Not surprisingly, then, the industry and young consumers alike quickly embraced these new confectionery-like products. As a result, manufacturers are now expanding the category to meet the needs of older age groups too, both in the U.S. and abroad. Gummy supplements therefore promise huge growth potential for both established brands and smaller start-ups.
The success of supplements as a perceived indulgence is based on three key factors. First, quite simply, gummies taste better than traditional supplements. Secondly, chewable products eliminate the difficulties associated with swallowing large tablets or capsules, which can be particularly problematic for children and the older population. And thirdly, switching to a gummy version of a vitamin or dietary supplement makes people feel as though they’re not taking too many pills.
As a result, the global CAGR for gummy supplements between 2014 and 2018 was 16%, while the overall dietary supplements category was 6% during the same period, according to Innova Market Insights’ New Products Database.
Among all gummy subcategories, vitamins and minerals is by far the most popular one with 58% share of all launches in 2018. Increasing demand for vitamin C and vitamin D, along with bone health, heart health, and stamina-boosting products, are decisive factors propelling growth of this gummy segment. New launches peaked in 2018, resulting in a CAGR of more than 13% between 2014 and 2018.
More research pointing to gut health being a determining factor in issues such as obesity, heart health, depression, kidney health, and overall immunity has resulted in increasing demand for probiotic gummy supplements too. With 8% share of all gummy launches globally, this category is the second most popular. However, with a CAGR of 53.5% between 2014 and 2018, the probiotic gummy category is outperforming all others in terms of growth.
Increasing awareness of omega-3 fish oil supplements targeting issues such as heart, eye, and brain health is also driving sales of essential fatty acids in gummy format. Between 2014 and 2018, the global CAGR was 33%. As a result, in 2018, 7% of all gummies launched contained essential fatty acids, putting this category in third place.
Products specifically aimed at children are boosting innovation too, particularly those addressing immune and gut health. Market offerings meeting increased demand for vegan/plant-based products, and in various fruit flavors, also contributed to the positive development of the children’s subcategory in 2018. As a result, the CAGR for such gummies was just under 10% globally between 2014 and 2018, according to Innova.
Spotlight on the U.S.
With the U.S. being a pioneer in this sector, sales of gummy supplements in 2018 (almost $5.5 billion) were nearly twice what they were in 2014—with no signs of slowing—according to the 2019 Nutrition Business Journal Supplement Business Report.
North America, where the supplements market as a whole is highly developed, dominated NPD, accounting for three-quarters of global gummy launches in 2018. Looking at the top gummy positionings in the U.S., immune health leads with 46% of all launches between 2016 and 2018 carrying such a claim. This reflects the global trend toward immune health gummies, with a number one positioning worldwide in 2018 as well.
In terms of popularity, the bone health category gained in prominence in the U.S. in 2018. Between 2016 and 2018, 32% of all gummy launches targeted bone health, with an emphasis on ingredients such as collagen and calcium. Hot on the heels of bone health were products for children, accounting for 31% of all launches.
Enjoyable delivery formats remain a key priority for this category, with appealing flavors, shapes, and colors all decisive factors in the willingness of children to regularly consume supplements. Generally, chewable products are more suitable for children than pills or capsules, as they provide the same benefits but in a blend of welcome textures and flavors.
Fourth place in the U.S. gummy rankings goes to the energy and stamina category, with 21% of all launches. In fifth place are eye health supplements, a category with growth potential, especially for products aimed at children. Existing eye health products are mostly targeted at seniors, which excludes huge swathes of the population using tablets and smartphones, and from an increasingly early age. With prevention becoming more important, eye health is an area that is expected to see growth in the coming years.
Making It Gel
When it comes to fortified gummy production, the use of hydrocolloids is mandatory. The most commonly used types are gelatin, pectin, and starches—all of which have their own individual characteristics and technological properties. Be it gel formation, thickening, or transparency qualities, cold water solubility, pH stability, or functional aspects such as film formation or emulsifier effect—all hydrocolloids are different, and no solution on the market can cover all functionalities in all applications.
While gelatin is associated by most consumers with the melt-in-the-mouth feeling of a fruit gummy, plant-based variants suit the growing vegan and vegetarian confectionery market. Combinations of different hydrocolloids can also be a solution to certain technological challenges, as well as allowing for new opportunities. For example, the combination of gelatin and agar-agar enables melting points for fruit gummies to be increased to about 50°C, thus making products more suitable for marketing in tropical climates.
With gelatin gummies the most popular variant in terms of taste and texture among consumers, the industry has recently put a lot of effort into the development of more efficient production methods, making it more appealing for smaller start-up companies. Gelatin gummies are often produced on regular mogul lines to achieve the desired texture, taste, and bite. Although the ability to produce a variety of different shapes and sizes is one advantage of this processing method, there is a downside, as the combined use of active ingredients and starch can lead to cross-contamination. This can only be avoided by completely replacing the starch during each changeover. However, this would be almost impossible to achieve and would make no sense financially.
Another downside of the traditional manufacturing method is its long production time. The drying time for gummy candies is approximately 24 hours, and sometimes as much as 48 hours. The gummies need to remain in starch trays to set, lose moisture, and obtain the required texture for demolding. As a consequence, large storage facilities with controlled temperature and humidity
To overcome the challenges of cross-contamination and time constraints, starch-free production offers a solution. This approach has already been working well with gelling agents such as pectin and carrageenan. And that’s why gelatin and collagen peptides manufacturer GELITA has worked on the production of gelatin gummies using a starch-free
“Our Fast Forward Process technology reduces the time required to make a gummy from one day to less than two hours,” noted Margarethe Plotkowiak, head of global product management food at GELITA. “Furthermore, it replaces starch trays with reusable silicone molds, which means a number of cost savings can be made. The absence of starch significantly reduces material handling, too, and avoids dust, residues, or cross-contamination when using different fortificants. Plus, the technology addresses the untapped potential of OTC or Rx drug delivery via the gummy format. In short, it marks the beginning of a new era in gelatin gummy production.”
Manufacturers such as GELITA have also invested in new ingredient solutions to aid dosing challenges in gummy format (e.g., for the production of high protein gummies). These specific collagen peptides improve the technical performance in multiple ways. For instance, they create less dust during production, storage, and transportation, so handling is easier and less time and money is required for cleaning. They also have better dissolution properties: adjustable particle sizes, improved wettability/dispersibility profiles, and higher overall bulk density means it’s easier to create high-concentration solutions.
If a gummy requires the properties of gelatin as well as the functionality of collagen peptides, it is now also possible to achieve this with one product. The GELITA HST range combines the best of both worlds. HST stands for Hybrid Smart Technology, and alongside the benefits described above, the products also have adjustable viscosity, gel strength, gel formation, and emulsion-forming and stabilizing properties, as well as adjustable foaming and foam stabilization properties. By harnessing all of this in one product, the need to order, transport, and store multiple products is not necessary, allowing manufacturers to create entirely new products or extend existing lines without the need for investment in new equipment.
For example, consider the production of high-protein gummies. By using these peptides and a recipe adapted to high protein levels, clear fruit gummies with a protein content of up to 35% can be made on a standard mogul production line. This is not currently possible with conventional collagen powder products.
With shortened innovation cycles and time to market, manufacturers need more than just ingredient suppliers. That’s why GELITA’s experts are available to help with technical support, process enhancement, and recipe improvements. Most importantly, when it comes to fortified gummy production, technological experts can suggest and supply tailored gelatins to meet the formulation requirements of individual customers. Taking into account the desired properties of the final product, other ingredients in the recipe and the production equipment available, these tailor-made variants are carefully selected to deliver the best possible outcomes. Consequently, manufacturers can achieve the desired result: a gummy supplement with true market appeal.
GELITA is a leading company for manufacturing and marketing collagen proteins. Headquartered in Eberbach, Germany, GELITA provides global customers with products of the highest standard, comprehensive technical expertise, and sophisticated solutions. More than 20 sites and a global network ensure that state-of-the-art know-how is always available for customers. More than 140 years of experience in the field of collagen proteins are the basis of GELITA’s performance. A strong requirement for innovation is the driving force of the family-owned company that is always looking for new solutions for food, pharmaceutical, health and nutrition, as well as for technical applications. For more information: www.gelita.com.