Consumer Demand Increases Need For Softgel Manufacturing Services Amongst Brand Owners
Choosing the right delivery method when manufacturing your nutraceutical could help differentiate your product in the marketplace and boost its market appeal. Because of their exceptional advantages over other delivery forms, more and more companies are turning to softgel manufacturing services to meet the growing demand in the market for softgel-based products.
The Superior Benefits of Softgel Technology
In 1933, R.P. Scherer developed the rotary die method for manufacturing softgels which revolutionized the capsule manufacturing industry, paving the way for soft gel manufacturers to commercialize the production of softgels.
Compared to tablets and two-piece hard gelatin capsules, a softgel is a delivery form with several unique advantages:
- Softgels are easier to swallow
- Softgels can mask unpleasant odors and taste of the raw material used in the filling of a softgel
- Softgels dissolve readily in the digestive tract, thus enhancing the absorption and bioavailability of active ingredients
- Softgel manufacturing also provides an endless choice of elegant shapes, colors and laser imprinting options that help promote brand identity
Popular Fillers Used in Softgel Manufacturing
In the early stages of softgel development, these capsules were used basically for manufacturing oil-soluble nutrients like Vitamin E. But today, technological advances in softgel manufacturing offer a versatile array of dosage filling options that could include non-oil based fillers as well. A softgel manufacturer can produce softgels with fillers that may include:
- Vitamins, particularly oil-based vitamins such as A, D, E and K
- Essential fatty acids
- Marine lipid oils
- Specialty nutrients
- Herbal extracts
Softgel manufacturing is of special use in dietary supplements that contain ingredients that the body cannot otherwise easily absorb, such as CoQ10, saw palmetto, certain caretenoids and herbal extracts. For solid fillers, a softgel manufacturer uses the process of micronization.
The Increasing Popularity of Softgels Amongst Consumers
In the spring of 1999, the Mattson Jack Group was commissioned by one of their clients to conduct a consumer preference survey of softgels against conventional delivery forms. About 300 consumers (mostly women) were interviewed in shopping malls in six different states. The results showed 89 percent of those interviewed said clear softgels were easier to swallow than two-piece hard capsules, tablets and gelatin coated tablets. Consumers also perceived that softgels acted more rapidly in the system than other delivery forms. Most consumers interviewed indicated that they would be willing to pay a little extra for higher premium value of softgels.1
Ten years later, in 2009, a European study conducted by Expressions Planning Limited confirmed that consumers prefer softgels to any other delivery form.2 About 607 consumers in the United Kingdom (207), France (200) and Italy (200) were interviewed. The study tested consumer preference for a variety of delivery forms that included softgels, coated tablets, fast-melt tablets, soft-shell capsules, hard-shell capsules, and sachets/powders for both over-the-counter (OTC) and vitamin/mineral Supplements (VMS). In all three countries, the results confirmed that:
- Consumers preferred softgel delivery form mainly because they are easy to swallow
- Consumers preferred oval-shaped softgels
- Consumers preferred softgels which had plant-based (animal-free) shells rather than animal-based shells
- More than 25 percent of consumers interviewed said they were willing to pay premium price for softgel capsules
The increasing consumer demand for nutraceuticals boosted the value of the U.S. dietary supplement industry to over $25 billion in 2008 in spite of a declining economy.3 In this growing and competitive market, softgel delivery forms offer nutraceutical manufacturers an easy opportunity to increase product appeal. Manufacturers are increasingly using the distinguishing features of softgels to draw consumer attention and drive sales with labels such as, “Easy-to-swallow softgels” or “Vegetarian softgels”, or “Enteric-coated softgels”.
Choosing the Right Softgel Manufacturer
Softgel manufacturing requires production expertise which not all nutraceutical contract manufacturers are able to provide. Formulation is an important process in producing a successful softgel and not all substances can be encapsulated in softgel delivery forms. Only a knowledgeable vendor, like NutraScience Labs, can help you find out if and how your product can be formulated as a soft gel. For more information about our services, call (855) 492-7388 to speak with one of our Production Specialists or submit your request to receive a free softgel manufacturing quote.