Steps to Successful Product Formulation

The trade magazine,  Products Insider Successful Products in Six Steps”. the presentation focuses on the development of dietary supplement products, similar considerations are helpful for cosmetic and food products as well.

The steps were written for brand owners using contract manufacturers but also apply to companies doing in-house manufacturing.

The first step cited was to set finished product specifications. the parameters for identity, purity, strength, and composition for the product. require setting specifications to guide the manufacture of the product. have procedures in place to verify that the product is being manufactured to those specifications.

The slide show contemplates a scenario where the brand owner seeks help from the contract manufacturer’s formulator. manufacturer clearly states who owns the formula if you do use that service.

According to the NPI slides the minimum specifications include but are not limited to information to:

  1. Define the purpose or benefit of the product.
  2. Determine the form of the product — for supplements is it tablets, capsules, a powder? For cosmetics it is a gel, lotion or cream?
  3. Determine what ingredients will be used.
    1. I’d like to add that it is important to think about the availability of the ingredient and understand whether there are any seasonal pressures on the ingredient availability. supply during certain seasons, consider formulating with a mixture of the preferred ingredient and its best substitute to stretch the supply and avoid sourcing issues.
    2. It is also very important to write specifications for whether ingredient substitutions may be made. ingredients would be acceptable substitutions since these changes to the formulation can affect manufacturing, product quality as well as labeling and claims.
  4. Plan in advance which countries the product will be sold in and be aware of regulations or restrictions that affect which ingredients may be used.
  5. Determine whether some ingredients will be required or prohibited. Desired label claims such as ‘natural’, ‘low fat’, ‘vegetarian’ or ‘gluten free’. affect costs and may affect which manufacturers will be able to make your product. The claims that may appear on the final product label are determined by the formulation.

The complete slide show and all six steps can be viewed at

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