With people living longer, there's a greater need to take additional vitamins and nutritional supplements in order to maintain good health well into old age. Nick Bennett, head of product development, discusses how Brunel Healthcare is helping all generations maintain healthy lifestyles and plan for the future.
Life expectancy has been rising consistently and, for many citizens, reaching your eighties is now much more an expectation than a hope. With such longevity to consider, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has never been more important. It's a notion that's resonating with the customers of Brunel Healthcare, a leading supplier of vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements.
"The greatest growth in the market is around products for the older consumer," says Nick Bennett, head of product development. "With the average life expectancy steadily increasing, there are more people living longer and wanting to help maintain their own good health so that they can get more life out of their years. A range of products are needed to support this section of the population, so there is a lot of potential still in this sector."
Even health-conscious young people are taking greater precautions to give themselves the best chance of enjoying their retirement, taking a variety of daily supplements to keep healthy. With the number of people relying on multiple nutrients steadily increasing, manufacturers are now moving towards packs that contain multiple products.
"Some markets are looking for different products delivered in double or triple packs, such as a tablet and soft gelatin capsule, while other markets are looking for all-in-one formulations," says Bennett.
"Our specialism in the food supplement area gives us the knowledge to support our customers at whatever level is most suitable, from making suggestions to maximise product benefits to putting together complete ranges that meet specific market needs."
As a leading innovator, Brunel continually releases new products. Some of the latest areas of focus have been in vision support, weight management and beauty - all identified as growth markets. This innovative process is made easier thanks to Brunel's strong partnerships with many raw material manufacturers, which can provide a pipeline for well- researched, approved products to get out into the market.
"Having spent most of our history understanding powders - the way they flow, blend and compress - we have spent the past few months understanding the way oils behave and the structure of gelatin," says Bennett. "This is moving us to a point where we will start manufacturing oil-based soft gelatin capsules around the middle of 2015. Through an active programme of innovation, we will add this new technology to our manufacturing capability, which will greatly enhance our ability to meet our customers' requirements, particularly with the popular omega categories."
As the number of supplements hitting the market soars, industry bodies have to ensure regulation is modernised and able to cope with new challenges. The latest European Union recommendation came in the form of its Food Information Regulation, which requires all products to be relabelled in order to comply with a specified minimum font size and a new layout for ingredients lists. With more than 1,200 different products in its portfolio, meeting the deadline presented something of a challenge for Brunel Healthcare.
"We successfully managed it through a combination of good planning and a clear understanding of the regulatory requirements," says Bennett. "The food supplement industry is more tightly regulated within Europe now than it ever has been before. Companies, like Brunel, that are closely involved with the technical detail of developing regulations will prosper, while others will inevitably fail to keep up with the complex web of regulations.
"As a result of the regulatory network, in which we play an active part, we are able to plan ahead and advise not only what can be done now but also how the current situation may be changing in the future. We always balance the needs of the consumer with those of the regulations to create high-quality products that meet customer requirements."
The industry's regulatory outlook may be subject to change, but Brunel is well positioned to navigate any adjustments, meaning Bennett and his team can continue to focus on helping customers secure their own long-term future.