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Powdered supplement contract manufacturers can encounter various challenges, such as ensuring the consistency of raw material quality, navigating the intricate manufacturing process, extending product shelf life, and adhering to regulatory standards. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and opt for a seasoned contract manufacturer for whom these hurdles are seamlessly overcome.

Understanding the Protein Powder Manufacturing Process

The Process of Manufacturing Powder Supplements 

Whether you’re an experienced brand owner or venturing into the nutraceuticals industry for the first time, understanding the powder supplement manufacturing process is crucial. Knowing this information will help ensure that the protein and other powdered dietary supplements being manufactured for you comply with industry quality standards and that your finished products will appeal to consumers. 

What is a Powder Supplement?

The growth of the powdered supplement delivery form is likely due to active lifestyle aficionados, especially those using protein powders. But what exactly is a powder dietary supplement and how does it differ from other delivery forms such as capsules and tablets?  

Aside from protein powders, other popular categories of powder supplements include green superfoods, pre-workout, recovery, and hydration formulas, as well as collagen formulas: 

  1. Protein powders – May contain only one or more sources of protein—including dairy sources such as whey protein and casein derivatives, as well as vegan sources such as pea and rice protein—or protein combined with flavors, sweeteners, and even other nutraceuticals to create a value-added supplement. 
  2. Green superfoods – Alongside a variety of green superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, and barley grass, these supplements may also include an array of other ingredients such as vegetable powders, fruit powders, vitamins, minerals, herbs, pre/probiotics, and enzymes.
  3. Pre-workout formulas – Typically contain a mix of energy fuels, stimulants (including caffeine), and performance-enhancing nutraceuticals designed to help power the user through their workout. 
  4. Recovery (post-workout) formulas – Typically contain nutraceuticals that help reduce exercise-related discomfort (e.g., curcumin extract) and promote muscle repair (i.e., amino acids, peptides, creatine, etc.). 
  5. Hydration formulas – Almost always contain electrolytes (e.g., sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, etc.), and may include specialized carbohydrates and other performance enhancers. 
  6. Collagen formulas – Collagen and collagen peptides are mainstays of the “beauty from within” category and are frequently utilized to promote joint health. 

Whereas capsules and tablets are better suited for lower-dose nutraceuticals in the milligram range, protein powders can more easily provide multi-gram doses of key nutraceuticals such as protein, creatine, collagen, and others.  

Powders provide the added benefit of being easy to swallow, which is particularly advantageous for the 40% of individuals who struggle with swallowing capsules or tablets.[1]. 

Powder Supplement Manufacturing Steps

Raw Materials 

The first step of the powder supplement manufacturing process is the selection of ingredients. These ingredients are chosen based on quality, efficacy, functionality, and cost considerations. 

  • Quality – The ingredients must come from a reliable supplier that has been GMP audited for quality. It’s important to use only qualified and fully documented raw materials in products to assure safety and purity. Cutting corners during this stage of the powder manufacturing process is not advisable. 
  • Efficacy – The ingredients serve as the basis for structure/function claims that will be made about the finished product. Consequently, they must have science to support their efficacy, which supports claims. 
  • Functionality – The ingredients must meet taste, solubility, and stability parameters. These considerations are far more important in a powdered product than an encapsulated or tablet product. 
  • Cost – While quality, efficacy, and functionality are paramount, cost is also a factor considered in meeting the targeted cost of goods for the finished product. 

Of course, the selection process for the raw materials is predicated upon the formulation in the first instance. You’ll want to work with a contract supplement manufacturer that makes it a point to ensure that the balance of ingredients will provide the desired effects and that it will meet safety parameters. 

General Formulation 

The formulation of powders is more complex than that of capsules and tablets. With powders, the effectiveness of the finished product is only one vital aspect of the formulation. Flavoring and sweetening are additional crucial considerations. If the product doesn’t taste good, it does not matter how effective the formulation is or how great the claims are. You have one chance to make sure that your product tastes good. If a consumer enjoys the taste upon their initial try, they may become repeat purchasers. However, if they dislike it, they are unlikely to buy it again, potentially leading to the discontinuation of your product.

It’s important to work with a supplement contract manufacturer that has flavor scientists on staff to provide an expert hand at finessing the formulation to appeal to the taste buds and olfactory senses. 

Mixing and Blending 

Before blending, the powdered contents need to be weighed. The precise weighing of the component powders should take place in a pharmacy suite using calibrated scales to achieve accurate measurements.  

The blending process ensures that cohesive mixtures are evenly and uniformly distributed and that correct measurements of ingredients are used. There are several types of blenders, and great care should go into selecting the optimal blender for each product. This will likely include high-capacity ribbon, conical, and V-blenders.  

Quality Control and Testing 

The testing procedures and quality control measures implemented in the powder manufacturing process include physical measurements of bulk density, particle size, and moisture content and chemical testing for potency and impurities using various techniques, including HPLC, UPLC, ICP-MS, and Protein analysis. Numerous tests are conducted before, during, or after manufacturing, including identity, potency, micro, and heavy metal tests.  

Filling and Packaging 

Automated filling and packaging lines ensure that the correct amount of the powder is distributed into your packaging of choice. As the package moves down the line, safety seals, caps, and labeling are applied, as is a stamp for expiration or best-by date. The finished good is then placed into cases and sealed, and a label is applied to the box which identifies its contents. 

Your powdered products can be packaged in various options, including bottles, tubs, stand-up (gusset) bags, sachets, and stick packs. You’ll want to work with a supplement manufacturer that employs a team of packaging experts who can work with you to select the correct type of packaging to protect your product during shipping and storage. Your manufacturing partner should also be able to connect you with graphic designers to help you create labels for all types of packaged powdered products. You’ll also want your contract manufacturer to provide you with Supplement Facts and other required information to help ensure your labels are compliant with current regulations. 

Compliance and Certification 

Dietary supplement manufacturers must follow The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), and other regulations. Only work with a powder supplement manufacturer that complies with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). At the very least, ensure your vendor is registered and regularly inspected by FDA. For an even higher level of comfort, look for contract manufacturers possessing third-party GMP certifications. 

For example, ensure your manufacturer has earned certification from NSF per the ANSI 455 compliance standard for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). If they also hold the globally recognized FSSC 22000 certification for food safety, that is a plus since it is relatively rare in the supplement industry.  

Other valuable certifications include the authority to manufacture NSF-certified sports products, Kosher and Halal products, and certified organic products. Such third-party validations underscore dedication to manufacturing supplements of the highest quality and safety standards.  

Flavors in Powder Supplements 

There is a wide range of flavors you may consider for use in your powders. For proteins, you may prefer tried and true chocolate, vanilla, and berry options. Conversely, for smoothies, greens drinks, and other powders, you may prefer citrus flavors or other custom flavors based on current trends or the flavor that works best with the nutraceuticals in your formulation. This may include bitter masking agents if some of those nutraceuticals have bitter notes. In any case, you’ll want to be able to choose from natural, natural & artificial, or artificial flavors. You may also want to consider non-GMO, organic, and clean-label options.  

Likewise, it’s important to have different sweetener options for powder supplements, including natural sweeteners, high-intensity sweeteners, and combinations.  

As mentioned earlier, a certified food scientist can advise what flavors will work best for the product you want to manufacture. 

Market Trends of Powder Supplements

Although we don’t know for sure, the first powdered dietary supplement may have been brewer’s yeast (a source of protein and B vitamins) made famous by the late, great Jack LaLanne over half a century ago. Since then, the popularity of powders as a primary dietary supplement delivery form has grown exponentially. Market research[2] has indicated that the global powder dietary supplements market is currently valued at $35.9 billion and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 7.7%, to reach $75.2 billion by 2032.  

What are the Most Common Challenges that Powder Supplement Manufacturers Face?

Powdered supplement contract manufacturers can encounter various challenges, such as ensuring the consistency of raw material quality, navigating the intricate manufacturing process, extending product shelf life, and adhering to regulatory standards. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and opt for a seasoned contract manufacturer for whom these hurdles are seamlessly overcome. Selecting a manufacturer with a proven track record ensures that these challenges have been effectively incorporated into their standard operating procedures, eliminating them as obstacles. 

How Vitaquest Can Help You in Powder Supplement Manufacturing

Vitaquest has provided nutraceutical brands with best-in-class powder supplement manufacturing, powder engineering services, packaging design, and fulfillment solutions for over 45 years. Whether you’re a newcomer to the industry or aiming to diversify your product range, Vitaquest possesses the expertise, cutting-edge facilities, and solutions needed to turn your powder supplement concept swiftly and effectively into a reality. Vitaquest also offers other dosage forms, including capsules and tablets, and has expertise in all domestic and international regulatory standards. 

To get started, call 800-526-9095 to speak with one of our experienced sales executives or request a competitive nutraceutical manufacturing price quote for your project.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Can Vitaquest make allergen-free, organic, naturally flavored & sweetened powder?  

Yes. Vitaquest can manufacture supplements free of the “big 9” allergens. We can also manufacture organic supplements using organic ingredients, including flavors and sweeteners. 

Q: How big is the powder supplement market?  

The global powder dietary supplements market is currently valued at $35.9 billion and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 7.7%, to reach $75.2 billion by 2032.  

Q: What types of powder supplements are available?  

 The possibilities are endless. Here are a few: 

  • Pre & post workout powder manufacturing  
  • Collagen powder manufacturing  
  • Greens, superfoods & whole food blends  
  • Probiotic powder manufacturing  
  • Nutritional shake powders  
  • Plant-derived proteins   
  • Energy & performance enhancement powders  
  • Multivitamin powders  
  • Advanced fiber supplements  
  • Antioxidants  

Q: Are powder supplements regulated by authorities?  

Yes. the two major agencies responsible are the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. The applicable laws/regulations all dietary supplements, including powders, are the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, Current Good Manufacturing Practices, Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, Consumer Health Information for Better Nutrition Initiative of 2003, Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act of 2006, and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. 

References 

[1] Carnaby-Mann G, Crary M. Pill swallowing by adults with dysphagia. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Nov;131(11):970-5.  

[2] Powder Dietary Supplements Market. Fact.MR. Retrieved January 11, 2024 from https://www.factmr.com/report/48/powder-dietary-supplements-market. 

Kevin
Kumetz
Sr. Formulator Key Accounts

Kevin Kumetz, Senior Formulator at Vitaquest’s product development department, brings 5 years of R&D experience, including formulating the #1 top-selling Greens product in numerous retail outlets. A Montclair State University graduate in Science with a Sports Nutrition background, Kevin’s achievements include receiving two Vitaquest Proud Champion Awards. Serving as a liaison for Product Development, Kevin excels in developing strong relationships with customers, suppliers, and flavor houses. His commitment to excellence and innovation has made him a key contributor to Vitaquest’s ongoing success.

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