The importance of optimal development of new food supplements

In the development of food supplements, from formulation to marketing, it is essential to make the right decisions at critical moments in the process in order to obtain approval from the authorities and success in marketing

Albert Sala Llinares Doctor in Pharmacy Director of Development at NutraResearch
Albert Sala Llinares
Doctor in Pharmacy
Director of Development at NutraResearch

The development of food supplements has key phases that, from a technical point of view, need to be known, from formulation to marketing. There are several critical moments in the process in which there are numerous aspects to consider and which will be essential for obtaining the approval of the authorities and the good development of the product: from the selection of raw materials to the approval of suppliers, including the parameters of the industrial formulationlabelling and placing it on the market.

Before starting, in order to successfully develop a formulation it is always advisable to know the market trends in depth. There are various reliable sources of information on market trends both in the European Union and from the non-EU market that make it possible to properly target demand and needs in each of the different markets. At this point it is necessary to take into account that everyone behaves differently, and simply moving what works in one place to another does not ensure the same marketresult.

In each place it is necessary to know the consumer trends and the behaviour of the population. After knowing into which markets a food supplement can best fit, it will be necessary to adapt our product, also showing it with specific designs that fit in each market. Even within the same market, it is also important to differentiate the presentation if we target specializedand non-specialized sectors.

Presenting it as aninnovation, highlighting everything that it contributes and what differentiates it from the offerings seen so far, undoubtedly allows us to capture the interest of the public we are addressing. Similarly, it is equally important to support the new formulation so that its full benefit can be perceived. Therefore, it is appropriate for the new proposal to be supported by studies or scientific guarantees on the beneficial effects on our organism, which will ensure an adequate input, so that the knowledge on its development and the importance of the new application can be appreciated.

At this point, you will have already guessed that the selection of the ingredients and raw materials is essential. In the development of a Food Supplement we have a wide range of possibilities: vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, fibres, probiotics and Novel foods.Novel foods are foods that, despite the benefits they can bring, are new to consumption in the EU or are produced by a method not previously used for food. In many cases we have discovered a variety of ingredients of this type with great properties for a correct formulation. It is important to note that all raw materials must be approved by their suppliers, since quality and food safety are more important than any other element.

After demonstrating the efficacy of the formulation, we need to give the appropriate dosage form for its correct prescription and intake by the consumer, applying all the latest developments in pharmaceutical technology for the manufacture of food supplements.

The complexity of the process for the development of food supplements continues with the transfer of the formulation we have created to the production of the final recipyat industrial level. There are several critical parameters that can jeopardise the viability of the new proposal.

Firstly, the stability of the formula needs to be ensured when it is produced in large quantities and throughout the industrial process. Also the packaging must comply with all technical characteristics that ensure agood preservation of the food supplement. This packaging material must follow, as it is a food, the legislation in force, complying with the specifications for adequate protection, as well as in terms of suitability and respect for the environment.

The secondary packaging must contain the necessary consumer information, which in the case of food supplements has to be completely specific. Most importantly, it has to adequately communicate the benefits of the new proposal, through very clear, truthful, effective and legal claims.

The task of properly developing a food supplement does not end here. Once we have our product on the market, we need to ensure the stability and robustness of the properties we attribute to it until the indicated shelf live. This requires stability studies to be carried out during the actual development of the formulation. There are different stability studies depending on the type of food supplement we are working with. In each of them, during the stability tests we need to take into account different conditions, such as temperature, humidity, light, etc. During the procedure we make an exhaustive analytical control of the critical parameters that can affectits stability, in order to know the exact behaviour of the food supplement, ensuring its maximum level of quality and properties during the entire time it is on the market.

The result of a good formulation and its introduction on the market therefore depends on a complex process in which each of the various links needs to be properly resolved. Those of us who are familiar with their entire development know just how important it is for each one of them to be overcome in an optimal way, to ensure success in the end.