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Clean Label Supplements: Understanding the Science

September 5, 2023

Clean label is a growing trend in the nutritional and dietary supplement industry that revolves around transparency, simplicity, and a shift toward ingredients that consumers recognize and perceive as wholesome.

To meet growing consumer demand, companies need to adapt to this trend that also promotes trust and integrity in the brand. This article will delve into clean label supplements, from its origins and meaning to the science behind it.

Ready to get started? We can help you make label friendly tablets and capsules that your consumers will love.

The Clean Label Movement: An Overview

The idea of clean label traces its roots back to increasing consumer consciousness about the ingredients in food. Today, this movement is expanding into the nutritional supplement market as consumers desire:

  • Simpler products with shorter ingredient lists that only include relevant materials.
  • Ingredients are recognizable and easy to understand .
  • Transparency is key. Consumers look to understand the provenance of ingredients and the production process.

What’s Inside Clean Label Supplements?

In clean label supplements excipients (inactive materials) function as the carrier for the active ingredients. Typically, excipients are chose for their functionality, but companies now also pay attention to the their source and perception by consumers; ideally, these specialty excipients should be derived from natural sources.

Commonly used excipients such as starches and cellulosics, such as MCC or hypromellose (HPMC), are chosen for their functional properties, including binder, compressibility and flow. Certain excipients, such as pregelatinized starch offer advantages such as moisture management, making them suitable for hygroscopic or moisture-sensitive active ingredients.

The formulation process for clean label supplements involves a balance of functionality, manufacturability and good resulting product stability.

  • Excipients and active ingredients are usually combined in a blending process to provide uniform distribution and improve tablet hardness.
  • This blend then undergoes a compression process to form tablets.
  • Film coating the tablets is the final part of the process.

The science behind clean label supplements involves an intricate balance between ingredient selection and functionality required during formulation development. This requires in-depth knowledge of naturally-derived and label-friendly excipients, their possible interactions with active ingredients, manufacturability and regulatory status.

Challenges and Considerations in Clean Label Supplement Production

Several active ingredients are either hydroscopic or sensitive to light, air and oxygen, all of which can impact stability and effectiveness of the product. This highlights the necessity of in-depth research and development for the active ingredients, as well as care with excipient selection.

Regulatory considerations can also pose a challenge. Different areas of the world have varying definitions and standards for what constitutes a clean label product. This can create obstacles in producing a universally label friendly product that meets all regional regulations. Thus, a comprehensive understanding of international regulatory landscapes is vital.

The process of innovation plays a key role in navigating these challenges. Researching and developing new excipients, refining manufacturing processes, and continually updating practices in line with regulatory needs are key for success in the clean label space.

Continued Innovation in Clean Label Supplements

The industry continues to innovate, with key developments including:

  • Gaining insight into naturally derived excipients and their compatibility with active ingredients.
  • Advances in manufacturing processes to improve the product appearance and stability of clean label supplements.
  • New regulations shaping the definition and standards for clean label products.

These trends will benefit not only consumers, who will have more choice and access to clean label supplements, but also the industry, as it adapts and evolves to meet consumer needs.

A New Opportunity for the Nutritional Supplement Industry

As the clean label trend forges ahead, it's clear that specialty excipients, like those now used in supplements, will be essential in responding to this movement. But moving toward clean label supplements brings challenges – finding a harmonious blend of clean label compliance, superior product performance, consumer satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness is no easy task.

This is where Nutracore™ label friendly excipients from Colorcon step into the spotlight. Nutracore™ is a range of excipients designed with clean label principles in mind, while providing efficient manufacturing performance. It meets label friendly consumer expectations without sacrificing performance and can handle even difficult ingredients like garlic and ashwagandha with ease, thanks to its excellent powder flow, lubricity, and compressibility.

Joining forces with Colorcon and embracing ground-breaking solutions like Nutracore™ will help manufacturers steer effectively through the clean label terrain. They will be able to create nutritional products that not only align with clean label regulations but also offer the competitive advantage essential for propelling business growth. In your quest for delivering clean label for consumers, think about the instrumental role Nutracore™ could play.

Colorcon can help you create your own label friendly product. Learn more about the Nutra Natural Advantage.

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