Technical articles

Food supplements and nutraceuticals


What is a food or nutraceutical supplement?

The health nutrition market is constantly evolving, driven by major public health considerations. In France, this market has grown strongly over the past 15 years, in particular due to the aging population an the growing awareness of the link between food and wellbeing. The global market for dietary supplements is consequently booming with over 100% growth expected by 2025.

According to the official definition, food supplements are food products intended to supplement the normal diet. They represent a concentrated source of nutrients or other substances which have a nutritional or physiological effect, singly or in combination, marketed in dosage forms. Source: Directive 2002/46/EC

Source : Directive 2002/46/CE

The word “nutraceutical” has no official definition. It comes from the contraction of “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”. The terms nutraceuticals and dietary supplements therefore overlap.

Presented in dosage forms, food supplements or nutraceuticals exist in several galenic forms: capsules, tablets, syrups, vials, dose bags, etc. They can be composed of various ingredients: vitamins, minerals, substances with nutritional or physiological purpose (amino acids, omega-3, etc.), plants or plant preparations, ingredients of animal origin (fish oils, propolis, etc.), ferments and yeasts (probiotics, brewer’s yeast, etc.), fruits and vegetables.

Food supplements can have nutritional or physiological roles, depending on their conposition. In some cases, they are recommended as first-line treatment, which can help moderate the use of medicines.

  • Being a concentrated source of nutrients, certain food supplements contribute to compensating dietary deficiencies. Nevertheless, they do not replace a balanced diet but rather complement it. Food supplements therefore are well adapted to the specific needs of certain populations (pregnant women, the elderly, etc.) or in certain situations (vitamin D deficiency in winter, etc.).
  • Healthy people can also be subject to health discomforts (stress, digestive discomfort, joint pain, sleeping disorders, etc.). Food supplements can help eliminate or reduce these daily inconveniences.
  • Role of prevention, food supplements act on the reduction of what is refered to as chronic diseases risk factors (lowered cholesterol, increased bone mineral density, etc.). Active ingredients present in food supplements participate to the physiological balance, which is essential to maintaining good health.

A dietary supplement project includes several phases, from design to industrial manufacturing:

  • Formulation: this first stage of design consists of formulating the food supplement into a specific galenic form, with the appropriate packaging, according to precise specifications and market trends. During this phase, sourcing and selection of ingredients are carried out. The ingredients are rigorously selected according to health claims or to provide scientifically proven effectiveness, thus allowing better communication. The regulatory support will be a key point to ensure the conformity of the formula according to the French and European regulations in force.
  • Development: After validation of the theoretical formula, laboratory tests are then carried out to produce samples in order to define the final formula.
  • Transposition: Once the final formula has been defined, large-scale transposition of the product, begins with a pilot test to overcome technical difficulties, prior to industrial production. This phase includes stability studies according to ICH standards.
  • Production: The last step includes manufacturing and packaging in compliance with the GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices), during which quality controls are carried out on raw materials and finished products, to ensure product quality, efficacy, and  consumer safety.
What support do we offer?

The manufacturing process of a food supplement involves different actors. EFOR services cover the entire life cycle of food supplements, destined to manufacturers, distributors, ingredientists, processors, R&D formulators, analysis laboratories, etc.

With the emergence of nutricosmetics and the “in & out” trend, food supplements will be of high interest to cosmetic and dermocosmetic companies. Nutricosmetics being at the crossroads of the cosmetics and nutraceuticals industries, they are usually edible products with esthetic properties (healthy skin, nails and hair, sun protection, etc.).

Do not hesitate to seek the support of Efor consultants in nutraceuticals or nutricosmetics who can provide scientific and regulatory expertise but also in-depth knowledge in project management.