While pills and capsules remain the most popular format for delivering nutrients in dietary supplements, brands are continuing to innovate around delivery systems, and consumers continue to shift to alternative delivery when the products meet expectations around efficacy, ingredient quality and convenience.”
It all started about two decades ago when two innovations hit the scene that began shifting dietary supplement delivery formats.
The first shift in the way manufacturers delivered nutrients happened with vegetarian encapsulation systems, which gave consumers choice in putting their vegetarian values into the capsules they popped.
The second was gummi bears—once just another cute candy for kids—which became a format by which to deliver not just sugar and fun but also nutrients.
Gummies saw a 109 percent growth in preference over a seven-year period, according to a 2018 Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) report. Growth in this and other alternatives-to-pills formats are coming from younger generations the iGen, Millennials and Gen Xers.
While remaining in the pill format, softgels can improve the bioavailability of nutrients compared to other dosage forms.
Softgels also better protect ingredients, allowing nutrients to make it further down the digestive system.
In an attempt to boost bioavailability of nutrients, other technologies are coming to the fore to supercharge supplements.
One is liposomes, which are made of phospholipids—the basic building blocks of cell membranes—and encapsulate nutritional compounds. These tiny molecular spheres bond with cell membranes to deliver nutrients into cells. Liposomes also bypass the digestive process that normally degrade or limit the body’s ability to fully absorb and utilize nutrients.
One new bioavailability booster is a proprietary microtablet technology that is about the size of a BB and dissolves and disperses nutrients in seconds.
All of these shifts in the supplement market helps meet consumers where they are—whether they have difficulty swallowing, or are weary of taking pills, or are just looking for something new and novel in their quest for optimal nutrition.
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