Sep 15, 2023

Contract manufacturers for dietary supplements - How to find manufacturers and what to look out for

Contract manufacturers for dietary supplements - How to find manufacturers and what to look out for

Contract manufacturing means that a producer manufactures and delivers a product on your behalf and according to your specifications.

We go into detail on the topic of contract manufacturing in this post. Worth reading!

This can be a great solution for small and medium sized businesses that want to produce nutritional supplements but don't have the resources or knowledge to produce the products themselves.

However, there are some things you should consider if you are interested in contract manufacturing.

In this article you will learn:

  • What is contract manufacturing?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of contract manufacturing
  • How do you find the right contract manufacturer for nutritional supplements?
  • Tips and tricks for working with a contract manufacturer

What is the difference between private label and whitelabel dietary supplements?

If you're interested in contract manufacturing, you may have heard the terms "private label" and "whitelabel." But what do these terms actually mean?

In fact, there is no "official" definition or distinction between the two terms. However, they are usually defined as follows:

Private label products are products that are produced by one manufacturer for another company and the company uses its own brand or label on the product. Here, the collaboration already starts with the recipe development. This means that this product exists only once in this form and is produced exclusively for the brand.

Whitelabel products are existing solutions, formulations or recipes that are simply given a different label or packaging. The contents of the product may therefore also be available from other brands.

The different dosage forms of dietary supplements:


Capsules are among the most popular dosage form of dietary supplements. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, because the development is much easier, because here you do not have to pay attention to the fact that the product tastes.

This means that you can concentrate almost exclusively on the active ingredients. Only anti-caking agents are often still necessary, but their share is negligible.

In addition, these are super simple in dosage and application. A distinction is made here between hard and soft capsules:

Hard capsules

Hard capsules are usually made of HPMS, a vegan cellulose material. These are available in various sizes depending on requirements.

Soft capsules

Soft capsules are suitable for all liquid contents such as fish oil.


Tablets are the classic in pharmacy, although they are also used in dietary supplements, but they are not so popular. Mainly because of the taste.

The most popular tablets are effervescent tablets, i.e. for dissolving in water.


Powder products are the easiest to manufacture. This is because they do not have to be specially filled into capsules or pressed into tablet form.

Also, there are very many packaging options here such as packers, brewing jars or doypacks.

The challenges here are always taste and solubility. Our tip: Shakes. In combination with plant drinks such as soy drinks or oat drinks, the solubility is improved and the taste can be better concealed.

Liquid products

Whether in ampoules or as a ready-to-drink product (such as yfood) - liquid products are the supreme discipline. Depending on the application, it is always a great challenge to combine function and taste in a meaningful way.

Functional Gummies or Vitamin Gummy Bears

Dietary supplements as fruit gums are still quite new, but are now already one of the fastest growing categories in the dietary supplements sector.

Here, too, the challenge lies in production. There are still not many manufacturers who are able to process functional ingredients into gummy bears.

Functional Gummies are so popular because many people have problems swallowing capsules or tablets. Gummies are the perfect and especially tasty alternative.

Differences between food and dietary supplements

What are the legal differences between food and dietary supplements?

The difference lies mainly in the regulations. If you want to put a food supplement on the market, the product is subject to the so-called food supplement regulation.

This means that there are strict guidelines and regulations that you must comply with. Both in the production and in the promotion of the product.

Different regulations apply to foodstuffs; the EU Food Information Regulation is authoritative here.

Product development: Here's what you should watch out for

From our experience, here are the most important steps in a new product development:

Ideation and Research

This part is often skipped, but it makes a lot of work. What is meant here is a market and competition analysis, as well as a target group analysis. Think about where and how you want to place your product and who your customers will be.

Concept & Prototyping

Design a concept of your product and try to get feedback from your target group as early as possible. Ideally, you already have a first prototype, such as samples or a small-scale production.

Production & Go To Market

Once the final formulation is in place, your product goes into contract manufacturing. We always take a "lean approach", i.e. we make the most sensible use of resources in order to achieve a "product market fit" as early as possible:

Product Market Fit

Means: Your product fits the market or your target group. You solve the problems of your customers, collect positive product reviews and your dietary supplement is reordered.  

What is the difference between contract manufacturing and contract filling?

Contract manufacturing is the generic term that covers both production and filling. As a rule, this is referred to as a full-service contract manufacturer.

Contract filling means that you have already produced your product and only need to fill it.

What does confection mean?

Packaging comprises all the steps required to prepare a product ready for shipment to your customers.

This includes, for example, packaging, printing or labeling of the products.