How new supplements are formulated


Sat, Jul 11, 2020

Formulating a new product, albeit interesting, is a time-demanding and challenging process. Many pieces need to come together before a new product can be signed-off on.

This is a quick and greatly simplified outline of the various stages a new formula has to go through before it ends up on a product shelf.

1. Idea

In order to begin the formulation process, we first need to have a product idea. That idea usually revolves around one of two things: a specific health outcome, or a certain compound/ingredient.

2. Research

We now have a product idea that we're feeling optimistic about — it's time to qualify that idea by answering the following questions.

  • Dosage - Based on the published and available data, what appears to be the ideal dosage?
  • Safety & Toxicology - Based on the published and available data, is the formula safe for oral consumption at the established dosage?
  • Effectiveness - Based on the published and available data, does the formula actually produce the intended benefit?

Each of these questions needs to have a satisfactory answer, and each answer needs to be qualified accordingly before we can proceed to the next stage. If the "minimum effective dose" seems unclear, the safety of the formula is in question, or the evidence for its effectiveness appears vague; the formula is immediately rejected.

3. Market

We have concluded that our formula and dosage are both safe and effective. Now it's time to assess whether or not there's a sufficiently large market. This is done by analyzing and evaluating the available sales volume and sales trend data.

4. Sourcing

We deem that the market demand is sufficient. Our next step is to determine whether or not we'll be able to remain competitive while still maintaining a profit margin. And so begins the slow and time-consuming process of negotiating the formula and encapsulation costs.

5. Manufacturing

Weeks, sometimes months have gone by, and we've finally settled on a formula and price. We're now ready to kick off the manufacturing stage, which usually takes another two months to complete at the very least (new formulas often take longer).

  • The materials have to be procured and subsequently analyzed in a laboratory.
  • The formula has to be encapsulated and subsequently analyzed in a laboratory.
  • Certifications have to be generated.
  • The bottles have to be labeled and prepared for shipping.

Although this process takes quite some time, it still works in our favor to some extent. As we wait for everything to be processed, we're given ample time to prepare the product listings, design the labels, and having the labels sent to the printers.

Only a few formulas make it to the manufacturing stage and even then, there's no guarantee that the product will be a success. In the end, the best we can do is formulate products that we ourselves want, in the hopes that others share our sentiments.