (Anaheim, CA): “Consumers are more conscious than ever about what they eat and understand the connection between nutrition and overall health and wellness and are seeking products to meet specific dietary needs. Of current interest are products that deliver specific functional benefits: brain, eye, cardiovascular, and mitochondrial health. Serving a wide range of consumer markets (sports performance, active nutrition, wellness, weight management, and medical nutrition) allows us to see how trends can vary in definition and appeal depending on the different consumer within each market segment. For example, the trend in products promoting brain health can vary depending on the category: 1) Sports nutrition: for sports and active nutrition cognitive health products for focus, concentration, learning, memory, and reaction time, 2) Weight management: products supporting weight loss might include nootropics by working to improve focus and energy and enhance mood and motivation, 3) Aging population: mental focus, mental alertness, boost of energy.”
Tim Chiprich, Vice President, Product Development, CAPTEK Softgel International (Cerritos, CA): “The trends that CAPTEK will target are hemp products/CBD due to the increasing demand. Beauty products are growing in demand, and CAPTEK will focus on growing both ingestible supplements and topical single-use cosmetics. CAPTEK has been working on new dosage forms for probiotics in addition to the traditional two-piece hard-shell capsules. Finally, clean-label products that use whole-food matrix ingredients will be heavily integrated in CAPTEK’s focus.”
Adam Ishaq, Sales Manager, GMP Laboratories of America Inc. (Anaheim, CA): “One of the biggest product trends we expect to see in 2020 is a continued increase in customized nutrition for consumers based on their diet, age, and other personal factors. Consumers seem to be getting away from looking at ‘cookie cutter’ formulations that are made for a broad audience and instead want formulas and supplement programs that can specifically help them with issues they are having.”
Eugene Ung, CEO, Best Formulations (City of Industry, CA): “For 2020, we see a continuation of existing product trends such as collagen, turmeric, vitamin D, etc. Clean-label formulas (utilizing natural, non-GMO, organic ingredients) with minimal excipients will continue to be strong. We’re seeing strong interest in rebranding eye and vision formulas for e-sport applications. The elephant-in-the-room sort of speak is CBD. There is a huge amount of interest in this area, whether companies are admitting they are participating or not. However, growth and opportunities hinge on FDA and industry finding some common ground of a regulatory path.”
Barri Sigvertsen, Global Innovation Marketing, Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition (Morristown, NJ): “With consumers becoming more and more interested in supporting their wellbeing, in addition to that of the planet, we anticipate that the number of consumers seeking products that reflect these preferences and values will continue to rise. As such, we expect to see the trend for products with clean-label, natural, vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based positionings gain further traction in 2020. As part of this, consumers are also leading increasingly active day-to-day lifestyles, so we expect the market for joint health and sports nutrition products to continue to rise as people look to support everyday health and performance. We also anticipate further growth of the probiotics market as consumers become more attuned to benefits of supporting their overall health.”
Mark LeDoux, CEO, Natural Alternatives International (Carlsbad, CA): “I think that the primary trends will be to provide products with adequate scientific support to address condition-specific issues. Recent court rulings have indicated the bias for substantiation is in favor of obtaining a significant scientific consensus through randomized controlled clinical studies involving adequate and sufficient numbers of subjects for evaluation. I also think that the probiotic space is going to face challenges as well based on viability of cultures presented to consumers. Based on the research we have seen, lyophilized cultures not presented in protected and refrigerated packaging may be the subject of concern of both consumers and the plaintiff’s bar.
With the current explosion of all things cannabidiol and the emergence of litigation at the class action level against companies producing edible products containing CBD, this will most likely be the most closely watched component of the industry. That said, I also think that products that address healthy aging, restful sleep, improved digestion and elimination, improved vision, and other significant health concerns of joint and muscle discomfort are going to continue to achieve wide acceptance—assuming they deliver to the consumer positive results.”
Steve Holtby, President and CEO, Soft Gel Technologies Inc. (Los Angeles, CA): “Consumers look for bioavailability, potency, and purity as key factors in their supplement purchases. Another trend is that consumers want ‘natural’ supplements—those without fillers or chemicals, products made with natural and/or hypoallergenic ingredients, and gentle/buffered formulations. Many avoid supplements with artificial colors/flavors. Whole-food supplements are a growing segment in this supplement category. Some of the top health conditions for which consumers will seek products targeted to improve their quality of life include: healthy aging, anti-inflammatory, energy, sexual vitality, weight loss, sleep aids, and anti-anxiety.”