In the Dietary Supplement market of 2020, COVID-19 will undoubtedly be remembered as a major driving force that brought more attention (and sales) than ever before as Americans became motivated to bolster their health and wellness. In the world of private label supplements, we’re seeing a number of important trends this year that include: custom formulations, innovative new flavor profiles, and health-specific targeting. In this article, we’re going to break each of them down for you and give you some actionable insights.
Custom Supplement Formulations
We’ve all been to the store or shopped online only to find an ocean of products that all seem to look very similar. Then suddenly, one product breaks through the clutter. It might be one additional feature, or an added benefit that you weren’t even looking for, but it’s caught your eye. Sometimes a little bit of extra homework or attention to detail on the part of the brand is all that it takes to win big. Having the right manufacturer who understands those details and can steer you quickly in the right direction can be a complete game-changer.
To stand out in today’s dietary supplement industry, there are two main options available for those looking to create their own brand – private labeling and contract manufacturing.
Sometimes, the goal is to enter the market in the fastest and easiest way. In this case, Private Labeling (or White Labeling) is the obvious choice. This is the simplest way to quickly get a vitamin supplement product on the market. It is a great option for someone just starting a supplement company, or for established companies looking to quickly capture market share in an existing product category.
A private label program will have a selection of “off-the-shelf” products for you to choose from. These are products that have already been formulated, manufactured, and packaged. All they need is a label with your own brand name.
This option enables speed to market while maintaining low inventory levels in order to see what resonates with your client base before committing to a much larger purchase. Private labeling vitamin supplements will also take care of the more complicated facets of a new product launch, such as assigning the product a UPC code or the creation of an FDA-compliant label.
The FDA regulates (or oversees) the labeling of all dietary supplements in the US. There are a lot of requirements as to what must be included on the label of a supplement, and a lot of rules as to what cannot be said. Mistakes in either of these areas can at best result in a costly relabeling process, but at worst may result in FDA enforcement action, which could tarnish your company’s reputation and negatively impact your business.
Sometimes, however, a pre-existing supplement formulation just isn’t enough to breakthrough in a highly competitive market. This is where custom Contract Manufacturing comes in. As the name implies, custom Contract Manufacturing of supplements is the process of contracting with a manufacturer to create your own unique, custom formulation.
Perhaps you’ve done your homework and come up with a blend of ingredients that will give people the performance edge they’re looking for to boost energy, lose weight, or build muscle, and now you feel it is time to share your special formula with the world.
If you’re going to venture into the exciting world of custom formulations, here are some critical elements that you’ll want to consider in your planning:
- Consumer Targeting – Who is your target supplement customer? How do you envision they will use this product? Formulation, packaging design, marketing will all be highly effected based up the age, gender, and lifestyle and specific needs of your target consumer.
- In-Depth Competitive Assessment – We’ll provide an example template of this for you in a future article, but this is basically a side-by-side detailed comparison of the top selling products that you’ll be competing with in the market which allows you to carefully compare their strengths and weaknesses.
- Feature/Benefit Assessment – Once you have your competitive assessment, you want to determine the level of features and benefit you need to deliver in order to stand apart from those current competitors.
- Ingredient Formulation Mapping – This is where you identify the active ingredients you need to deliver the desired benefits, as well as efficacious doses of those ingredients.
- Standards & Certifications – These are formal specifications that you want your product to meet. Do you want the product to be Organic? How about Gluten-Free, Allergen-Free, or Non-GMO? Do you want to include any patented ingredients? These are all things you’ll want to carefully consider in the beginning.
As you can see, this is some serious work! That’s why we can help you.
As we answer the above questions, you will begin to define and/or refine your custom formulation. This will allow you to choose the most appropriate delivery system and packaging options that would be best for the product. As your supplement manufacturing partner, you can dial into our experience and processes to minimize time and cost.
Better Taste Profiles/Flavors
Think that an outstanding formulation is all that it takes to win? Think again!
Long past are the days of choking down a nutritional shake with the taste and consistency of drywall. The flavors and textures of today’s protein and nutritional powders are a treat by comparison. While chocolate and vanilla are still the most popular flavors for protein powders, there is a steady delivery of new and delicious flavors to satisfy any palate.
Birthday cake, coconut-pineapple, spiced pumpkin, cinnamon coffee roll, and caramel crème brûlée are all fairly popular flavors now. In December of last year, one industry publication even speculated that cotton candy might be a flavor we’ll see for preworkout products in 2020.
An easy way to get started and move quickly is to match flavor with a successful competitive product already in the market (“flavor matching”). If you’re trying to get a stronger competitive advantage in a crowded market, however, you might choose to create a new custom flavor that might have less competition.
It takes specialized expertise to be able to mask the common “off-notes” that are prevalent in some of the most popular nutritional ingredients that consumers are looking for. This can be accomplished in many different ways:
- Raw material selection – there tends to be a wide variance in taste and texture, even among products using the same raw materials. For example, with plant proteins, the particular method that is used to extract the protein from the plant can make a huge difference is whether your drink ends up being smooth and creamy, or grainy and gritty.
- Macronutrient blending – for instance, adding certain types of healthy fats to a protein base. This can dramatically improve flavor, viscosity, and mouthfeel.
- Flavors and masking – many of today’s most in-demand ingredients taste pretty awful. Take adaptogenetic herbs, for example. Extremely popular for their ability to protect the body against physical, mental, and emotional stress by strengthening the immune system, many of these (like Ashwagandha or Rhodiola) taste pretty awful. “Masking” which is the process of naturally offsetting or balancing these off-notes with complementary natural flavors can produce a product that gets 5-star reviews all day long.
In addition to having better taste profiles and a smoother texture, a great-tasting supplement powder no longer needs to include an unhealthy amount of sugar. There are natural sugar-alternatives available today do not leave a metallic or other undesirable aftertaste behind.
Today’s formulators can draw from a comprehensive catalog of natural or cultivated plant sources, botanical extracts, essential oils, and other compounds to create a finished product that is as natural or organic as you wish, based on your product goals and how they fit in the marketplace.
Targeted to Specific Conditions/Applications
Possibly the biggest benefit to creating your own custom vitamin supplement formulation is the ability to completely tailor it to target a specific health condition or performance application.
What Is A Condition-Specific Supplement?
An astounding number of dietary supplements have been developed in response to the side effects that many people have experienced when taking a prescribed medication to treat a specific health condition. With new research coming out all the time to show how beneficial certain natural components can be for many of these conditions, it has become more common for consumers to try at least one of these options before moving on to the prescribed treatments.
For example, dietary supplements containing turmeric/curcumin have been one of the top-selling products in the industry for the past several years because of their positive effects on systemic inflammation within the body. The risk of any harmful side effects remain low with products such as these, and they have been extensively studied and shown to provide benefits, so consumers are comfortable purchasing them regularly as a therapeutic.
Other Key Targeted Supplement Opportunities
We have the ability to create products that can fit easily into any lifestyle. Health conditions can be specific to males or females. A younger, more active person will have different nutritional needs than an older, more sedentary one. Being able to offer an option that fits into their lifestyle is an important success factor for your business and can lead to a significant advantage in the marketplace.
Here are just a few of the ways we can help you target the individual needs of your consumer and establish a unique selling point for your product line:
- Nutrient Source – Plant-based proteins are ideal for vegetarians. Grass-Fed Whey or Collagen is a clean source of animal protein.
- Health Condition – As discussed earlier, this is focusing on specific need states such as joint health, digestive issues, memory or heart health.
- Benefit Oriented – Sleep formulas to help people wake up feeling refreshed and recovered. Energy and/or Focus Formulas to propel through a workout. There are an endless number of options.
- Use Occasion – This is creating products designed for a specific time of day or application. For example, the healthcare worker on her feet all day, someone busy in back-to-back zoom meetings, or the guy trying to fit in a quick workout in the morning but doesn’t have time for breakfast.
When you select a manufacturing partner to start and grow your supplement line, they should be an invaluable resource in helping you to make all of these important decisions.
In addition, they should guarantee that your products will be made in an cGMP-certified, FDA-registered facility, and that they have the appropriate internal quality processes and procedures in place to ensure your finished product will meet label claim, will be free of undesired contaminants, and will provide a positive experience for the consumer.
Have you seen any new product formulations or flavors in the market that you are excited about? What about an emerging health trend? Contact your account representative today and let’s talk about all of these different ways that we can help you grow your business! Call Us Toll Free (800) 688-5956