Packaging for nutraceuticals: Targeting safety and stability of active ingredients


01 Jun 2018 --- Bormioli Pharma is responding to the expanding nutraceutical market with an innovative packaging delivery system, AccuRec, that aims to minimize human error, ensure correct dosage levels, keep active ingredients stable and allow consumers to reconstitute oral supplements in a few steps. Nutraceutical ingredients typically require delivery systems that keep their active ingredients unchanged and safe and therefore bring a host of unique R&D challenges for packaging formulators.

“Innovative delivery systems are becoming more desirable in the nutraceutical sector, with companies wanting to distinguish themselves from the rest while ensuring maximum nutritional benefits are achieved,” says Elena Piazza, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Bormioli Pharma. 

Bormioli Pharma’s AccuRec is a “high-tech” packaging solution that offers precise reconstitution for oral products, including food supplements. The dual chamber system is said to guarantee safety while keeping the ingredient properties unchanged. According to Bormioli Pharma, the technology hits some of the key requirements for nutraceutical companies, including:

  • Guaranteed safety of use, with the ingredient properties remaining unchanged and stable.
  • System allows consumers to reconstitute oral food supplements in a few simple steps.
  • It is reusable, giving consumers the flexibility to take the reconstituted product at any time.
  • Oral food supplements using AccuRec retain their freshness as the ingredients are not pre-mixed but instead are mixed together immediately before consumption.

The concept of reconstitution is crucial to nutraceuticals. “The basic idea behind reconstitution is keeping active ingredients – typically lyophilized powder and solvent (often water, but occasionally another liquid) – separate until the moment of consumption. With traditional reconstitution, active ingredients are provided in a container, and the consumer adds the solvent themselves,” Anna Malori, Business Development Manager, Bormioli Pharma, tells NutritionInsight.

“Shortly before consumption, the active ingredients and solvent are mixed together to reconstitute the oral liquid product. This way, the lyophilized product maintains its stability and effectiveness over time, extending its shelf-life for prolonged storage.” 

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Key challenges in designing delivery systems for nutraceuticals
Regarding R&D processes to achieve safe and stable reconstitution, formulating packaging solutions is not without complications, Malori explains:

“Designing an effective system for reconstituting oral products means taking several factors into account. To ensure the protection of product formulation, we worked hard on the packaging system configuration and material choice.”

“For optimal ease of use, we studied how to minimize the number of steps needed to complete the reconstitution process. To be sure that the consumer correctly reconstitutes the product, we included some specific safety features in our packaging, such as a tamper-evident ring.”

Furthermore, another fundamental challenge included formulating a product that was not merely a transport packaging but a delivery system. “A transport packaging merely stores the product, whereas a delivery system has an active role in making the correct product administration possible. Alongside this, while developing packaging for nutraceuticals, you always need to prioritize maintaining the freshness of active ingredients as they are often plant-based. The need for easy-to-use packaging is, therefore, an increasingly important feature in this market.”

Previously, nutraceutical products were typically packaged in pouches, and in order to be reconstituted, consumers would have to open them up and mix them with water using a glass or bottle. However, “this operation could lead to errors in dosing and it is not very handy when you are not at home.”

The benefit that AccuRec offers is “more precise dosing and it is more user-friendly for the consumer. Everything the consumer needs to reconstitute the product is provided inside the packaging. Furthermore, as AccuRec provides the solvent inside the packaging, it allows for nutraceutical companies to have greater flexibility in product formulation, as they can decide to use a solvent different from water,” Malori adds.

The nutraceutical market
The most common distribution channel in Europe for dietary supplements is usually through pharmacy and the company states that AccuRec is perfect for nutraceutical firms that want to sell through this channel. Bormioli Pharma originally designed AccuRec as a pharmaceutical packaging solution, resulting in a delivery system that not only promotes the efficacy of nutrients but is safer and more reliable than mass-market products. 

The nutraceutical market is experiencing huge growth and with this growth come changing demands, for example, within packaging solutions that offer safety and consumer ease.

By Laxmi Haigh

This feature is provided by NutritionInsight's sister website, PackagingInsights.

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