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Give them something to chew on

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Chewable formats are an indulgent nutritional experience. Here’s why you should add chews to your product portfolio.

For many supplement users, traditional tablets and capsules are simple, easy, convenient – effective but not an engaging experience. As more people take a proactive approach to their health and wellness, traditional forms may not be enough to attract new customers.

Pill fatigue can easily set in creating a barrier to trial. Additionally, there are millions of adults who are pill averse. In 2020, according to FMCG Gurus 43% of people across the globe have difficulty consuming pills.1

Dosage form is one of the most important factors in a shopper’s purchase decision, according to a survey by Numerator. Shoppers are willing to shop around to find the form that they are looking for or a form that promises a good experience. However, that does not mean shoppers are open to all forms – while gummies, soft gels and capsules, are mainstream, there are other forms breaking through that consumers are willing to try.

A consumer survey conducted by Numerator in 2022 sought to quantify interest in various supplement dosage forms as well as to understand how and why consumers take supplements. The survey included 1,016 respondents who purchased and used supplements in the previous 12 months.

Traditional forms such as capsules, tablets, and liquids are still almost half the market, with 48% of consumers saying they’ve bought supplements in these forms in the past 12 months.

When it comes to chewables, it’s not surprise gummies were most frequently cited, at 40%. Interestingly, while still early in the adoption curve, soft chews were already cited by 6% (vs. shots at 1%). Soft chews are highly reminiscent of Starburst® candies but are softer and more easily chewed.

When queried about willingness to try a candy-like form, 40% were extremely and very willing to try soft chews.  This is a significant difference from the 6% who already seek out and consume soft chew supplements -- illustrating a prime opportunity for dietary supplement development.

A simple, “I just haven’t tried them” while not quite a barrier, is where the golden ticket is shimmering: of the three treat-like supplement forms, only 6% haven’t tried gummies, while 24% and 35% haven’t yet had a nutraceutical soft chew or lozenge. Respondents also mentioned that sugar content is a barrier to consuming gummies (45%), soft chews (38%) and lozenges (30%).

Between 2016 and 2020, according to Mintel research, gummies/chews experienced the highest CAGR in dietary supplement new product launches at 20.2%. This was followed by tablets at nearly 11%, powders at 8.6%, liquids at 6.7% and lozenges at 6.7%.

Clearly, the supplement market is bursting with opportunities for inventive product development to create and nurture demand for indulgent supplement forms.

3 delightful ways to chew for health

A global leader in dosage forms, Catalent, offers a variety of chewable dosage forms for practically any dietary supplement formula. Catalent’s expertise helps brands expand their portfolios into new and highly appealing dosage forms that are convenient to use, full of delicious flavors and may provide higher efficacy than other confectionary forms.

EasyBurst® chewable soft gels​: EasyBurst® chewable soft gels provide that extra element of experience for the consumer -- the outer shell ruptures easily, allowing for the nutrient-infused fill to swirl around the mouth and be readily swallowed, leaving a satisfying mouthfeel.

EasyBurst® technology allows for the ability to accommodate a wide range of flavors and sweeteners in both the shell and fill. Proprietary shell mass technology balances organoleptics and stability. Carefully selected excipients provide a supporting structure and sweetener system to carry the active ingredients and flavors -- and a wide range of fill textures vary from thicker to thinner formulations, provide a desirable texture and mouthfeel.

Soft chews​: Soft chews are packed with flavor and nutritional actives, and provide an appealing mouthfeel experience. Catalent’s soft chews provide a high active dose loading for wider formulation ranges and are suitable for temperature-sensitive ingredients such as collagen. Catalent’s unique cold-processed soft chew technology is different from conventional cooked soft chews (that have a harder bite), that fulfills consumer expectations of efficacy and satisfaction.

Gummy​: The leading indulgent dietary supplement form continues to garner new supplement users. Catalent offers gummies in plant-based forms (100% plant-based pectin) to reach vegan and vegetarian consumers as well as in gelatin. Brands can customize their gummies to stand out with flavor profiles, colors, shapes and also provide taste-masking.

Summary

In the supplement market there are several factors, a critical one being the delivery format, that impact the consumer experience. Supplement users are seeking a heightened sensory experience associated with taking them and brands can capture this emerging market by providing innovation in chew formulations that enhance the usage experience. Catalent can help brands develop and accelerate chewable portfolio options to delight their consumers.

For more information visit Consumerhealth.catalent.com​.

References

1.​ FMCG Gurus: Exploring the Impact of Nutritional Supplements​ (2020). 

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