Experience and efficiency: Fast&Up’s parent firm sees growing interest from pharma sector for effervescent supplements

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Fast&Up specialises in effervescent tablet supplements.
Fast&Up specialises in effervescent tablet supplements.

Related tags Fast&Up Fullife Healthcare India effervescent

Health supplements in the form of effervescent tablets have a “better lifestyle association” and are receiving interest from pharmaceutical firms and health practitioners for an ability to contain a larger amount of active ingredients in one dose, says Mumbai-based Fullife Healthcare – the parent company of brands Fast&Up and Chicnutrix.

Fullife acquired Novelty Pharma GDD SA of Switzerland in 2011, giving it access to the Swiss Effervescent Technology, which is applied to nutraceuticals across Fast&Up and Chicnutrix.

In the past five years, the company’s effervescent tablets production had grown at a CAGR of 40 to 45 per cent, Snehal Shah, CEO of Fullife Healthcare Pvt Ltd told NutraIngredients-Asia ​in an interview.

While the rise of different dosage formats, such as gummies and powder sachets, has provided consumers with more options, Shah said that effervescent tablets could continue to stand out from the competition due to its “better lifestyle association” ​and by offering a “good experience.”

“In this day and age, consumers have plenty of choice. What we focus on is delivering a great experience in terms of effervescent nutrition products.

“Effervescent in our opinion, is giving more advantage than any other formats. Sometimes, flavours in gummies can cause irritation in the throat and that experience is a different experience than having an effervescent drink which is more sophisticated, which has a better lifestyle association and is hydrating.

“Ultimately, if consumers want to try a new format like gummy or mouth-dissolving strip, they might as well try, but we are sure that if they have a good experience with effervescent, they will come back to us.”

In 2012, the company launched its first set of effervescent products designed for the sports community under Fast&Up and is now a sponsor of athletes from the country's Women's Cricket Team. 

We started with sports and then we realised that effervescent tablets have many other benefits, because if you look at the international markets, effervescent is most popular in products like vitamin C, magnesium and so we gradually expanded our portfolio to become a full range,” ​said Shah.

Packs more nutrition in one single tablet

Asked how effervescent tablets can continue to bring new surprises to the market, Shah said that one of the ways would lie in the format’s ability in containing a larger dose of active ingredients than other formats.

“There are a lot of ways [to surprise the consumers], because there's a limitation to a lot of other formats, for example pills or capsules or even mouth-dissolving strips. Some of these have a limited amount of active ingredient that you can add into.

“Recently, we were working with a company that was selling a product for weight loss and they were asking consumers to take eight capsules a day. We converted that into one effervescent dose and their sales jumped 10 times in one month.”

He was referring to pharmaceutical firm Indoco Remedies which was selling the practitioner-only weight management nutraceutical product under the brand KG Low, which uses leucine, isoleucine, and valine as the key ingredients.

“If doctors believe in the science of the product and ingredient, the effervescent delivery format, then consumers have a greater faith on that format,” ​he said.

Other effervescence formulations that Fullife has created for pharmaceutical companies include 600mg of N-acetylcysteine paired with 40mg of vitamin C for respiratory and lung health.

This is especially important when asthma patients are unable to take in tablets or pills, he pointed out. 

“For people who have cough and cold and phlegm choked up in their pipe and a tablet or capsule sometimes cannot reach, but effervescent solutions can reach.

“These are some physiological advantages that even pharmaceutical industry can see, and the doctors can appreciate and that's why we always say that effervescence is a very scientific format of delivery that promotes quick action and faster absorption in the system.”

The company currently owns two manufacturing facilities, one of which is located at Khopoli, outside of Mumbai and the other located at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. 

Challenges

Common challenges with effervescent tablets include shelf-life stability – which is usually over a two-year period.

“For the stability to be maintained over a period of two years is the biggest challenge for effervescent products because they are by nature very sensitive to humidity and therefore, we are always under the challenge to have a good stable, robust formulation that can be sold in a hot and warm and tropical region like India,” ​said Shah.

This also means that the firm will need to work on product packaging to protect the contents.

In addition, when formulating herbal ingredients, such as curcumin, ginger, ashwagandha into effervescent tablets, the company would need to select extracts with good stability and bioavailability so that the product would remain effective throughout the shelf life, according to Shah.

Expanding into Europe: In a sweet spot

The company has introduced Fast&Up’s effervescent tablet products into Europe this year, which Shah said the firm was “in a sweet spot” ​in doing so as it could provide effervescent products made with Swiss technology using a lower production cost.

“These markets are currently under a little bit of economic stress because the energy costs in those markets have gone up tremendously, especially after the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Effervescent, being an energy intensive product, the cost in those countries have gone up and they are looking for every opportunity to reduce their cost and so we sort of fit into a sweet spot.

“We acquired European effervescent technology products with India’s economic advantages of production and India has a good reputation for supplying drug products in the world,” ​he said, adding that effervescence was already a well-established category in European markets.

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