Delivery format generational gap? Vitafoods exhibitors debate “fun” capsule alternatives
07 Oct 2021 --- The food sector has recently seen a renewed focus on texture, which is now penetrating into the nutraceutical realm. This is having an impact on delivery formats, where consumers – especially younger generations – are seeking new experiences in their supplements.
NutritionInsight speaks with exhibiters from the show floor at Vitafoods Europe 2021, who present a mixed picture of current attitudes toward capsules. Additionally, texture-driven sensations are driving demand for products such as gummies, as well as more unusual crunchy offerings.
In this space, Gnosis by Lesaffre is showcasing its Noochy Crisp, a new format for its nutritional yeast. Its small pellets – not unlike Rice Krispies – promise a “new sensory experience” while still offering minerals, fibers including yeast beta-glucans and proteins.
“It’s crunchy, so you get the texture component that most supplements miss,” explains Marc Philouze, managing director of Gnosis by Lesaffre.
According to Philouze, the first driver of repeat purchase is taste, followed by texture. “Noochy Crisp is a fun experience, and fun triggers consumption. We’re all looking for fun these days,” he points out.
He adds that the crunchiness catches people by surprise. “It’s different from something like gummies. You can eat them on a hike or share them with friends.”
However, gummies are one of the delivery formats that are often positioned as an alternative for pills. For example, Mibelle is showcasing its ingredients in a range of formats including pastilles and chewy sweets.
“Lots of companies target consumers who are health-conscious but still prioritize taste and want products that are fun to take.”
Age is just a number?
Alice Olufeso, product manager food and health at Mibelle, outlines that while tablets are continuing to lose ground, they still remain a major way for taking nutraceuticals. “The tendency is that older consumers go more for classical formats. This could be because some older people have issues with chewing or eating, for example.”
She adds that there is often a crossover of consumers in their 50s who are looking for products with increasingly functional ingredients.
Philouze is cautious about delineating the demands of generations too strictly. “Younger generations want to consume products in different formats, but we don’t want to limit Noochy Crisp only to younger people. There’s something social about it – it’s something you can share with friends. The idea is to make it spread from just one generation to a wider audience.”
Capsules’ clean label attractiveness
However, Lonza and Gelpell are both adamant that more traditional delivery formats like capsules will continue to have a place in the nutraceutical world. One aspect of this appeal is their simplicity often enables clean label positionings.
For example, Kristina Edvinsson, owner of Gelpell, explains how the Switzerland-based contract manufacturer’s proprietary beads are only made from gelatin and raw ingredients, without any additives or sugar.
Meanwhile, Lonza is spotlighting its titanium dioxide-free capsules, which are the subject of even more popularity following EFSA’s recent “not safe” verdict for the popular opacifier.
Lonza also offers capsules colored with food, with the company showcasing its green and brown Vcaps Plus HPMC for the first time at Vitafoods.
“Color is important for end-consumers and even patients in the pharmaceutical sector. There is an impact on acceptance, so certain colors are associated with certain health categories,” explains Anne Holderbach, head of regional marketing at Lonza.
For example, purple might be associated with relaxing moods.
“It’s also important for the brands who can match certain colors with their packaging or different doses,” she adds.
Enabling precise demands
Another area where capsules may have the upper hand is where precise dosages and timings are important.
For example, Lonza’s Capsugel range allows for the release time to be determined more accurately, while the Duocap capsule-in-capsule technology with beadlets allows for multiple ingredients to be combined in a controlled manner.
Edvinsson adds that the Gelpell Beads can be put in hard capsules to offer higher bioavailability. “You can also combine substances that would normally interact with each other. For example, vitamin C and iron can be put into two separate Gelpells and then into one capsule.”
This means that they only start to open up and interact with each other in the body. Normally in a soft capsule, they would open up before and interact, thus oxidizing, she explains.
Edvinsson also argues that capsules appeal to consumers’ demands for a convenient solution. “They are a very easy way to get nutrients – you really only need a glass of water, and you can take them at any time of day.”
Other topics spotlighted at Vitafoods Europe 2021 include assessing physical versus virtual trade shows, as well as Monteloeder’s new Eternalyoung ingredient that slows down aging at a cellular level. Meanwhile, Bioiberica shared new scientific backing for its joint health ingredient, Mobilee.
By Katherine Durrell, reporting live from Vitafoods Europe
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