22, 2023
4 min

Fortified gummies have been one of the biggest success stories to come out of the supplement industry in recent years. What started as a candy-like carrier for kids’ vitamins has expanded to become the format of choice for a variety of active nutritional ingredients, and consumers of all ages are warming to its soft and chewy attributes.

This is apparent not only from our conversations with customers but also from market data. According to Innova Market Insights, gummy supplements accounted for 9.4% of global supplement launches in 2021 - an increase of 70% since 2017, and between 2020 and 2021 alone, the number of gummy supplement launches globally rocketed by 81%.

Starch-based process

But while the fortified gummies market is advancing apace, production methods are still playing catch-up. The traditional method for producing fortified gummies is the starch-based process. Molds are pressed into starch boards with a stamp and the fruit gum mass is poured into the cavities. They are then moved into air-conditioned rooms to set and dry for a couple of days before being demolded, oiled, sugared (if required) and packaged.

The use of gelatin in this process yields a gummy with a highly desirable texture and taste, but the starch-based process has several downsides. Production takes days and, besides offering little scope for recipe flexibility, can be too harsh for heat-sensitive active ingredients. The reuse of the starch also introduces a risk of cross-contamination between batches.

Breaking the mold

Starchless production overcomes these issues and allows a much faster, more flexible process, but has its own set of limitations. In a starch-free process, the ingredients are added after cooking at lower temperature for gentler treatment. The fruit gum mass is then deposited into silicon or plastic molds. Then they can be demolded in less than an hour without any additional drying steps. However, until now, the speed of this process has precluded the use of gelatin as the gelling agent. That is why manufacturers had to rely primarily on alternative hydrocolloids. The problem is that none of them can deliver the chewy jelly texture that consumers have come to expect from their gummies.

Best of both worlds

That was when we came up with the concept of a fast-setting gelatin that could be used in a starchless production process. This solution, marketed as CONFIXX®, allows supplement manufacturers to benefit from efficient, clean and gentle starch-free production whilst developing innovative ingestibles that can drive the market forwards.

By moving away from starch-based manufacturing towards a starchless process, you can make considerable efficiency gains - both in terms of time and cost. Eliminating both the starch preparation and gummy drying steps reduces production time from two days to just a few hours and rules out the risk of cross-contamination through clean separation of batches with different active ingredients. The simplified process lends itself to production of small batches, with greater flexibility in terms of product changes and tighter control over ingredient dosing. This, coupled with the high tolerance of gelatin to formulation changes and the more gentle treatment of ingredients, makes it easy to accommodate a broader range of active ingredients - including difficult to work with and heat-sensitive ingredients.

If you would like to find out how you could take your fortified gummy development to the next level with CONFIXX®, please get in touch.

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Category: #AmazingGelatin