Gummy, capsule, and softgel innovations on high at SupplySide East

May 2, 2019

Suppliers shared their latest in delivery system innovations.

Nutritional Outlook’s editors got the latest scoop on how delivery system suppliers are expanding their capabilities to meet consumer and formulator needs. Here’s the latest from April’s SupplySide East show in Secaucus, NJ.

Gummies

Prior to SupplySide East, Taura Natural Ingredients (West Chester, OH) and Viva 5 Corp. (Sunrise, FL) announced they were joining forces to create whole-fruit gummy supplements using Taura’s exclusive Ultra Rapid Concentration (URC) process and Viva 5’s expertise in manufacturing gummy supplements. The URC process quickly extracts moisture from fruit to protect its integrity, creating shelf-stable pieces of fruit and fruit pastes that don’t require additional bulking agents, flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Until now, Taura had exclusively been a food ingredient business. Slowly, the company has expanded its focus. “We started expanding into fruit snacks. We found that we can add inclusions to it, so we looked at chia seeds, quinoa-things that are on-trend [and provide a] different mouthfeel. People really liked that,” explained Joh Luebbers, vice president of sales for Taura, to Nutritional Outlook. “So, the next stop was [to consider] more actives, probiotics, multivitamins-things like that, which we didn’t have a lot of experience with.”

Luebbers said that Taura experimented with numerous ingredients, “but in our process, we only make cubes, flakes, and sticks; we don’t make real gummies.” That’s when Taura realized it needed to collaborate with a company that had more experience with gummy supplements.

“It’s a great synergy of what we do well and what they do well,” said Vic Peroni, chief operations officer, for Viva 5. “What we’ve seen so far is that there is a lot of interest in the technology, the taste, the flavor profile, the consistency in the mouth, and, obviously, our ability to bring innovation into the gummy supplement category.”

“As far as technology, we’re looking to bring a number of different nutrients into the gummy formula,” added Peroni. “If someone’s putting it into a gummy, we can manufacture it. Now we have the ability to deliver that in a whole-fruit type of format, and that’s where the competitive edge is going to exist.”

This is a major innovation for the gummy supplement category, offering a novel, clean-label, low-sugar, and natural-tasting gummy supplement solution. “This is the next generation of gummies,” said Brian Baer, president of Viva 5, to Nutritional Outlook. “Gelatin was the first gummy on the market. Everyone wanted a cleaner label, so they moved to pectin, which has been more popular. Now, this to us is the next generation: whole fruit–based gummies.”

Hard Caps

Hard capsules offer different benefits to formulators, and firms such as ACG (Piscataway, NJ) and Lonza (Morristown, NJ) showcased some innovative hard capsule solutions that add versatility and allow for clean-label claims.

Lonza, for its part, showcased its Vcaps, which are hardshell vegetarian capsules. Recently, the company introduced the ability to provide Vcaps in natural, food-source colors.The first color available in the line is purple, derived from purple carrots. More colors are in the pipeline, the company said.

“We already have in Europe a blue from spirulina, but as you may know spirulina is not allowed by the U.S. FDA to be used as a colorant. We [have submitted a petition to the agency], and hopefully we’ll get that cleared, but we’re looking for other alternatives for our USA blue,” explained Barri Sigvertsen, marketing manager, Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition. “We are coming out with a spicy yellow from turmeric and a red radish from radishes, so it’s going to a whole entire portfolio. The other cool thing about these is that because they are natural, they respond to pH levels, so you can actually adjust the tinting of them with pH adjustments. So it does give you a wide variety of solutions.”

The natural, vegetable-based coloring is not only clean label but also vegan friendly, making it ideal for plant-based applications.

Liquid Fills

Lonza and ACG also showcased capsule solutions like Duocaps and Flofit, respectively, that offer a lot of versatility for formulators. Although neither of these is particularly new for either company, they are crucial technologies for the market. At a time when convenience is paramount for consumers, and manufacturers worry about consumers experiencing “pill fatigue,” these capsules, which allow formulators to create combination products, are important for helping to avoid the need to take multiple pills.

For example, Flofit and Duocaps are designed for liquid fill, competing with softgel capsules which are popular with products such as fish oil. However, hard caps like Flofit and Duocaps have the added benefit of being able to suspend pellets or another capsule within that liquid. This is also an advantage when protecting sensitive or even typically incompatible ingredients. “An oil with a probiotic inside is one example,” said Rakesh Sharma, senior sales manager for ACG. “Enzymes can be another combination.” The ability to create different release profiles is also an advantage: “There can also be a combination with an immediate release, and an extended, or delayed, release,” Sharma said.

“Incompatible ingredients, things that don’t play well together, are a great combination for Duocaps,” said Lonza’s Sigvertsen. “It’s just one of the many technologies we’ve developed to think about how you formulate things in a unique and different way to help them perform better. And the customers love it, too, because they don’t have to take two pills, they can take one pill” thanks to the ingredient combos afforded by Duocaps.

Finding ways to combine on-trend ingredients in more traditional supplement formats is an important way for pills to remain competitive in the marketplace as other novel nutraceutical delivery formats become more popular and capable of meeting consumer needs, such as gummies, dispersible powders, even functional foods and beverages. Traditional supplements are certainly not on the way out, but definitely need to adapt-and they can adapt, as these suppliers have shown.

Softgels

In softgel news, Softgel Technologies Inc. (Los Angeles) informed Nutritional Outlook that it will be partnering with NextFerm to offer softgel solutions for NextFerm’s AstaFerm. AstaFerm is a non-marine astaxanthin derived from the fermentation of Phaffia yeast.

Softgel Technologies says that, being a non-marine source, AstaFerm’s superior organoleptics have an advantage over microalgae-based astaxanthin, which requires some masking of “fishy” off notes.