Gummy supplement innovation at SupplySide West, from astaxanthin to pea starch


At November’s SupplySide West show, suppliers rolled out their latest prototypes.

Photo of Puris pea starch gummies from Puris

With gummy supplements growing in demand, many ingredient suppliers are working to ensure their flagship ingredients are compatible with gummies. At November’s SupplySide West show, suppliers rolled out their latest prototypes.



AstaReal Inc. (Burlington, NJ) debuted a gummy supplement formulated with 4 mg of its AstaReal astaxanthin. “We wanted to show companies that this is an area where astaxanthin can be applicable,” said Christopher Imanaka, AstaReal brand manager, at SupplySide West.

The company was successfully able to overcome flavor challenges stemming from marine-derived astaxanthin, including by adding flavors from fruit juices. (The company’s ingredient is sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae.) Taste challenges were also more easily overcome due to how AstaReal astaxanthin is purified and how oxidation of the oil is limited, the company says, which yields a milder-flavored ingredient in the first place.

Karen Hecht, PhD, technical marketing specialist, AstaReal, said the company was able to formulate the gummy using both the oil and powder forms of its astaxanthin. She said the company is also currently conducting stability tests, including with different types of packaging, whether plastic bottles or single-use pouches.

Importantly, the company says, the ingredient does not present problems on the processing line. “Some people might be worried that because astaxanthin is a pigment that it might stain the starch mold so they can’t reuse it,” Hecht says. “But we found that’s actually not the case; it doesn’t interfere with the gummy manufacturing process.”

And astaxanthin’s red pigment can actually be a benefit when it comes to gummy color, she said. “It turns out that the most popular gummy flavors are fruit berry, chocolate, and citrus flavors. Astaxanthin has an orangish-reddish color, depending on the dilution, so it fits in well with those berry fruit flavors.”

“Finding new delivery methods is huge for us,” Imanaka added. At last year’s SupplySide West show, AstaReal introduced a cold-water-dispersible astaxanthin powder suited for cold beverages such as sports nutrition drinks-a notable achievement for a fat-soluble ingredient like astaxanthin.

“For us, it’s really about pushing the market forward and what you can do with astaxanthin,” he said. “You’re not just stuck with taking a pill; you have options. You can get it into a sports drink. You can get it into a gummy. You can work with an effervescent. There are many applications for astaxanthin, and companies need to be able to see that.”


Pea Starch

Pea ingredient supplier Puris (Minneapolis) introduced pectin-free gummies made with pea starch. The company says pea starch is an alternative to “less-sustainable” starches such as corn and tapioca starch.

“And because it’s unlike corn starch, we are able to let the true flavor of the gummies shine,” said Puris chief marketing officer Jon Getzinger, in a press release. “Our pea starch continues to amaze us as it shows the ability to replace much more expensive (and less label friendly) gums in everything from ready-to-drink beverages to confections.”

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