How to find a nutraceutical ingredients supplier for my food supplement?

The ideal nutraceutical ingredients will serve as the building blocks of your food supplement project. The process of finding the ingredients that work best for your project is a complicated one, with several considerations to take into account.

  • What defines the perfect nutraceutical ingredient?
  • What makes such an ingredient successful?
  • Where do we find such an ingredient?
  • What do we look for in our nutraceutical ingredient supplier?

What are the key questions when considering sourcing nutraceutical ingredients?

Find the perfect ingredient

Depending on your project, whether you are a brand looking for an A – Z formulation, or a contract manufacturer looking for that key dietary supplement ingredient, your priorities may differ in the definition of a perfect ingredient but the main criteria remain the same: it is the ingredient that best fits your needs. Activ’Inside has asked its experts to compile a list of evaluation criteria for when you are selecting an ingredient for your food supplement project:

      • Will this ingredient meet the needs of my target customer?
      • Does this ingredient have proven health benefits in the area that I am targeting?
      • Does this ingredient carry any health claims or other strong marketing messages?
      • Is it in accordance with the regulations of the target market?
      • Will this ingredient integrate well into my formula?
      • Can this ingredient be adapted to my galenic form?
      • Where was this ingredient sourced?
      • How can I be sure of the quality of this ingredient?

Let Activ’inside’s expert guide you on how to succeed in your nutraceutical ingredient project

Find the perfect ingredient

What are the key success factors

in the choice of nutraceutical ingredients?

Find the perfect ingredient

Proven effect

Does this ingredient perform as advertised?
Consumers want a product that works with visible effects in an efficient manner. Efficacy backed by science and clinical studies that proves the ingredient’s effectiveness is an important element to consider when choosing the right ingredient for your project’s needs. An effective product not only builds trust between you and your customers but also prompts them to recommend your product within their social circle resulting in increased sales of your product.


What claims can be legally use on my packaging when marketing my nutraceutical supplement?
Nutraceutical ingredients that come with pending or validated health claims allow customers to quickly identify the beneficial effects of your product and the issues that it addresses.  Be aware, the use of these health claims is regulated depending on what countries and markets you plan on being present!
Aside from the claims that address the health benefits of your chosen ingredient you should consider ingredients with additional efficacity, geographic or other marketable claims. Efficacity claims rely on control group testing or surveys e.g.; ‘2 / 3 users satisfied with results’, geographical claims concern where your ingredient was made or sourced e.g; ‘Made in Fance’. Keep in mind that all claims must be backed up by data evidencing their veracity.


Will this nutraceutical ingredient bring a new or exciting element to my food supplement?
The science behind nutraceutical ingredients is a constantly evolving field with new and innovative ideas continuously in development. In considering innovative ingredients for your project, you open up the possibilities of meeting your needs in new and exciting ways. Innovative ingredients also serve as a way to set your product apart from those of your competitors, giving it an air of exclusivity in regard to its effects and components.
On the other hand, you may rather choose an ingredient that is well known for the effects that you desire, in certain cultures or traditions, lending your product an extra layer of credibility in the court of public opinion.

Galenic options

Is this nutraceutical ingredient compatible with my chosen galenic form?
Whether you have chosen gummies, capsules, soft tabs, sachets or syrups as your galenic form for your nutritional supplement project, this will have an impact on the ingredient you choose, as you will have to know whether or not it can be adapted to suit your needs. Considerations such as dose size needed for the ingredient to be effective, taste, solubility and grain size, as examples, need to be taken into account when choosing your nutraceutical ingredient so that you are not faced with technical difficulties further down the line.


Is the ingredient authorised under the regulations of my target market?
Regulations can differ from country to country, an important factor to take into account is whether the ingredient in question can be integrated into your product formulation and sold in all the markets in which you plan on being present, without breaking local regulations such as EFSA or FDA regulations.


Does this ingredient come with certifications that I can use in my marketing strategy and packaging?
As consumers are increasingly health conscious, they are selective in the products that they consume. Choosing a nutraceutical ingredient with internationally recognized certifications proves to your customers that you are willing to go that extra mile to ensure that your product is up to international food safety standards. Consumers look out for Non- GMO, Organic, Vegan, Halal and Kosher certifications along with international recognition certificates in regards to food safety standards.

Price per dose

Is this ingredient within my budget when broken down to price per unit or per dose?
When deliberating on an ingredient option and you see the price per kilo, you could be shocked into deciding on a different option, but what you need to consider is the price per dose. When you take into account that oftentimes the dose size is very small, the overall price may be much less shocking.

Shelf stability

Will my ingredient still be active for x amount of time after each step of production and having been shipped and displayed in the retailer?
You know that between the time of formulation, manufacturing, packaging, delivery and shelving, your product is going to need a certain duration of shelf stability (guaranteed period of time that your ingredient is active). Take this into account when choosing your nutraceutical ingredient, considering whether or not it will suitable with this subject in mind.

How can I find the right partner
for my dietary supplement ingredient?

Find the perfect ingredient

Quality control

Finding a nutraceutical ingredient supplier with strict quality control is an essential step. Such a company carries out significant analysis. How? By measuring the number of active molecules in the plant, and also by checking for contaminants. A reliable partner will provide you with a complete technical file containing the results of the characterization. Taking quality control a step further are the suppliers who subject their raw materials to adulteration testing and analysis, guaranteeing the quality of these base materials and the production of a higher quality ingredient overall. Keep in mind that although such in depth testing is useful to have, it is not strictly necessary.  Look for companies that follow HACCP guidelines as they refer to the internationally recognised procedure used to manage food safety and prevent hazards. ISO 22000/TSSC 22000 certificates are the international guarantee that a company adheres to a rigorous food safety management system reducing product call-backs and incident risk.


Where and how your supplier sources its raw materials are of the utmost importance to you in your decision-making process. You will want to ask, are these materials sourced locally? Ethically? Responsibly?  With respect for the environment? All these questions will have an impact on your decision as you want to be sure that your nutraceutical ingredient supplier has similar values to your own and also the answers to these questions will affect the claims that you can use in your product marketing.

CSR efforts

When choosing your supplier, its Corporate Social Responsibility policy should influence your decision. Society has become increasingly environmentally conscious and it will be of interest to your consumers that every link in your supply chain takes care of its responsibilities to reduce its environmental impact and carbon footprint. In addition to the environmental factor, over the last few years, a spotlight has been placed on discriminatory practices within companies, highlighting the social injustices people face in their places of work. Affiliation with a supplier who works to eliminate these issues is a step towards an impactful CSR strategy for your business.

Client support practices

The ideal nutraceutical ingredient supplier should be capable of providing a variety of scientific literature backing your ingredient at your request. This may come in the form of a technical file, specification sheet, clinical studies, ingredient analyses or any other variety of formats. These information packs are geared toward helping you understand your choice of dietary supplement ingredient and how to integrate it into a more complex formula. If you’re starting from scratch these same client supports will aid you in understanding how to build a formulation around it and combine it with other ingredients.
Reliability is an important factor to be taken into consideration, whether or not your supply partner will deliver your ingredient within the time agreed, will be able to meet follow-up supply orders and be available to you for any questions or queries you may have throughout your experience together.