LLS Health has developed fully plant-based gummies in line with its stated new Nutra 2.0 mission, “Connecting the dots: helping supplement makers be in sync with the consumer’s mind.” The mission is led by insights and consumer research.
Iron is vital to human health, and thus iron deficiency can put people at risk. With its new gummies Lubrizol hope to make it easier for consumers to access it.
“Iron plays a crucial role in the human body,” Isabel Gómez, Global Marketing Manager for LLS Health’s nutraceutical business, told FoodNavigator.
“As such, iron deficiency is the root of numerous health issues, causing several issues such as anaemia, a weakened immune system, compromised cognitive development, and impaired muscle use.”
Anemia in particular is an important issue. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anaemia globally affects 36.5% of pregnant women and a staggering 39.8% of children under five. Some of the symptoms are fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and cold hands and feet.
Who is the gummy aimed at? Who will most benefit from the high iron content contained within?
“Pregnant women are a very important target for us,” Gomez told us. “At this highly influential stage in life, they are seeking for products that are easy to incorporate into their lifestyles, which is why they prefer convenient formats such as gummies or chewable formats.
“Also, they are looking for products that don’t give a bad metallic taste or undesirable side effects with the certainty that the product will be well absorbed with proven efficacy.”
Research conducted throughout 113 industries, and using machine learning and AI, found that pregnant women, and 'pregnancy-minded women' (women aiming to conceive) put iron consumption as one of their top priorities, in order to ensure comfort during pregnancy and safety for the baby, as well as conception itself.
However, according to Gomez the gummies are also targeted towards young children and older adults, for whom gummies are a particularly convenient way to get iron. They “prefer the ease of consumption over difficult-to-swallow and poor-tasting tablets,” she told us.
Getting the taste right
The gummies use LIPOFER, a microencapsulated source of iron that doesn’t come with the signature metallic taste that a lot of iron-intensive products have. This is one of the key selling points.
“Even though each gummy contains 10 mg of iron,” Gomez told us, which, she says, is higher than most supplements, “the metallic taste is unnoticeable, and the consumer can enjoy eating tasty gummies with a grape flavour”. The metallic taste is protected from bleeding through to the taste buds by LLS’s microencapsulation technology,
“The encapsulated iron . . . is incorporated into the molten gummy mass as a dry powder after the cooking stage,” Gomez tells us.
“The microcapsules are then dispersed using a standard paddle mixer. One benefit of the microcapsules is that they can be easily distributed into the gummy mass to produce a homogenous blend."
“This is important to ensure good content uniformity in each gummy. Once the target Brix level is reached, the gummy mass is then poured into moulds and allowed to set and dry.”
A new market
Lubrizol Life Science Health is an ingredients supplier, and hopes that they will be able to help other companies create iron-rich gummies.
“Our customers usually need help creating iron-fortified gummies as they pose challenges for formulators, such as stability issues or an unpleasant metallic taste,” Gomez told us.
“These problems can be avoided with [our] microcapsules to make a great-tasting, pectin-based gummy.
“By providing guidelines and formulation expertise, we enable manufacturers to create high-quality iron-fortified gummies. We expect to see many of our current customers and new potential ones launching their gummies . . . very soon.”