Key lessons from the Opportunities in Delivery Formats webinar

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Juanmonino / Getty Images
© Juanmonino / Getty Images

Related tags delivery formats Dietary supplements Gummies liquid supplements Probiotics adaptogens Unmetered

Consumer interest in novel experiential delivery forms is driving a lot of growth for dietary supplements, but context is an important regulatory consideration, experts noted during a recent NutraIngredients-USA webinar.

Gummies aren’t doing as well as they appear…

The webinar started with a review of the market by Scott Dicker, Market Insights Director, SPINS.

Looking at the different delivery formats, it may come as a surprise that over the past year that powder and liquid RTD are the highest growth formats with 16% and 9%, respectively, while gummies have actually declined 4%, said Dicker.

“I was very surprised that we’re seeing a decrease in sales [for gummies],” said Dicker. “Judging by how prevalent gummies were at Expo West, and you see a lot of the innovation coming out as gummies, I would expect that when we look back in three, six, 12 months that gummies are going to have a big year.”

“Gummies aren’t doing as well as they appear, but there are pockets of growth,” he added, before noting that performance nutrition has seen a 71% increase in sales of gummies over the past 12 months, with probiotics and digestive aids (16%), and magnesium (52%) also seeing a lot of growth in the sale of gummies.

For other formats, such as effervescent tablets, hydration dominates. “We know the hydration category is hot. Hydration is one where stick packs, powders, and effervescent powders are all showing good growth.”

Pros and Cons

While consumer interest in alternative experiential forms is driving a lot of growth, each novel format has its own advantages and disadvantages, explained Gene Bruno, Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Twinlab Consolidation Corporation.

“There are some common challenges with each of these [alternative] delivery forms because these are products that you taste, you’re going to have issues with some nutraceuticals,” said Bruno. “[For example,] things like adaptogens, which are generally root herbs that have bitter taste qualities.

“A lot of these alternative delivery forms are best with neutral tasting nutraceuticals. It doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome the taste challenge, it just means there’s less of a challenge if you’re using a neutral tasting nutraceutical.”

Bruno then went on to explore the pros and cons of a number of delivery forms, including gummies, melts, chews, oral strips, and powders/ stick packs.  

Pay attention to the definition

Jennifer Adams, Partner, Amin Talati Wasserman, LLP, reminded attendees that the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA) stipulates the form that a dietary supplement can take, and this is where lines gets blurry for many alternative delivery formats.

Indeed, DSHEA states that a dietary supplement must be a product that is intended for digestion as a tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap, or liquid form, and cannot be represented as a conventional food form.

“The ‘not represented as a conventional food’ is not so black and white, and there are products that can truly go either way,” said Adams. “Liquid supplements is the seminal example, and FDA has a guidance on that specifically. Gummies is another one: There’s the gummy bears in the candy aisle and the gummies in the supplement aisle. It all depends on context. Protein bars also can go either way, depending how you do it.

“Context matters,” she said.

To watch the on-demand webinar (free, registration required), please click HERE​.                                                                                                                 

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