Chewable tablets can now be made organic, and better, with new base ingredient from Ashland: Natural Products Expo West report

Ashland describes the new patent-pending Nutrapress organic chewable base as an “all-in-one system” containing binder, flow aid, lubricant, and sweetener, all included, and that provides good powder flowability and compressibility during direct compression of chewable tablets.

A new base ingredient now gives manufacturers of chewable dietary supplement tablets an option that’s not only organic but also an improvement on existing alternatives. The new Nutrapress organic chewable base was introduced by Ashland (Wilmington, DE) at March’s Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA. While Ashland already offers a Nutrapress organic binder, this introduction is for chewable tablets specifically.

At the show, Kapish Karan, MS, team leader of pharma, health, and wellness at Ashland, explained some of the challenges inherent in manufacturing chewable tablets. “The things that are really difficult to get are the texture, the bite, the break, the snap, so when you actually break the product, that will translate into the texture as well as a nice, cooling, melt-in-your mouth experience, which is quite difficult to gain with an organic product.”

The new patent-pending Nutrapress organic chewable base makes all these things possible, with Karan noting that “we’ve also improved the texture in such a way that it almost has a confectionery feeling, so when you bite into it, you get the snap, you get the break, but then you have a chewy aspect to it.”

Organic ingredients can be challenging to work into chewables in general, Karan elaborated, because it “becomes really tough to actually compress tablets and get them nice flavor, taste, and texture.” The Nutrapress base allows formulators “to bridge that gap—have a base that can actually function in an organic format and still give you that great taste.”

It’s also convenient and easy for formulators to use. The company describes it as an “all-in-one system” containing binder, flow aid, lubricant, and sweetener, all included, that provides good powder flowability and compressibility during direct compression of chewable tablets. Said Maxine Weber, global nutraceuticals marketing director, Ashland, at Expo West, “It makes it really easy for someone to create a chewable tablet but also an organic version.”

Not only that, Karan pointed out, manufacturers can work with the base on their existing equipment. “It’s quite unique because when you’re looking at other forms of alternatives—like jellies, gummies, or others—you literally have to go and invest in manufacturing or partner with somebody else to do it, whereas with our organic chewable base, if you make tablets, you can actually now make organic chewable tablets. Or, even if you were making conventional tablets, you can now make organic chewable tablets. So, the investment on that end is quite low.”

It’s a differentiator in the market, both Weber and Karan said. “I know folks have tried different options, but if you really look at chewable products and organic chewable products, there’s not that much in the chewable category that’s out there,” said Karan. “With this, we’ve actually been able to do it. It’s an enabling technology that can help some of our customers bring organic ingredients in a chewable format into the market.” The base is available in sugar and sugar-free versions.

Already, companies seem excited about the new tool the Nutrapress organic chewable base gives them. Said Weber, “We see very positive reaction from our customers. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised by the chewable base. We thought most people would say, ‘Okay, yes, we’ll try it.’ But we’ve had reactions like, ‘Okay, can you send me 50 kilos?’ We say, ‘You didn’t even test it yet.’ But they say, ‘That’s okay. We think this is a good idea.’”