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Custom Supplement Manufacturing: The Custom(er) is King

On the surface, it may seem like supplement contract manufacturers make nothing but custom products.  However, a peek behind the curtain shows that custom supplement manufacturing falls along a spectrum, from slapping a custom label on a fairly generic product to fully bespoke product and package offerings. So how can you tell where a particular manufacturer falls on the spectrum? To find out, we asked nutraceutical industry veteran Rick Handel. Rick has nearly 50 years of experience in the industry and has spent the past 27 years with Vitaquest.

How Long Does a Custom Supplement Take to Develop?

According to Rick, the key signal that your contract manufacturer can deliver truly custom products is the strength of their product development function. To gauge that strength, Rick’s advice is: “Ask how long it will take to deliver a custom product, and if the answer is anything less than eight weeks, be suspicious.”

And even eight weeks for custom supplement manufacturing is lightning fast, considering all the complexities involved. There are many choices to be made: safe and effective ingredients, in synergistic combinations, at meaningful potencies, in appropriate dosage forms and stable delivery systems – these all need to be carefully selected to deliver the desired benefits. That quality takes time.

What Goes into Custom Supplement Packaging?

When planning your custom supplement manufacturing timeline, don’t forget packaging. Supplement packaging must be eye-catching, but must also be able to accommodate FDA’s strict labeling requirements. Packaging materials must also protect the product from the potency-robbing effects of moisture and oxidation. Lastly, quality specifications and analytical testing protocols must be drawn to ensure that the product will be fully potent throughout its shelf life.

How Much Does Custom Supplement Manufacturing Cost?

Here’s a surprise: custom products like those produced by Vitaquest are often less expensive than off-the-shelf solutions. As Rick informs, “Private label manufacturers offering a catalog of ready-made products have to absorb the costs of making and holding finished product inventory, with the additional expense of discarding any unsold goods that are nearing their expiration date. They may be able to get you a stock product in a week or two, but that speed comes at a price. The product might not be freshly made, and consumers won’t want to pay a higher price for a cookie cutter supplement.”

The Vitaquest Difference

Vitaquest can seamlessly integrate all of these facets, and that’s because we bring to every new project the knowledge and experience gained over forty years as an industry leader. Our comprehensive understanding of the science, technology, regulatory environment and market trends mean that Vitaquest is ready to offer broad-based support in selecting the right ingredients delivered by the right format in the right package. The result is a product that arrives on the shelf with a clearly differentiated proposition. Because Vitaquest vigilantly maintains their quest for exciting, science-backed ingredients, we stand ready to collaborate with customers to deliver products that provide meaningful benefits to consumers at price points that deliver value. As Rick explains, “ingredient vendors with new news come to us because they know we are on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Not every custom formula may make it to market, but of the 1,000 or so new formulations developed by Vitaquest last year alone, more than 700 were launched successfully. That’s an amazing success rate for new product development! And, with high levels of customization providing product differentiation, those launches have similarly high success rates. That’s why Vitaquest has such loyal customers. In fact, the company’s average customer relationship is in excess of ten years.

So, if you are planning a new supplement product launch and want a fully differentiated product that Delivers What’s Next, contact Rick so he can tell you more about how Vitaquest can help.

Rick Handel, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at Vitaquest
Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations

Rick Handel is a 50-year veteran of the nutraceutical industry, with a strong background in formulation, R&D and GMP manufacturing of dietary supplements. Rick is celebrating 30 years with industry-leading supplement manufacturer Vitaquest International, where he currently serves as Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations. In that capacity, Rick is responsible for driving sales and innovation by identifying and developing new strategies, business opportunities, science-backed ingredients, and novel delivery technologies. Rick holds eight patents and has presented his published scientific papers and studies at conferences around the world.

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