Very few brands have the capacity to handle in-house softgel manufacturing on their own in any kind of cost-effective manner. The burden of quality control can also be intimidating. Even companies that could feasibly afford in-house production don’t see the benefits of using this route when high-quality contract manufacturing is an option. The truth is that major supplement brands overwhelmingly use third-party production to get their products on the shelves. This leaves them with a way to provide their customers with high-quality, thoroughly tested products for a fraction of the cost of from-scratch products. If you’re ready to bring a new softgel product to the market, this is what you need to know about how to manage manufacturing without sacrificing quality.
Brief History of Softgel Contract Manufacturing
Contract manufacturing really took off during the 1990s. This was when most major supplement and wellness brands began to hire large-scale manufacturers to produce and package their products. This decade also marked the start of the ongoing consumer hunger for quality wellness products that can be purchased “over the counter” without a prescription. However, the interesting history of softgel and “pharmaceutical” contract manufacturing is actually tied to the Space Race. During the race to the moon, large-scale production facilities sprung up around the country.
Once funding from NASA dried up, owners of engineering facilities were left with the facilities, technologies, and crews needed for large-scale production. The only problem was that they didn’t have any more lucrative government contracts coming in for industrial products. Many quickly pivoted to manufacturing pharmaceutical and wellness products as a way to make use of their facilities. As time went on, brands discovered that this arrangement meant that they could enjoy world-class production without the need to take on the responsibilities and costs associated with staffing production facilities.
How Softgel Manufacturing Revolutionized the Supplement Industry
Did you know that the softgel was invented in 1934? While softgels are often preferred by customers, it took brands a while to be able to meet the growing demand for soft, flexible dosage “housing” because of the complexity involved with formulating and creating softgels. Once brands began outsourcing softgel manufacturing to third-party facilities, a new world opened up because those brands could now offer affordable, convenient options to customers that covered a wide range of different products.
The softgel is the preferred delivery method for customers around the world for a variety of reasons. First, these capsules dissolve within minutes of entering the stomach to allow for smooth digestion. For brands, that translates to being able to deliver well-tolerated products. Of course, it’s the enhanced bioavailability of the softgel that really draws customers to products that are available in this form. Unlike pills or tablets that need to be chewed, softgels enter the stomach fully intact. This can greatly increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients that are difficult for the body to absorb.
Safety and freshness are also big factors. As a hermetically sealed product, a softgel ensures freshness while also protecting against both tampering and natural degrading that occurs with exposure to air. This is something that a two-part capsule cannot offer. Let’s not forget that softgels are also generally perceived as being easier to swallow than chalky, rigid pills and tablets.
Benefits of Softgel Contract Manufacturing
At its core, softgel contract manufacturing frees up resources for supplement brands. Brands can focus on marketing, sales, and setting up distribution partnerships because brand leaders aren’t tied up in overseeing the complexities of production. What’s more, brands can get in compliance with state, federal, and international regulations immediately by outsourcing production to a certified facility. In many cases, this allows a new supplement company to jump years ahead in the development cycle compared to a brand that is starting from scratch with trying to create an in-house method for making softgel capsules.
Faster time to market can provide a big advantage for a supplement brand that aspires to be a leader in a specific category. In many cases, it’s possible to get a formula on the market in weeks after signing an agreement with a third-party softgel manufacturing company. Additionally, an established softgel manufacturing company that specializes in making large batches of products can offer a brand scalability. Contract manufacturers source materials using competitive price negotiations that lock in low prices on raw materials. This can dramatically drive down the price per softgel for the brand having its product created using softgel contract manufacturing.
Many brands that use softgel contract manufacturing start off with small orders. However, they have the option to scale upward when necessary. As production increases with the growing popularity of a product, the cost of production remains low.
A softgel manufacturing company offers the infrastructure needed to create superior products in a controlled, regulated environment. In addition to having the physical capacity to produce bulk orders of filled softgels, a softgel contract manufacturer also has a skilled team of engineers, production specialists, food scientists, research and development (R&D) specialists, and quality assurance (QA) technicians on the ground overseeing all aspects of the production cycle.
Finally, pricing for softgel contract manufacturing is straightforward and predictable. This allows brands to enjoy consistent budgeting for each new batch. Additionally, third-party softgel manufacturers can provide consistent production that ensures predictable delivery times.
Is It Time to Work With a Softgel Contract Manufacturer?
Outsourcing softgel filling and manufacturing to a respected contract manufacturer is one the best ways for a newer, smaller brand to become competitive. NutraPak USA is a leading softgel contract manufacturer that’s used by countless supplement brands. All manufacturing is conducted at a state-of-the-art nutraceutical filing and packaging facility located in New Jersey. Get a quote today!