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Two Supplement Packaging Ideas to Consider in 2020

Last updated: March-8,2023

2 Supplement Packaging Design Ideas to Consider in 2023 (and 2 Ideas to Avoid)

As a 20-year veteran of the dietary supplement industry, I've seen many different types of supplement packaging designs. Furthermore, given the competitive landscape of the dietary supplement industry in 2023, I certainly understand and appreciate the importance of having your packaging stand out so that it attracts the attention of potential buyers. Based on my experience, there are two practical approaches to achieve this goal, and also two pitfalls you should avoid.

Without further ado, let's start with the pitfalls. 

2 Supplement Packaging Design Pitfalls to Avoid

The following are two examples of dietary supplement packaging design pitfalls you should avoid.

Avoid Unusually Shaped Dietary Supplement Packaging

In the early stages of my career, I worked for a company that produced a line of sports nutrition dietary supplements. In an effort to stand out, a decision was made regarding the packaging of certain sports nutrition powdered products. In addition to being packaged in the standard canister, the canister was placed inside of a pyramid shaped box. The pyramid packing design was admired by many, and even received industry packaging awards. However, the pyramid box had two disadvantages.

  1. The base of the pyramid took up too much space on the shelf and so was disliked by retailers. In fact, they ended up taking the canister out of the pyramid box, placing the canister on the shelf and then throwing the pyramid away.
  2. The pyramid box was expensive due to its unusual shape. Naturally that expense increased the cost of the product. Considering that retailers were throwing the pyramid boxes away, that added insult to injury.

Supplement Packaging Design Help

The lesson we learned—and the lesson that you would be wise to learn as well—was that unusually shaped dietary supplement packaging designs may not fly in a retail environment. Package your product in a relatively standard size and shape so that it will fit on shelves, and so that you can avoid giving retailers a reason not to stock your product.

When Possible, Avoid Packaging Dietary Supplements in Custom Bottles

Another supplement packaging pitfall to avoid is having custom bottles made for your product. Although, in most cases, a custom bottle will certainly stand out, it has some serious disadvantages.

Having custom dietary supplement bottles made requires greater expense and a much higher minimum order—and if you have multiple sizes, that means you’ll need multiple custom bottles. That also means that all of those custom bottles will have to be stored somewhere since you won’t be using them up for a single batch of a given product. Unless you’re a brand owner that has your own manufacturing facility, that likely means that you’ll be storing them with your contract manufacturer (CM). Naturally, your CM won’t be particularly thrilled to have large quantities of custom bottles taking up space in their warehouse, and they may even charge you a stocking fee to store them. Then what happens if you want to use an alternative CM to manufacture a given product? Now you’ll have to arrange to have your current CM send over your custom bottles to their competitor.

Now what happens if your projections are off, and you unexpectedly need to have more product manufactured to avoid going out of stock—and if you’ve also neared the end of your supply of the correct size of your custom bottle? The answer is that new custom bottles will need to be made, and that may take another 8 weeks or longer. Now if you had used a stock bottle, chances are that your CM could just have ordered them and gotten them in the following week. The lesson here is that it is best to stick with stock bottles and to avoid having custom bottles made.

2 Supplement Packaging Ideas to Consider

So, if you're going to avoid unusually shaped packaging and custom bottles, what strategies can you use to help your supplement packaging stand out?

Supplement Packaging Design Tips - Infographic

Go Crazy with Your Label and/or Your Unicarton

Feel free to get creative with your dietary supplement label and/or unicarton (i.e. the outer box that holds the bottle and sits on the shelf) - by which I mean:

  1. Create a beautiful, clean-looking dietary supplement label design
  2. Use colors that attract and grab consumers' attention
  3. Use specialty label effects like raised or foil fonts

A distinct label and/or unicarton is an effective way help your packaging stand out—and after all, isn’t the goal to get them to read the marketing message on the label? If the messaging is good, then the consumer may be convinced to purchase the product. That’s what it's all about; and it can be achieved with a distinct label and/or unicarton.

Choose a Colorful Bottle Cap

Most supplement bottle caps are either black or white. However, some suppliers stock other color caps, such as blue or red caps. If your bottle cap supplier offers other stock colors for caps, you might choose to combine a standard amber or white bottle with a colorful cap. Such a combination, together with a distinct label design, can make your product memorable in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Consumers will see the color combination and learn to associate it with your brand.

Another nice thing about a colorful cap is that the same size cap can often be used with bottles of different sizes. This means that even if you do need to make a custom purchase of a certain color cap, that cap will have versatility for multiple bottle sizes products. Also, a box of caps takes up less space and is a lot easier to store than a box of bottles.

Conclusion - Don't Reinvent the Wheel with Your Supplement Packaging

Be smart with your packaging choices. Avoid unusual shaped packaging and custom bottles. If your contract manufacturer offers packaging and label design services, work with your designer to create a beautiful, clean-looking product label and unicarton. Also, ask if they have the ability to source a colorful cap for your product. Following these recommendations may help your supplement packaging stand out without reinventing the wheel.

Looking for more expert industry insights? Be sure to read our top dietary supplement packaging oversights to avoid!

February 27th, 2020

About the Author:

Vincent Tricarico

Vincent Tricarico is currently the Vice President of Contract Manufacturing at NutraScience Labs. With nearly 20 years of direct-to-consumer and business-to-business experience, Mr. Tricarico is a respected executive in the dietary supplement industry and is well-known for his ability to consistently build and grow successful teams that produce results. Over the years, his work has been published in many industry trade publications, such as Natural Products Insider, Nutritional Outlook, and WholeFoods Magazine.