Austin, Texas and Chandler, Arizona
Nutritional supplement manufacturing
Even with a name like Gummi World, Monpara's company didn't anticipate how popular the pectin-based gummies it produces for clients would actually turn out to be.
After beginning in a 5,000-square-foot space in 2019, Gummi World quickly moved into a larger 30,000-square-foot facility in Tempe in 2020. Monpara, whose company also offered capsules and soft gel products back then, says, "It turns out that a lot of the customers that we were doing business with had a high-affinity towards gummy vitamins." He's not kidding: Soon after occupying its Tempe facility, the company needed to devote all of its production runs to handling a major order from a "very large customer."
Now, once again, Monpara says the company is ready to help one and all. In December 2022, Gummi World opened a new facility, just under 55,000-square-feet, in Chandler, Arizona. The facility is FDA-certified, cGMP, USDA organic, non-GMO, and allergen-free. Monpara says, "The entire facility has been completely designed for high-quality dietary supplement manufacturing." And the customers for its full-range of services -- from product formulation all the way through packaging -- include "eCommerce folks that are doing small business runs on Amazon and their own websites, all the way through multi-billion-dollar international companies that do business worldwide."
There are six production rooms in the new Chandler facility, only one of which was operational at the end of 2022. But once all the production rooms are being used around the clock, Monpara estimates output will run "north of 500 million gummies" every single month. Gummi World presently utilizes a 600-kilogram machine capable of cooking, molding, and demolding 600 kilograms of gummies per hour.
In addition to its production capacity, Monpara underlines the company's human resources. On its staff, Gummi World employs a food scientist, a pharmacist, and a doctor -- Monpara, himself. "I provide a very comprehensive oversight of all formulations that are exiting the R&D lab," says Monpara. "When you're creating products for consumers that are being labeled as healthcare products to help and aid someone's physiology or to counteract a pathology, there needs to be some level of oversight from a manufacturing standpoint."
Within its squishy, vegan-friendly format that utilizes pectin rather than animal-based gelatin, the team can incorporate vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances. "Magnesium supplements are very hard to find in a pectin formulation, but we're one of the companies that are able to do it successfully," says Monpara. The company also provides "custom formulations for hair, skin, and nails. We do adaptogen and nootropic gummies. So, that's a growing area of dietary supplements where mushrooms are being incorporated. A lot of high-fiber type products, low sugar."
Different formulations require different production requirements. Ingredients need to be vetted for usability. And shelf life has to be determined for each product. In terms of readying a product for market, Monpara says Gummi World bests competitors, who may need nine months. "It'll take four weeks to get the formula approved for commercialization," says Monpara of Gummi World's capacities. "And then it'll take probably another month or so after that to get it out the door."
Gummi World reportedly generates about $250 million in annual revenue. But that could expand exponentially as the number of employees increases from the 2022 year-end total of about 50. "We're looking at about 250 before the end of 2023. About 500 to 600 in 2024," says Monpara.
Given how Gummi World is an Austin, Texas-based company (under the aegis of the holding company Intiva Health), why choose to manufacture in Arizona? Monpara says, "The talent pool that we noticed in that area, when it came to dietary supplements, was much, much better than what we had seen in other parts of the country. And so, we made that investment there."
In terms of the wide world of gummies, Monpara sees big growth ahead for domestic manufacturing.
"Brands are coming back to the US for dietary supplement manufacturing -- whether it's due to regulations, [or] whether it's due to the high-quality product that we produce in the U.S. Or it's just what the customers want because they just associate made in the U.S. with premium quality," Monpara says.
Challenges: "The supply chain has still not completely fixed itself," says Monpara. "There's certain ingredients that we're waiting almost two months just to get into the facility." After the ingredients do arrive, samples need to be sent off for compliance testing, which can add more time to the equation.
Opportunities: "Being able to maximize our potential for growth," says Monpara. The doctor expects more OTC supplements, not just melatonin, to be incorporated into the gummy format -- something Gummi World has a unique position to fulfill. Monpara says, "There may be one or two companies in the entire country that are able to do that."
Needs: An additional production facility to manufacture gummies that would contain allergens. "We have a couple of clients that want to make collagen beauty gummies," says Monpara. But some sources of collagen may be derived from shellfish, which can't be brought into Gummi World's present allergen-free facility.