As supplement distributors continue to create innovative ways to meet the demands of their consumers, considering other family members beyond the decision maker can open opportunities for new categories and segments for revenue growth.  A wide product scope for adult-focused supplements includes a variety of formulations and delivery systems in a broad range of product categories. Although the product categories tend to more limited for children, the sales of these supplements have soared and continue to do so.  In 2008, sales of targeted children’s supplements were estimated at $1.1 billion, with multivitamins making up the largest segment.  As sales are expected to increase 4% – 6% annually, supplement manufacturers continue to develop an assortment of new products to support the growing markets for nutraceutical distributors.

Many health experts stress a child’s primary nutrition should come from a balanced diet; however, factors such as allergies, parents’ busy schedules, or finicky appetites can prevent many children from doing so. Just as parents seek alternative ways to supplement necessary nutrients for optimal health, these same consumers seek to ensure their children’s supplemental needs are met.

Essential Vitamins for Children

For many years, general multivitamins have been the top supplement purchased for children. A multitude of formulations are available from supplement manufacturers – many manufacturers can help you develop a private label brand, as well as offer custom formulation services. When developing a new formula, or reviewing existing formulations, keep in mind some specific ingredients that promote overall wellness to best target this growing market.

Vitamin A, also known as a retinol, is essential for normal growth and development. It may support tissue and bone health, as well as promote strong skin, eye, and immune health.

Vitamin D is vital for bones and teeth health, and also works to absorb calcium. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics determined that children, birth to teen years, should double the initial recommended intake of vitamin D.

Calcium contributes to the development of strong bones during a child’s growth. It also plays an important part in promoting healthy teeth and muscles.

Omega-3 has been promoted as a beneficial supplement in adults for supporting joint, heart, and cognitive health; however, it has also been recognized by many studies for its multiple benefits in children. DHA, a main component of omega-3, may support healthy brain development for younger children. In a study conducted by the Durham County Council, it was found that students taking fish oil scored higher test results than those who did not. Other benefits can include support of a healthy immune system and vision development.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid our digestive system. Not only has it been a growing segment for adults, but also for kids. Commonly known for its contribution to optimal gut health, studies suggest giving probiotics to children may help regulate digestive heath. Benefits for probiotics have been mentioned in the mainstream media increasingly over the last few years, including on several popular daytime medical shows.  As exposure of the benefits grow, sales in this product segment will continue to increase.

Delivery Systems and Trends

Parents can have a hard time convincing children to eat healthy, let alone taking vitamins to supplement nutrients. Taking tablets can be intimidating and seem bothersome because of their texture and medicine-like aftertaste. Supplement manufacturers are now focusing on kid-friendly delivery systems that are easier to digest, more appealing, and available in a variety of flavors.  Chewables, soluable powders, liquids, and gummies are some innovative solutions of providing a unique, kid-friendly form, flavor, and texture.  Gummy vitamins have gained popularity among both children and adults, providing a convenient fundamental means of obtaining necessary nutrients. Also, gummy vitamins are easier to administer because of their fun appearance and sweet taste.  Because these vitamins can be reminiscent of candy, children can be encouraged to take their daily dosage without hesitation. This delivery system can be beneficial to both parent and child by the convenience and nutrient benefits they can offer. Some options available for this popular trend may also include sugar free, vegan, or organic forms.

Supplement packaging should also convey a kid-friendly message. Products targeted towards children are often bright and colorful. However, distributors should consider that they are selling to both children and parents, and should also include relevant information for parents on the label and package. Packaging should also be child-resistant, as many supplements may be confused for candy by a younger audience.

Ensuring children receive the recommended quantity of nutrients is a top priority of parents, and supplement distributors can increase their customer base by providing solutions to this profitable segment. Consumer demand has driven manufacturers to produce a broad spectrum of children’s gummy and chewable vitamins that can be easily incorporated into your existing product portfolio.  While finding the best supplements can be challenging, supplement manufacturers can help distributors obtain quality products that will meet their consumer needs while in turn increasing their bottom line.