An estimated 38% of consumers reported to dislike taking pills, and entrepreneurs Mills and Jeff Linton came up with Tespo, a liquid supplement dispenser designed to support nutrient intake compliance. “The best delivery is liquid so we looked at Keurig, but instead of focusing on a single serving we developed a 31-day system,” said Mills. “We were intrigued by the complete delivery system.”
The company launched Tespo in April with five “disks” with 31 individual servings in each to go with the appliance: Women’s Essential (multivitamin and mineral with additional lutein, zeaxanthin and CoQ10); Men’s Essential (multivitamin and mineral with additional lutein, zeaxanthin and CoQ10); Children’s Essential (multivitamin and mineral with additional lutein and zeaxanthin); Energy, and Focus. It retails for $129.
Competing for countertop space against Tespo is GüdPod, another Keurig-like supplement dispenser. This product’s initial launch focused on the fitness crowd with whey protein as one of its first pods.
According to the company’s CEO, Tasso Koken, whose background includes stints at GNC and Best Buy, the format beats a blender because it makes no mess and requires less clean-up, and has a more even distribution than shaker cups.
“Beverages are a better delivery system than pills or capsules,” noted founder Gian Carlo Ochoa. “Digestion starts in the mouth, there is communication with the stomach to start producing digestive enzymes. You circumvent that with pills or capsules and you don’t get full absorption. We’re starting the process of absorption in the mouth.”
Billionaire Mark Cuban invested in the edible cup start-up Loliware when its co-founders Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker pitched their product on the TV show Shark Tank. Later, they struck a deal with DSM to start designing edible cups infused with vitamins.
Showcased at IFT this year in Chicago was a tangerine-colored and tangerine-flavored Lolivita cup with a daily servings worth of multivitamins each, which of course is only the first iteration. “The next for the entire functional food line is that we’re prototyping an electrolyte cup, an energy cup, and also a protein cup—we’re working on a bunch of functional food iterations all to be launched next year in a staggered type of launch,” she said, adding that there isn’t a specific date yet because it’s still at the concept realm.
Anecdotally, it’s not hard to believe that many consumers stock up on dietary supplements, only to leave them in a kitchen cabinet for weeks. Sho Nutrition founder Joy Wang is also guilty.
In fact, Wang further argued that consumers’ non-compliance to dosage and ingestion schedule is a major contributor to the shroud of doubt surrounding dietary supplements, so she wanted to create a solution that can increase intake compliance. “I was looking for simple packaging ideas, like Pez. Initially I thought, Pez is a candy, but why don’t we have a supplement Pez!” Wang said.
The company is still in its infancy, launching only in October. Its dispenser + supplement combo come with a dial that consumers turn as a day marker, a reminder right there on the container. The dispensers were designed to be attractive enough to leave out.
Current varieties are an energy booster and a probiotic for gut health (Lactobacillus casei K-1).
The Arizona-based start-up is one of many personalized nutrition companies that launched this year. But STYR Labs differentiates itself with an entire suite that involves a sleek scale and Fitbit-like sports tracker.
By weighing oneself on the scale and exercising with the tracker on, the tedious process of inputting data is removed, and based on the stats these gadgets collect, users get personalized supplements formulated for them, with all the information presented in a mobile phone app.
Users can then decide if they want to order and subscribe to these supplements, choosing between a personalized multivitamin or a personalized whey protein (or both) that get sent in sachets or 1 lbs bags. “Our supplements are tailored to each user based on a number of factors including their biometric, lifestyle and fitness/sensors data," founder Sergio Radovcic told NutraIngredients-USA. "Depending on the product we have varied degrees of customization, for example our Proteins are infinitely customizable in increments of 5% per ingredient whereas our vitamins are personalized based on “bands” of common ingredients."