Direct-to-Mouth Stick Packs: The Next Big Delivery System?


T.H.E.M. says that DTM technology is becoming a growing trend particularly in the energy category.

With the ubiquitous candy Pixy Stix in mind, direct-to-mouth (DTM) dosing from a stick pack could be the next big thing in nutraceutical delivery systems, according to T.H.E.M. (Marlton, NJ), a specialist in stick pack technology.

T.H.E.M. says that DTM technology is becoming a growing trend particularly in the energy category, pointing to dietary supplement Energy Stix, manufactured by Encaff Products. The product can be poured directly from its stick pack into a consumer’s mouth. T.H.E.M. points out that the DTM trend is also being seen in the over-the-counter drug category, with cold and flu products from Reckitt Benckiser and GSK.

T.H.E.M. says consumer benefits of DTM technology include portability, convenience, and ease of use, as well as minimized materials usage and post-use waste. Additionally, the format may enable a larger dose. Says the company, “An orally dissolving tablet typically allows for about a 200-mg formulation, far less than the 1000 mg offered by the DTM stick platform.” It also points out that DTM technology is suited for liquids.

Nutritional Outlook spoke to Neil Kozarsky, president of T.H.E.M., about why this delivery system may take off in nutraceuticals-and where the challenges may be.


Nutritional Outlook: Is DTM technology still rather uncommon in the nutraceuticals industry?

Kozarsky: It is decidedly in the “still catching on” stage. While DTM sticks will not take the place of alternative dosing options for all products, this delivery system offers significant efficiencies to consumers for a number of on-the-go usage occasions: no need for bottles or mixing. That’s huge!


What are some challenges DTM technology presents in nutraceuticals?

While flavor and other formulation challenges will be a deterrent in certain instances, the potential for further expansion is very strong. The key to further market expansion resides in the areas of flavor masking, solubility, and product efficacy. No matter how good the idea or product concept may be, the consumer buy-in will only take place if the product tastes good consistently.

            We also work very closely with our stick pack customers here at T.H.E.M. to ensure that the formulations run well on stick pack machines at commercial rates of speed. We have accumulated extensive know-how concerning getting products to flow and pouches to seal. It sounds simple, but in fact it is very complex and has taken years of experience to get everything to taste good and run well.

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