Living better: supporting consumers with responsible product design and trend-driven supplement innovation

Recent months have seen unprecedented disruption as people form new habits and the global agenda influences how many view health and nutrition, reports Stephane Vouche, Marketing Manager, Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients

For today’s consumers, the megatrends of sustainability and health awareness have established a set of values for living better … and these are top of mind when they shop.

As such, within their broader search for science-backed, environmentally friendly solutions, consumers are focusing on supplements that meet their current priorities and help then to achieve more specific goals. So, what is driving our industry forward on a broader level and, in our changing times, what do consumers want?

#Wellness: health-conscious consumers

As consumer understanding about health and wellness grows, more individuals are becoming interested in leading healthier, physically active lifestyles. At the same time, value-driven consumers are more concerned with what they put in their bodies, seeking out solutions with demonstrated health benefits that align with their preferences and ideals.

Safety and efficacy, for instance, are paramount when it comes to food supplements: Lonza’s proprietary survey of 1000 consumers in France showed that 47% of supplement users consider clinical proof that a product works to be “very important.” Furthermore, 52% of consumers also insist on “unquestionable safety” as a priority requirement for their supplement products.

#Sustainability: consumers are adopting stronger environmental ideals

Shoppers are also increasingly aware of the impact of their purchasing decisions on the planet. More than half (54%) of consumers believe they can contribute to a more sustainable world with their purchasing decisions and, in the UK, one in three people are already buying mostly organic; 31% of consumers are also willing to pay a premium for products that are made in a sustainable manner.

Talk of sustainability is far from new to today’s well-informed consumers and their discerning eyes. Supplement users are well equipped to spot the tell-tale signs of inauthenticity and instead look for an end-to-end sustainability story. Indeed, recent global events have taken the importance of purpose to the next level as consumers connect with ethical brands that contribute to society at large.

Consumer health concerns are changing

In our fast-paced, digital world, many consumers are looking for solutions that support a much broader variety of health concerns, such as better sleep and immune health, for example, as well as options to ease stress and improve cognitive performance.

Now, more than ever, a busy life does not necessarily mean physical exertion — much of our exhaustion comes from increasingly long hours spent behind LED screens, working, connecting with others and online gaming. As such, we have also seen a growing interest in supplement solutions that help with prolonged concentration and cognitive health, as well as for protection from blue light.

There is also a rising interest in convenient supplement solutions that support beauty-from-within, empowering consumers to look good as they live and feel better. In the current climate, investing in looking good can provide a morale boost and a welcome distraction from the strains of daily life. Indeed, 54% of French consumers agree that grooming rituals help to reduce stress.

Living better

For manufacturers, the challenge of creating on-trend supplement solutions is two-fold. First, they must offer trend-led solutions that can capture consumer attention by aligning with their evolving health concerns. Second, they must ensure these solutions have the demonstrated efficacy and sustainable credentials that are by now prerequisite.

It is, however, just as important to choose the right delivery format — one that facilitates the high performance of the ingredient fill while aligning with consumer preferences for health- and planet-friendly solutions.

It is essential that supplement product design goes beyond functional considerations and also applies to its look and feel. The consumer experience is imperative, and that includes considerations such as swallowability, taste, odour and colour to optimise functionality as well as on-shelf appeal.

Responsibly made

Hard capsules are still the preferred dosage form for the majority of supplement consumers — offering convenience, ease of use and visual appeal, without compromising on the sustainable credentials that matter so much.

Lonza’s range of Responsibly Made Products is built on a portfolio of hard capsules that are designed to support a sustainable positioning while also maximising product efficacy.

These include Vcaps Plus capsules, a premium vegan dosage form made of just one ingredient, plant-based hypromellose (HPMC), which supports an organic product positioning in finished products when used alongside other organic ingredients. Vcaps Plus capsules can now also be tinted with multiple colouring foods such as purple carrot or red radish to create unique, visually appealing products that also have a clean-label positioning.

Plantcaps capsules, made from a unique formulation of pullulan, a naturally fermented tapioca, provide an even more effective oxygen barrier than a traditional gelatin capsule.

Both HPMC and pullulan technology platforms can be used for Licaps liquid-filled hard capsules, which offer superior, patent-protected sealing technology for maximum stability, and DUOCAP capsule-in-capsule technology, which allows for the simultaneous delivery of multiple or previously incompatible fills, such as powders and liquids.

Consumer-driven innovation

From this springboard of responsibly made dosage forms, Lonza has developed an exciting range of trend-led, finished Responsibly Made Products. These applications are designed to inspire, exemplifying how brands can leverage high-performance ingredients with Licaps liquid delivery dosage forms.

Thanks to their high-gloss, pure and transparent appearance, Licaps liquid-filled hard capsules are an ideal platform for beauty-from-within products that enhance consumer appeal when combined with natural, organic and science-backed ingredients. The Licaps formulation offers a stable delivery format for trending ingredients, which can also be combined with complementary fills within a single dosage form.

It’s also now possible to combine food colours with the Licaps liquid-filled technology platform. Colouring derived from purple carrot, as an example, enhances visual appeal and branding thanks to psychological associations between purple and beauty. It can further reinforce colour attributes such as lavender for relaxation when delivering a lavender oil fill.

With self-care predicted to be an ongoing consumer priority in today’s landscape, products that can support the adjustment to a “new normal” are more likely to resonate with supplement users. As their screen time has increased, consumers may feel a need to balance intense periods of concentration with switching off from work, which presents opportunities for product innovation.

Enter Licaps Digital Defense — a ready-to-market solution that contains a unique blend of antioxidants, carotenoids and lutein, which has been clinically demonstrated to support eye health.

This powerful formulation can be delivered in a Licaps Purple Carrot capsule for added branding and differentiation opportunities.

What’s more, the capsule-in-capsule DUOCAP technology platform has enabled a new generation of products that address a key priority for ageing consumers: staying mobile. A single dose of just 40 mg of UC-II undenatured type II collagen in the inner capsule, alongside highly bioavailable liquid curcumin in the outer capsule, results in a powerful combination for joint health.

Meanwhile, the cognitive health space is also a rapidly growing market. Here, vegan DUOCAP capsules can be leveraged to deliver new combinations of ingredients to support cognitive performance and mood, alongside sleep and relaxation, in a convenient single-dose solution.

Doing better

For the consumer, living better is a continual aspiration with no end destination; there’s always room to improve and priorities are never static. For some, living well means sleeping better. For others, living better means improving your personal best during a workout.

For others, living better means looking as good as you feel. What unites these aspirations is a collective focus on science-backed solutions, delivered through sustainable methods.

As Lonza’s Responsibly Made Products demonstrate, there is no one path that manufacturers can take to meet these consumer needs. On the contrary, empowering consumers to live better means providing them with more quality options than ever, so they can find sustainable, effective solutions for every one of their personal health priorities.

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