We’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible in gummy supplements, writes Eugene Ung of Sirio Pharma.
Contract manufacturers are instrumental in bringing new supplement formulations and formats to market. You could say that the skill of a custom contract manufacturer lies in guiding consumers toward what they desire by creating new markets or products as technologies and formulations evolve. An analogy can be drawn using Apple’s launch of the iPad. Consumers didn’t realize they wanted a larger tablet that bridged the gap between a laptop and a mobile phone. By putting the iPad on the market, Apple put a whole new generation of products into shoppers’ hands. Similarly, in the realm of nutraceuticals, we observe this transition as the market expands from more traditional delivery forms to innovative gummy products. As a result, consumers are willing to pay premium prices for products that offer a more enjoyable experience and deliver ingredients that were previously taken in other dosage forms.
Today, consumers seek nutritional products that not only meet their needs but also offer enhanced sensory and organoleptic properties. The ability of a product to provide enjoyment, great taste, and excellent texture has become crucial to its success, complementing the importance of the nutritional actives it carries.
To illustrate this shift more practically, until recently, consumers settled for imperfect gummies, as they were the only available option. These gummies often experienced clumping issues and limited shelf life. However, with the introduction of newer formulations that address these issues, we are witnessing a significant increase in gummy supplement sales. Consumers are now exposed to a wider range of choices and products, becoming increasingly aware that not all gummies are the same. As a result, product quality has become more vital than ever before.
This, for me, is the biggest area of development. We have seen a huge uptick in gummy sales, but not all gummies are equal. The move to incrementally improve quality is driving new sales and, very likely, a second and larger wave of acceptance. The consumer is simply no longer happy with the novelty of newer dosage forms; they will want products that stand out. They want “better gummies”: better formulations, better technical attributes of the gummies, better heat resistance, and products that are not going to be sticking as much. It won’t be a single shift but a stream of steady innovations that will bring us to the next generation of gummy supplements. And this movement is ultimately a good thing, as it will drive both brands and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) to innovate more so that we can have products that are simpler to take and understand but that also have greatly improved sensory properties.
The big consumer brands are now reacting to these demands and are more ambitious with newer formulations and reformulations, whereas even just a few years ago, many were content with “just” getting a gummy to market. The near-term innovations will address not only how we can improve on existing options but also how we can really push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to gummy supplement production.
In the more immediate term, we imagine new products coming out with incremental improvements for everything from sleep, wellness, stress, hydration, and energy. For example, we’ve recently explored combinations of melatonin, passionflower, lemon balm, and theanine to create a gummy that improves sleep, mood, and stress management. Energy products present an obvious challenge because adding caffeine will result in a gummy with bitter flavor, requiring that we mask the flavor using natural ingredients in an enjoyable formulation. A potential solution to this challenge is using natural energy boosters, such as cinnamon, ginger, ginseng powder, rose pollen, and carotene, to energize without sacrificing product taste. Diving deeper, the hydration trend is one we will see grow, with electrolyte-based gummies replacing and/or complementing traditional sports drinks. Heading into winter, we can expect to see immune-boosting gummies again proving popular, perhaps with premium natural ingredients like manuka honey alongside a complementary dose of zinc.
The fact is that not many of our supplement-brand clients have experienced the latest innovations that gummy manufacturers have to offer. These include aerated gummy technology that offers a unique experiential improvement, giving an almost marshmallow-type mouthfeel with a light, airy, and fluffy texture. It also includes bilayer gummy technology, which offers the advantage of combining diverse flavors and textures in each layer, resulting in an intriguing flavor profile that appeals to consumers. Meanwhile, center-filled gummies, with their outer protective layer, can help shield the ingredients in the center of the gummy from external factors.
Innovative offerings like these hold tremendous potential to expand the market for gummy supplements. These examples are just the beginning, and the most exciting part of it all is that more brands who use contract manufacturers are now beginning to actively collaborate with their manufacturers to create groundbreaking products. These products not only deliver essential nutrients but offer unique and enhanced experiences, paving the way for a remarkable journey of innovation in the world of gummies.
About the Author
Eugene Ung is executive manager at Best Formulations, a Sirio Company. Sirio Pharma Company, Ltd., (Sirio; www.siriopharma.com) is a leading, full-service dietary supplement contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). Sirio has 30 years of experience developing and manufacturing a full spectrum of premium-quality products. Sirio’s traditional and plant-based manufacturing capabilities span all dosage forms: nutritional gummies, softgels, Plantegrity softgels, probiotics, tablets, capsules, powders, and functional beverages. Sirio can meet high volume demands globally with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., China, and Germany.
Best Formulations (www.bestformulations.com) is a contract manufacturer of nutraceuticals and personal care products, including vegetarian softgels, gummies, hard-shell capsules, tablets, powders, teas, and clean beauty products. It operates four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Southern California, has a California Drug License, and is NSF (Sport) GMP Certified and ISO 22716 GMP Certified in personal care.