Skip to content

Bottling wellness: manufacturing dietary supplements

Manufacturing dietary supplements can be a lucrative business, but it also has a lot of regulatory hoops you need to jump through. This article explores the world of food supplement manufacturing, allowing you to get the most out of it.

May 24, 2024
17 min read
Henry Kivimaa

Henry Kivimaa


Dietary supplements have become increasingly popular as more people seek ways to support their health and wellness goals. As a result, the supplement industry has seen consistent growth over the last decades, which is expected to continue. This has also fueled the demand for safe and effective high-quality products.

This article delves into the world of dietary supplement manufacturing, exploring the intricate process and the unique challenges manufacturers face in ensuring that their supplements meet the highest quality and safety standards.

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet and provide additional nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, or other substances. They come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, liquids, and bars.

Dietary supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet but rather to complement it. They are often marketed to address specific nutritional deficiencies or to support overall health and wellness.

It’s important to note that while some dietary supplements may provide health benefits, they are not regulated as rigorously as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their safety and efficacy may not be well established. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplements, especially if you have underlying health conditions, take medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The history of dietary supplements

The use of dietary supplements dates back thousands of years to traditional healing practices in various cultures around the world. For example, ancient Chinese and Indian medicine systems used herbs, roots, and other natural substances to treat various ailments and promote health.

In the Western world, the use of dietary supplements began to gain popularity in the 19th century with the discovery of vitamins and minerals. Scientists found that certain nutrients were essential for maintaining health and preventing deficiency diseases, such as scurvy, rickets, and goiter.

In the early 20th century, vitamin and mineral supplements became more widely available, and by the 1950s, they were a standard part of many people’s daily diets. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the use of dietary supplements really took off, with the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994.

DSHEA allowed dietary supplement manufacturers to make health claims on their products as long as they were not false or misleading. It established a regulatory framework for dietary supplements that is still in place today. Since then, the market for dietary supplements has continued to grow, with a wide range of products now available to consumers, from multivitamins and mineral supplements to herbal remedies and specialty products for specific health concerns.

What’s unique about manufacturing dietary supplements?

Half red half yellow capsules in a manufacturing facility

Manufacturing dietary supplements is unique in several ways compared to manufacturing other types of products. Let’s take a look at a few key aspects that make dietary supplement manufacturing unique.

Complex formulations

Many dietary supplements contain complex formulations of ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other natural substances. These ingredients may need to be sourced from different suppliers and may have different properties that require specific processing or handling methods.


The FDA regulates dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which sets requirements for labeling, manufacturing practices, and safety. Manufacturers must comply with these regulations to ensure their products are safe, effective, and accurately labeled.

Quality control

Manufacturers must follow strict quality control procedures throughout the manufacturing process to ensure that the ingredients used in dietary supplements are of high quality and purity. This may include testing the raw materials before use, verifying the identity and potency of the ingredients, and testing the finished product for purity and potency.

Customer expectations

Consumers of dietary supplements often have high expectations for the quality and efficacy of the products they purchase. This means that manufacturers must comply with regulations and ensure product quality and meet customer expectations for transparency, sustainability, and ethical sourcing practices.

Overall, manufacturing dietary supplements requires a careful balance of scientific expertise, regulatory compliance, and customer focus to make sure that products are safe, effective, and meet consumer expectations.

The process of manufacturing supplements

Dietary supplement manufacturing can vary depending on the exact product being produced, but let’s look at the general steps on how to manufacture supplements:

  1. Ingredient sourcing — The first step in manufacturing dietary supplements is to source raw materials, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other natural substances. These ingredients may be sourced from different suppliers and must be of high quality and purity.
  2. Testing — Once the raw materials have been sourced, they are typically tested to ensure that they meet the manufacturer’s specifications for purity, strength, and identity. Testing may include methods such as chromatography, spectroscopy, and microbiological analysis.
  3. Formulation — The next step is to formulate the product by combining the raw materials in the appropriate proportions. This may involve mixing powders, blending liquids, compressing tablets, or encapsulating.
  4. Manufacturing — After the formulation has been prepared, the product is manufactured using various processes, such as mixing, milling, granulation, and drying. The manufacturing process must comply with the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which ensure that the product is consistently high in quality and purity.
  5. Quality control — Throughout the manufacturing process, a production quality control checklist is followed to ensure that the product meets the manufacturer’s specifications and regulatory requirements. This may include testing the product for purity, potency, and identity.
  6. Packaging and labeling — Once the product has been manufactured and tested, it is packaged and labeled according to FDA regulations. The label must include information such as the product name, serving size, ingredient list, and any health claims that are made.
  7. Storage and distribution — Finally, the finished product is stored and distributed to retailers or directly to consumers. Storage conditions must be carefully controlled to ensure the stability and potency of the product.

Overall, manufacturing dietary supplements requires strict adherence to regulatory requirements, quality control procedures, and scientific expertise to ensure that the product is safe, effective, and of high quality.

Manufacturing dietary supplements and the FDA

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to establish Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements. Prior to the passage of DSHEA, dietary supplements were not subject to the same regulatory requirements as prescription drugs, and there were concerns about the quality and safety of these products.

DSHEA defined dietary supplements as a separate category of products from drugs and foods, and established a regulatory framework that required manufacturers to ensure that their products were safe, accurately labeled, and produced in accordance with GMPs. This meant that dietary supplement manufacturers had to follow specific requirements for manufacturing, testing, and quality control.

Specifically, the regulations require that:

  • Dietary supplements are labeled accurately with information on the product’s identity, purity, strength, and composition.
  • Manufacturers must have evidence that their products are safe for consumption and report any adverse events related to their products to the FDA.
  • Claims made on dietary supplement labels must be truthful and not misleading.
  • The FDA must review new dietary ingredients before being marketed, and the manufacturer must submit evidence that the ingredient is safe for consumption.
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) must be followed to ensure the quality and consistency of the product.
  • The FDA has the authority to take action against dietary supplement manufacturers who violate these regulations.

The FDA issued final GMP regulations for dietary supplements in 2007, which specify the minimum requirements for the manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and holding dietary supplements. These regulations require manufacturers to establish and follow written procedures for all manufacturing aspects, from sourcing raw materials to finished product testing and release.

Overall, DSHEA and the subsequent GMP regulations have helped to ensure that dietary supplements are produced with a high degree of quality and safety, and have helped to build consumer confidence in the dietary supplement industry.

Is supplement manufacturing profitable?

Supplement pills in a small bowl on a table next to coins and paper money

The dietary supplement industry can be highly profitable, worth around $149.50 billion in 2021 and estimated to reach approximately $241 billion by 2028.

There are a few reasons for the profitability of the supplement industry. First, dietary supplements are often marketed as a way to improve health and wellness, which resonates with many consumers willing to spend money on products that they believe enhance their overall well-being.

Second, the supplement industry is largely unregulated, which means that manufacturers have a lot of freedom to develop and market their products as they see fit. While the industry is subject to certain regulations and requirements, it is not subject to the same level of oversight as the pharmaceutical industry.

Finally, many dietary supplements are relatively inexpensive to produce, meaning that manufacturers can enjoy high-profit margins on their products.

However, it is worth noting that the profitability of the supplement industry has also attracted some companies that prioritize profit over quality or safety. This underscores the importance of careful research and consideration when choosing dietary supplements, as well as the need for ongoing regulation and oversight to ensure that the industry continues to operate in a responsible and ethical manner.

The future of manufacturing dietary supplements

Looking ahead, the manufacturing trends are changing, and these factors will likely shape the future of dietary supplement manufacturing as well. Scientific discoveries, changing consumer preferences, and evolving regulatory requirements will all play a role in determining the direction of the industry.

One trend that is likely to continue is the use of personalized nutrition. Consumers are increasingly interested in products tailored to their individual needs, and advances in testing and technology may make it easier for manufacturers to create customized formulations.

Innovation in delivery formats is also likely to continue, with manufacturers exploring new and innovative ways to make supplements more convenient, tasty, and appealing to consumers.

As environmental concerns continue to grow, there is likely to be an increased demand for supplements produced using sustainable and eco-friendly practices. This may require manufacturers to invest in new technologies and processes to minimize their environmental impact.

Advancements in manufacturing technology, such as automation and 3D printing, could also have an impact on the industry by improving efficiency and quality control.

Finally, as the regulatory landscape evolves, manufacturers may need to invest in additional testing and quality control measures to ensure that their products meet the latest requirements.

Overall, the future of dietary supplement manufacturing is likely to be characterized by ongoing innovation, increased personalization, and a continued focus on quality, safety, and sustainability.

Upgrade your supplement manufacturing business with Katana

Dietary supplement manufacturing requires a lot of precision. Relying on outdated systems or inefficient Excel spreadsheets isn’t going to cut it.

Katana is a cloud-based inventory software that can help dietary supplement producers streamline their operations and improve efficiency. Katana has many features perfect for supplement manufacturers, including:

  1. Live inventory management — Track your raw materials and finished goods in real time and set reorder points so you always know when a stock level is running low. This can help to prevent stockouts and minimize waste while improving the accuracy of inventory tracking.
  2. Batch tracking — Track the production of supplements from start to finish. With batch tracking, you can quickly identify which raw materials were used, which employees worked on them, and which machines were used in each batch. You can also assign expiry dates. This level of detail can be critical for supplement manufacturers, as it helps to ensure that each batch meets quality and safety standards.
  3. Production scheduling — Katana allows supplement manufacturers to create production schedules based on their available resources and production capacity. This can help manufacturers to optimize their production processes and ensure that they are meeting customer demand in a timely and efficient manner.
  4. Seamless integrations — Katana offers a ton of integrations with business platforms like QuickBooks Online, Shopify, Xero, BigCommerce, and many more. This lets manufacturers keep their data synced across multiple platforms while eliminating the need to manually transfer information from one platform to the other.

Katana is invaluable for dietary supplement manufacturers looking to improve efficiency and streamline operations. Request a demo today and see how Katana can simplify your business management.

Henry Kivimaa

Henry Kivimaa

Henry is an avid traveler with a passion for writing. Having lived most of his adult life abroad, he’s amassed a variety of experiences from many different fields. From ForEx trading to compliance to mobile engineering to demolition, he’s definitely not afraid to test out new things.

Table of contents

Get inventory trends, news, and tips every month

Get visibility over your sales and stock

Wave goodbye to uncertainty by using Katana Cloud Inventory for total inventory control