The strategy behind food supplement formulation

Whether we are thinking of building customized supplements, it is important to clearly establish how differentiate from existing products. The differentiation comes in part from the chosen formulation strategy. To start with a successful formulation, there are three key factors to consider:

  • Efficiency: at least one ingredient with an appropriate dosage to guarantee the efficiency
  • Image: ingredients with a strong marketing image
  • Communication: at least one ingredient enabling to claim on a wanted positioning

Thus, the choice of ingredients is primordial to set up all this strategy.


Finding the finest balance between science and marketing 

The key for food supplement formulation is to combine different high-quality active ingredients categories:

  • « Scientific » active ingredients, with an efficient dosage that allows to claim on a specific benefit. They are validated by scientific studies that are reassurance guarantees for healthcare professionals (pharmacists and doctors). Thus, the consumer can easily trust the product.
  • « Marketing » active ingredients, with a well-known action and a marketing image that reflects the health benefit. It is essential to give substance to a marketing speech and highlight the wanted positioning in order not to lose the consumer.


Combining innovative and well-established ingredients 

Another point of view is to consider the degrees of innovation and maturity of the ingredients. The maturity of an active ingredient is defined by:

  • Its reputation towards consumers
  • The promotion undertaken by manufacturers
  • The level of scientific validation, and thus its guarantee by the medical community

The well-established ingredient reassures the consumer about the quality and efficiency of the final product and simultaneously, the innovative ingredient attracts him and arouses interest to make a purchase. This latter ingredient allows to stand out from the competition with an interesting innovation (exotism, ‘extreme’ sourcing, etc.).

Iontec’s offer contains both innovative and well-established ingredients. For instance, Bio-Arct® particular sourcing makes it innovative: it comes from the Chondrus crispus red algae, harvested in extrem winter conditions, which brings novelty compared to other ingredient suppliers. As for Collasil®, this ingredient is well-established in the market because of its composition with silicon and collagen well known to consumers in the beauty sphere. Iontec brought its touch of originality thanks to its patented technology optimizing bioavailability, to differentiate the collagen from others on the market.


Choosing the right formulation strategy

Defining a differentiating formulation philosophy can allow to stand out from competitors in the same market sector, but also can lead to an original communication on the food supplement.

  • Building a range around a family/category of ingredients (superfruits, probiotics, algae…) to become a referent on it
  • Creating original associations of ingredient categories
  • Transferring well-established ingredients from a health benefit to another one

Numerous formulation strategies are possible to be out of the ordinary, while keeping in mind that food supplements are subject to a wide range of laws and regulations, and depend on several criteria: galenic form, cost price, technical constraints, etc.

Beyond the formulation strategy and the ingredients, other tactical choices can be made to success, such as the In & Out programs.



Bibliographical references

Nutrikéo Consulting, 2018.