If you want something to be done correctly, sometimes the best plan is to do it yourself. That was the situation nearly 25 years ago when OptiPure, a U.S.-based supplier of Japanese-grown and -produced herbs and nutrients, realized a shortage of soft-gelatin capsule manufacturers was causing delays in producing innovative new supplements. Seeing an opportunity, OptiPure’s Tokyo-based parent company, Kenko Corporation, decided to launch Soft Gel Technologies, Inc. (SGTI) in 1994.
From the start SGTI’s approach to contract manufacturing set them apart. Not content to simply take production orders, the facility aimed to partner with supplement companies and to raise the bar on quality, integrity and innovation. As Brandon Nomura, product development manager at SGTI, puts it, “We help our clients make the best-quality, most efficacious products possible.” Steve Holtby, SGTI president and CEO, adds, “When you partner with Soft Gel Technologies, Inc., we can assist with research, real-time stability data and marketing resources. Think of us as a solutions provider.”
At the heart of SGTI’s mission is ingredient quality, potency and purity—a passion inherited from its parent and sister companies, suppliers of raw materials verified to contain purified, standardized extracts of active constituents. Beyond this solid foundation, SGTI monitors each batch made in its state-of-the-art facility during every step of the process in strict adherence with current Good Manufacturing Practices (certified by NSF, NPA, and UL). Rigorous testing by accredited third-party labs also accompanies its products. (SGTI has also earned registration in NSF International’s strict Certified for Sport program as well as a Health Canada Foreign Site License.)
“It’s our responsibility as a dietary supplement contract manufacturer to ensure our products contain the intended ingredients and are absent of contaminants,” says Holtby, “is achieved through a combination of extensive testing, thorough supplier qualification and ingredient traceability.”
Through years of experience, SGTI’s team has cultivated expertise in working with various third-party labs, going the extra mile to choose the best labs for specific analyses. A case in point, “We send all phospholipid products to a lab in Germany, Spectral Service, because they are the best at lipid analysis,” Nomura says.
Its commitment to investment in innovation and science has earned SGTI an inimitable specialty: producing unique formulations with nutrients that are difficult to encapsulate, fragile to work with or difficult to absorb. “We pride ourselves on our proven ability to make difficult products well in a variety of ways,” says Nomura.
For example, SGTI has developed proprietary technologies that enhance nutrient bioavailability and function in its soft gel products—the company has earned several U.S. patents for significant technological innovations in support of bioavailability.
With smooth capsules made of a water-based gelatin blend, soft gels must use a fat-soluble base to hold up well, Nomura explains. Thus, they’re ideal for fat-soluble nutrients like fish oil, flax oil, evening primrose and difficult-to-absorb CoQ10. SGTI also uses specialized processes to successfully encapsulate fat-soluble powdered ingredients. “There’s some enhanced absorption when you put these types of nutrients in a fat-soluble base,” he says. “They are more readily used by your body.”
Because U.S. consumers pay attention to science when buying supplements, SGTI collaborates with brands, investing in clinical studies conducted by third-party researchers on patented ingredients that perform well in soft gels. “We also create branded formulations, like our research-backed CoQ10 line, which our partners can use,” says Nomura. Clients often add synergistic ingredients to our exclusive brands to create custom turnkey products,” Holtby says. “In that way, our product list serves as a springboard to help our clients create products or line extensions that differentiate them from their competitors.”
Finally, SGTI also turns its penchant for innovation to lessening its facility’s environmental impact. For instance, it uses a co-generation machine to produce electricity with cleaner natural gas, and to harness excess heat to run other machinery.
Soft Gel Technologies, Inc.’s dedicated team, many of whom have worked for the company for more than a decade, are proud to work at a company that has remained consistently focused on quality, integrity and getting better at what they do. “We love what we do,” says Nomura. “We strive to understand what issues are most important to a prospective customer to achieve the best contract manufacturing relationship.” Holtby assures, “Customer care shapes every department; it is our highest priority to provide prompt and courteous service. We embrace corporate transparency through our meticulous quality assurance procedures, comprehensive QC testing and record keeping/documentation on all products for traceability purposes. We have emerged as industry leaders for our knowledge and expertise, as well as our willingness to educate our customers.”
Source: Soft Gel Technologies