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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, and convenient – effective, but not what you would call a pleasant experience. As more people take a proactive approach to their health and wellness, traditional forms may not attract as many new customers as newer dose forms.

Millions of adults are pill averse. In 2020, according to FMCG Gurus’ reportExploring the Impact of Nutritional Supplements​, 43% of people across the globe have difficulty consuming pills. Even for those who aren’t, pill fatigue can easily set in and create a barrier to trying a new supplement.

A 2022 consumer survey conducted by Numerator​ inquired as to how and why consumers take supplements, and quantified interest in various supplement dosage forms. The survey included 1,016 respondents who purchased and used supplements in the previous twelve months.

The report’s first finding is that the dosage form is one of the most important factors in a shopper’s purchase decision. Shoppers are willing to shop around to find the dosage form that they are looking for or a form that promises a good experience. While shoppers are open to all forms, with gummies, soft gels, and capsules being considered mainstream, other forms are breaking through and consumers are willing to try them.

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

When it comes to chewables, it’s perhaps no surprise that gummies were the most frequently cited format at 40%. Despite being a relative newcomer, soft chews, which are highly reminiscent of Starburst®​ candies but are softer and more easily chewed, were already cited by 6% (vs. shots at 1%). When queried about their willingness to try a candy-like form, 40% of respondents said they were “extremely” or “very” willing to try soft chews. This is a positive indicator adding to the number of respondents already buying soft chews and illustrates a prime opportunity for dietary supplement development

A simple, “I just haven’t tried them,” while not quite a barrier, is where the opportunity presents itself- of the 3 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%).

In all popular condition-specific categories mentioned in the report (e.g., cognitive support, immune support), consumers rank gummies the highest, followed by soft chews and then lozenges.

According to Mintel’s New Product Database, between 2016 and 2020 gummies and chews experienced the highest compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in dietary supplement new product launches, at 20%. Whereas tablets lagged well behind with just 11% growth, powders at 9%, and liquids and lozenges each with just 7% CAGR.

So, it appears the supplement market is bursting with opportunities for inventive product development to both 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 dose loading than other confectionary forms.

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

EasyBurst technology can accommodate a wide range of flavors and sweeteners in both the shell and fill. Proprietary shell mass technology balances organoleptic quality and stability. Carefully selected excipients provide a supporting structure and sweetener system to carry the active ingredients and flavors. A wide range of fill textures, from thicker to thinner formulations, provides both a desirable texture and mouthfeel.

Soft chews​: Soft chews can be packed with flavor and nutritional actives, and also 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, offering a softer bite while fulfilling consumers’ expectations of efficacy and flavor.

Gummy​: The leading dietary supplement form continues to garner new supplement users. Catalent offers gummies in both gelatin and plant-based forms (100% plant-based pectin) to reach vegan and vegetarian consumers. Brands can customize their gummies to stand out with flavor profiles, colors, and shapes, along with taste-masking. Catalent has a fully developed portfolio of gummy products that can offer brands faster speed to market. If custom development is desired, Catalent also offers deep expertise in gummy flavor, formulation, and process development to meet brand-owners’ needs.


The delivery format is chief among the several factors that impact the consumer’s experience. Because they are averse to, or simply bored by pills, more supplement users are seeking a heightened sensory experience in this emerging market that brands can fulfill by providing innovation in chew formulations that enhance the user experience. Catalent can help brands develop and accelerate chewable portfolio options to delight consumers.

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