The final Food Supplement Special Interest Group meeting of 2017, focussed on different aspects to consider when developing food supplements as liquid formulations.

The scene was set in the morning by Janet Worrell (consult2deliver limited) with a look at the heritage of the original liquid food supplement, cod liver oil and presenting some data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (NDNS RP) focusing on Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Sugar drinks (All can be supplied as liquids with associated trends).

Dr Andrew Rosenthal (University of Nottingham) shared with us his views on oral processing and swallowing, introducing the audience to dysphagia and the 0-4 scale of viscosity of foods. He challenged us with ‘when does a semi solid food become a liquid?’ The presentation covered a 3-phase process of swallowing as well as the factors and mechanisms associated with swallowing.

Jenny Walsh (Jenny Walsh Consulting Ltd) gave a good all-round presentation on the formulation considerations for liquid food supplements covering design, quality, packaging and end user acceptability of a liquid product. Key drivers for liquid products are ease of swallowing and potentially fast absorption.

The final session before the break was a regulatory view of the challenge formulating a supplement for infants and young children, considering EU Regulation 1333/2008 on food additives, in particular Food Additives. This was written by Nick Bennett (Brunel Healthcare) but presented by Janet Worrell. Currently there are no ‘approved’ additives in this Annex/Age group but products currently sold. A red/amber/green list of potential additives is out for consultation (it is not a long list). An interesting comparison made to a medicinal product in the same population was discussed.

The networking break, permitted a good exchange of views, giving the next speaker plenty of time to prepare samples for the audience to try. Paul Symons from Fresenius Kabi gave an introduction to Dysphagia. Dysphagia is a term used to describe anyone who has difficulty in swallowing. Often present but not exclusively in the elderly. This talk gave an insight to the condition and why thickened liquids assist people in being able to swallow with ease, enjoying hot and cold drinks. Paul was able to share a fizzy thickened Sprite with the audience.

Developing a product is only part of the commercial process, often companies fail to understand the market they wish to target and lack the consumer insights. Kristin Brown (ADD-Vance Consulting Ltd), gave an excellent overview of current market trends and her insight as to the who/why someone would want to consider liquids as formulation of choice. Whilst the >55years dominate this category, note should be taken of the 16-30s who are seeking on the go formats and fast solutions.

The morning was wrapped up with an SME perspective on liquid supplements from Derby based Nutrivitality, who have launched three liquid food supplements in a sachet form in 2017. This was based on an original family insight on nutritional deficiency and how the body craves what it does not have. Together with the desire to provide a unique product, based on uniform liposomal technology to aid fast absorption, Nutrivitality took three years to develop their products in this space. Feedback from consumers has been excellent with the company keen to build a range based on good science.