In line with its new, consumer-led, insights-driven Nutra 2.0 mission, “Connecting the dots: helping supplement makers be in sync with the consumer’s mind,” Lubrizol Life Science Health (LLS Health) developed plant-based, iron-fortified gummies. Consuming iron on a daily basis is difficult due to several challenges. LLS Health’s proprietary new LIPOFER delivery format overcomes these difficulties, and the company will introduce the vegan gummy prototype at Vitafoods Europe in Geneva, stand #D60.


Highly concentrated dose

LIPOFER is a microencapsulated source of iron with proven efficacy, designed to reduce iron’s reactivity while ensuring high bioavailability and minimizing side-effects. The highly concentrated, fortified gummy is a pectin-based that fills the consumer need for a daily iron benefit. It combines the vital nutrient and sweet indulgence in a single product.

“We were able to develop a fortified gummy that delivers a 10mg of elemental iron in a single dose—higher than most single supplement products in the market,” says Isabel Gómez, global marketing manager for LLS Health’s nutraceutical business. “Most iron-fortified gummies are able to contain only 3-5 mg iron per gummy due to the metallic off taste and other formulation challenges. With LIPOFER, consumers may take the full recommended daily dose in a single, flavorful, once-per-day product.”


Overcome metallic iron aftertaste

Traditionally, chewable iron supplements rely on iron salts such as ferrous fumarate. These often have an unpleasant metallic taste, hardened texture, unstable color, and can upset the stomach and cause constipation. The new LIPOFER gummy was specifically developed to overcome these negative issues. LLS Health’s cutting-edge microencapsulation technology protects the iron, ensuring it remains stable throughout the formulation and manufacturing process.

The iron pyrophosphate in LIPOFER is micronized to reduce the particle size and encapsulated in protective matrices to impart additional functionality, enable better absorption, and increase bioavailability. The result is an experience that is easy on digestion and minimizes side effects such as stomach upset.

“By enabling manufacturers to create high-quality iron-fortified supplements such as gummies, we are helping them tap into the growing demand for non-traditional dosage forms that appeal to a range of consumers. This reflects our new consumer-led mission to guide our customers through the consumer mind,” adds Gómez.

The technology also offers improved functional properties for formulators, including enhanced water dispersibility and reduced interactions with other active ingredients. “These technical advantages can enable formulators to develop more complex applications than other iron forms, resulting in lower overages and more stable products,” notes Alan Connolly, global R&D nutraceuticals manager for LLS Health’s nutraceutical business.

Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of LIPOFER products, underlining improved bioavailability and increased iron absorption compared to standard iron salts and other commercially medically prescribed products. The LIPOFER solution allows nutraceutical manufacturers to develop their formula including a microencapsulated iron, such as in a fruit-flavored, pectin-based gummy.

“Our encapsulation technology has been shown to be highly effective at eliminating issues with stability and organoleptic qualities, including unappealing metallic off-flavors, which can otherwise affect this on-trend and convenient supplement format,” says Connolly.

The pregnancy-minded woman

In recent consumer behavior research conducted by 113 industries, and using machine learning and AI, one of the target groups was “pregnancy-minded” women—women who are ready to conceive or already pregnant. The objective of the research was to gain deeper insights into the behavior associated with purchasing dietary supplements and based on conversations and activities on social media platforms. Analyzing the conversations show that they want to ensure conception, comfort during pregnancy, and safety for their baby. The top product mentioned was iron and the second was vitamin D. Their top three concerns were: experiencing side effects such as stomach upset, nausea or constipation; the need to ensure nutrient absorption; and enabling easy incorporation into the daily routine.

“Our strategy is to address pregnancy-minded women’s top concerns,” explains Gómez. “LIPOFER gummies readily demonstrate how the considerations from the left side of the consumer’s mind– the science side, so to speak – combine with the right side, which is focused more on the senses and the emotions. The consumer understands the science, which explains the health benefits, in this case, iron. They want to protect their babies and purchase a trusted brand without side effects. The format and presentation of the product, on the other hand, satisfy those non-science-based criteria that also must be met. Post-purchasing experiences influence consumer loyalty, a factor especially critical when it comes to iron supplements.”