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Beyond Pills: Innovation in Supplement Delivery Formats

Supplement formats are evolving in exciting ways, largely due to Millennial consumers’ interest in a supplement experience that’s both convenient and enjoyable. Check out some of the growing trends in innovative supplement formats.

Consumers Seeking More Enjoyable Formats

New supplement formats are gaining traction globally as supplement brands embrace innovation to stand out and appeal to consumers. The numbers tell a clear story: consumers want more enjoyable ways of getting their nutrients. In the U.S., for example, gummies grew 44% between 2019 and 2020, making them the fastest-growing format in vitamins, minerals, and supplements.1 Branded non-pill formats now make up 34% of the market and continue to grab market share, while growth in traditional pill formats is declining.2

This hints at the vast untapped potential in alternative supplement formats that can deliver a better experience, improve compliance, and win loyal consumers. Not only can alternative formats help fight pill fatigue, but their pleasurable sensory experience in terms of appearance, taste, and texture can act as a treat that consumers can look forward to trying. 

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Here’s a look at what’s ahead in the innovative delivery of supplements:

Jelly/Gels

In the U.S., the gel/jelly format is well known among long-distance runners as a sports nutrition supplement. These gels may include sugars along with electrolytes and amino acids. However, in South Korea, this format has started taking off in beauty supplements, such as Centellian 24+ Premium Collagen 1000 Jelly Drink with 1,000 mg of fish collagen for skin health.

Liquid Shots

Liquid shots are also on the rise in beauty supplements. Brand’s Innershine Berry Essence Drink with Grape Seed Extract, which contains an assortment of antioxidants ranging from vitamin E to berry extracts, is a liquid shot supplement available in Taiwan and China. In the U.S., besides the ever-popular energy shots, there are functional shots for immunity, sleep, brain health, and more.

Soft Candies

The soft candy format is available in the U.S. for popular vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C and calcium), multivitamin-mineral supplements, and a variety of botanicals. However, a new application can be found in China—Wonderlab has launched a hyaluronic acid soft candy supplement specifically for improving skin’s moisture and elasticity.

bottle of gummies

Sparkling Waters

Additional supplement innovation out of Asia includes the first functional hyaluronic acid sparkling water, called Ha Water, by Hankow Er Chang. Ha Water offers consumers functional benefits in a pleasant, bubbly beverage without any sugar, fat, or calories.

Bars and Bites

Supplement bars and bites are also a trend to watch right now. These tap into the appeal of a healthy snack with benefits. Examples include bars to improve mood (such as StressRx CALM Bar) and sleep (such as WellBeSleep Bar). Pact functional snack bites by Tyson Foods includes offerings for gut health, energy, and beauty.

The Best Ingredients for Today’s Supplement Formats

To address consumers’ evolving preferences in supplements, it’s important to offer the right format, along with the right ingredients. Since alternative supplement formats can introduce new formulation challenges, choosing a bioactive ingredient and premix supplier with formulation expertise and optimized ingredients is key. 

Glanbia Nutritionals has experience formulating for a wide range of supplement formats. We are also known for using innovative processes to create high performing ingredients—like our portfolio of Watson Functionally Optimized Ingredients.

Watson Functionally Optimized Ingredients include vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids, oils, and more that have been optimized through microencapsulation, trituration and granulation to provide a range of benefits. Some of the most important benefits for our customers are masking odors and flavors, controlling color intensity, and improving stability.

Contact us to learn more about our Watson Functionally Optimized Ingredients, custom premix solutions and our range of bioactive ingredients, to catapult your new supplement formulation forward. 

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References:

1-2. SPINS data, includes MULO, specialty, natural, and Vitamin Shoppe. 52 Weeks ending October 4, 2020. Includes vitamins & minerals, miscellaneous supplements, food supplements, and digestive aids & enzymes. Excludes protein, amino acids, weight management, and performance nutrition. This analysis excludes private label, which accounts for 23% of the market.

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