Yummy, Chewy, Healthy:

New catalyst for the soaring gummies

supplement market

Concept aimed at children now also driven by adult demand

In increasing prevalence of vitamin deficiencies, along with growing awareness of the need for on-the-go supplements, is fuelling a global growth in demand for fortified gummies. The market is also being driven by rocketing sales of immune-supporting products as a preventative measure in the face of the global pandemic. Yet fortified gummies are nothing new, having first hit the shelves in the US in the late-1990s. At that time, they were seen as a breakthrough delivery method for vitamins and minerals which had traditionally taken the form of syrup or chewable tablets. And now technology has evolved to such an extent that the manufacturing process of fortified gummies can be realized in a much faster and easier way. GELITA, the leading manufacturer of collagen peptides and gelatine, provides its customers with both the ingredients and technology needed to realize fortified gummies with true benefits.

The success of gummy supplements as a perceived indulgence is based largely on the fact that they simply taste better than traditional supplements. However, they also eliminate the difficulties associated with swallowing large tablets or capsules, which can be particularly problematic for children and the older population. Furthermore, switching to a gummy version of a vitamin or dietary supplement makes people feel as though they’re not taking too many pills. Other factors propelling the growth of the adult segment in the global gummy vitamins market include working class populations with busier lifestyles, and increased chances of chronic diseases.

Key factors propelling growth

Among all gummy subcategories, the category of vitamins and minerals is by far the most popular, with the market predicted to record a CAGR of 9 per cent from 2018 to 2028, says analyst Market Research Future. Increasing demand for vitamin C and vitamin D supplements, along with bone health and stamina-boosting products, and those making heart health claims, are key factors driving the growth of this segment, as more and more consumers are taking their health into their own hands.

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 per cent share of all gummy launches globally, this category is the second most popular. Products specifically aimed at children are driving innovation too, particularly those addressing immune and gut health, but there’s also an increased demand for vegan/plant-based products in this category.

Global overview

The global gummy vitamins market was valued at $5.7 billion in 2018, and that figure is expected to soar to $9.3 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 6.5 per cent from 2019 to 2026, according to AMR. The analyst says the multi-vitamin segment led in terms of gummy vitamins market share in 2018, and it is expected to retain its dominance throughout the forecast period up to 2026. In the US, meanwhile, the gummy vitamins market was valued at $4.28bn in 2018, but that figure is set to reach $7.88bn by 2026, says UK-based analyst Brand Essence Market Research.

North America, where the supplements market as a whole is highly developed, dominated NPD, accounting for three-quarters of global gummy launches in 2018.

In terms of popularity, the bone health category gained in prominence in the US at the same time, with 32% of all gummy launches targeting bone health, and a focus 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 desirable flavours, shapes and colours all decisive factors in the willingness of children to regularly consume supplements.

Choosing the right hydrocolloid

When it comes to fortified gummy production, the use of hydrocolloids is mandatory. The most commonly used types are gelatine, 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 emulsifying effects – all hydrocolloids are different, and no one solution can cover all functionalities in all applications.

While gelatine is associated by most consumers with the melt-in-the-mouth feeling of a fruit gummy, plant-based variants meet the growing demand vegan and vegetarian offerings. Combinations of different hydrocolloids can also be a solution to certain technological challenges, as well as allowing for new opportunities, e.g. the combination of gelatine and agar-agar, which enables melting points for fruit gummies to be increased to about 50°C – thus making products more suitable for marketing in tropical climates.

Efficient production methods

With the majority of consumers favouring gelatine gummies thanks to their taste and texture, the industry has been putting a lot of effort into the development of more efficient production methods. Gelatine 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, yet this would be almost impossible to achieve and would make no sense financially.

Another downside of the traditional manufacturing method is the lengthy production time.

Drying time for gummy candies is approximately 24 hours, but can be as much as 48 hours. The gummies have to remain in the starch trays to set, lose moisture and obtain the required texture for demolding. As a consequence, large storage facilities with controlled temperature and humidity are necessary.

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. That’s why gelatine and collagen peptides manufacturer GELITA has worked with Hänsel and WDS – leading companies for sugar confectionery processing lines – on the production of gelatine gummies using a starch-free processing method.

Dr. Margarethe Plotkowiak, Head of Global Product Management Food at GELITA, comments: “Our Fast Forward Process technology reduces the time required to make a gummy from one day to less than two hours. It also replaces starch trays with reusable silicone molds, which allows for a number of cost savings. 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. This effectively means the beginning of a new era in gelatine gummy production.”

With their innovative technology, GELITA helps manufacturers realising fortified gummies with true benefits. Copyright GELITA


New ingredient solutions

Manufacturers such as GELITA have also invested in new ingredient solutions to aid dosing challenges, e.g. for the production of high protein gummies. The collagen peptides of the GELITA ST range improve the technical performance in multiple ways, such as creating less dust during production, storage and transportation. This makes handling easier and means 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 make it is easier to create high-concentration solutions.

If a gummy requires the gelling properties of gelatine as well as the bioactivity of specific collagen peptides (BCP®), it is now also possible to achieve this with one product: The GELITA HST – Hybrid Smart Technology – range, which combines the best of both worlds. 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, it is no longer necessary to order, transport and store multiple products, thus allowing manufacturers to create entirely new products or extend existing lines without the need for investment in new equipment.

Take the production of Beauty Gummies, which can be fortified with VERISOL®, as an example. With GELITA HST, it’s possible to incorporate the required dosage of 2,5 g of these BCP® (Bioactive Collagen Peptides®) into only three gummies.

Another example would be 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.

Technological expertise

With shortened innovation circles 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 gelatines to meet individual formulation requirements. 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 real market appeal.