As vice-president for marketing at Anlit, Shai Karlinski knows exactly what goes into making a successful food supplement for children. Above all, the producers should concentrate on the first half of the term. "You need to take it, and chew it, and feel the sweetness," explains Karlinski. "Your taste sense is operated, your smell sense is operated - it's actually food. And I think that, at the end of the day, it should give the consumer a good experience. They shouldn't just be swallowing the supplement, but actually enjoy it."
Founded in 1991, Anlit supplies a range of food supplements for children and adults that are now sold in over 20 countries around the world.
"The concept behind the company was that, at the time, food supplements were starting to become popular among adults, but there was little understanding about how to market or deliver them to children," explains Karlinski. "The solution was to give them a supplement in a form where they not only know they need to take it, but want to."
All of Anlit's products are produced without preservatives or artificial colouring; enjoy ISO, GMP and FSSC certification; and, with the company being based in Israel, are kosher and halal. One of its most popular lines has proved to be its VitaBites, smooth chocolate-like supplements containing a range of minerals and probiotics.
"The idea is that we fill in a blister with a mould - a matrix that's very similar in mouthfeel to chocolate," explains Karlinski, with the main difference being that Anlit does not use cocoa butter in the product line. "We use other ingredients to create a format that is very similar to chocolate, but has huge benefits in taste-masking."
One of the most popular products in the VitaBites line are the Probiotic and Prebiotic Fibers. Designed to help support normal bowel function in children, the supplement is sugar-free, uses no preservatives, artificial colourings or flavourings, and is packaged safely in individual blister packs. "The probiotic is, by far, our biggest product," adds Karlinski.
Another runaway success for Anlit has been its gummy products. "We took a well-known technology and we gave it a smart twist," explains Karlinski. Using pectin, a gelling agent derived from apples and citrus fruits, Anlit's gummy products come in a wide variety of formats, including those that deliver iron, calcium, and vitamins C and D. What's more, the company has gone to great lengths to improve its packaging process, over and above those of its competitors.
"We use a unique production process," says Karlinski. "Most gummy producers manufacture their products in what they call a 'dirty process', which means that they mould the figure in starch. This creates a lot of powder, so that when you go inside such a plant, you see that it's very dirty. Our system, by contrast, is very clean because our moulds are metal."
In recent years, Anlit has gradually begun marketing its products to adults, too. It has recently launched its high-DHA omega-3 supplement - moulded into the shape of a fish - for pregnant or breastfeeding women. The calculation behind this diversification is simple: adults prefer consuming food supplements as candy, just as children do.
"When you look at the probiotic segment, most of it is either in the format of capsules or tablets," says Karlinski, which gives many supplements the characteristics of medicine. In that sense, the taking of these products feels like an obligation. That perception, ultimately, is what Anlit wants to avoid with its supplements. "I think this is what makes our products stand out," says Karlinski.