Finding your place in today’s trillion-dollar wellness industry can seem a bit like a treasure hunt. Even if you have a fabulous product in mind, finding the right mix of branding, ingredients, and the right manufacturer takes time and effort. That is especially true in the nootropics supplement industry – a nearly $5 billion niche health market focused on natural and synthetic products to improve cognitive function. The good news is that a nootropics manufacturer can do much of the work for you, or at least make sourcing quality ingredients easier!
We have come up with a step-by-step guide to finding the right manufacturer for your nootropic product. Whether you plan to produce a custom blend of herbs and protein sourced to specification or use a stock blend, a nootropics manufacturer can get the job done.
Step One: Choose Your Nootropics Manufacturer Path
Getting your supplement produced, packaged, and ready for market begins with knowing your ingredients. Common nootropics like L-theanine (an amino acid used to boost creativity and promote calm) and caffeine are easily sourced. Or perhaps you need access to less-easily sourced ingredients, like piperine – an ingredient derived from black pepper credited with improving brain health and other benefits. Your ingredients (and your budget) will determine your manufacturing path.
Private Label Manufacturing
Private label, or white label, manufacturing is generally the easiest and most cost-effective nootropics manufacturer to use. Your manufacturer will use formulas already in stock to build your product instead of using specially-sourced ingredients. When you are satisfied with the product, you will simply add your own brand and label. And because you aren’t sourcing ingredients yourself or going through a months-long formula testing process, you can put some extra money and time into branding and marketing to make your product really stand out.
Semi-custom manufacturing is a nice middle ground for brands that want to customize a health supplement but don’t want to start from scratch. This option allows you to customize the scent, color, or flavor of your product, but use a stock formula for your base. For example, perhaps you want to use a stock formula for a nootropic mushroom coffee blend, but add a unique taste your customers will enjoy. Going with a semi-custom nootropics manufacturer may also allow you to combine a stock formula with specially-sourced ingredients to create a brand-new product.
Custom Formula Manufacturing
Custom formula manufacturing requires sourcing of ingredients and using them to create a unique formula that meets your specifications. Your nootropics manufacturer will assign a chemist to work with you to create your product from start to finish, giving you a truly custom formula that no other brand offers. Just be sure to read the small print of your contract to make sure you will own your formula and it doesn’t become the property of the manufacturer.
Step Two: Make A List of Potential Manufacturers
Choosing a nootropics manufacturer doesn’t have to be exhausting – but it does take effort. We encourage you to check out our extensive list of nootropics manufacturers for up-to-date recommendations of US manufacturers by specialty (custom, semi-custom, or private label).
Once you have a few possibilities in mind, it is time to contact those companies and start asking questions. Three key questions to keep in mind when you are reviewing your options are a manufacturer’s specialty, minimum order quantity (MOQ), and turnaround time on your order.
First, you will want to know if a nootropics manufacturer is skilled at producing the kind of product you want. Whether you are going private label or custom, it’s important to find a manufacturer who specializes in what you want for your brand and your customers. Ask to see the manufacturer’s catalog of stock formulas so you will know that they have what you need. A custom manufacturer who has worked with nootropics before will probably have already done the legwork on common ingredients and either have them in stock or know the best place to source them. Also, a nootropics manufacturer used to working on custom orders may be able to help you obtain ingredients from their own client list, helping you get to market faster.
Minimum Order Requirements
Once you have narrowed down a list of manufacturers, you will want to see if they require a minimum order. Not looking for more than a few hundred units the first time around? You will want to know if a nootropics manufacturer has a high MOQ before you sign your manufacturing contract so you aren’t left with inventory you don’t need. It’s also important to keep in mind that customer manufacturers tend to have higher MOQs due to the time and money they invest in supplying chemists and a quality assurance team for your project.
When do you need to get to market? If you have investors, or an existing retail contract, your partners may expect you to get to market by an agreed-upon date. The last thing you need on a deadline is to have your order held up by a nootropics manufacturer that may not be able to source your ingredients (or otherwise struggles to meet deadline). It’s a good idea to check on a manufacturer’s reputation so you can make sure that the job will get done on time.
Step Three: Look at the Legalities
Manufacturing a health supplement is exciting, but it is also a big responsibility. You will want to make sure that your finished product is safe. You’ll also need to avoid making any medical or health claims.
Keep in mind that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulatory authority over dietary supplements even if the agency doesn’t treat them like prescription drugs. Per the FDA: “Dietary supplements are not approved by the government for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.” For that reason, the FDA will (and has) taken action against supplements that are found to be unsafe or misbranded once they reach the shelves or are sold online. So it’s important to make sure you have a quality product from the start.
Make sure that you choose a manufacturer certified in FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for auditing, testing, and quality control to ensure that the product is safe and ready to sell. Manufacturers may also use third-party laboratories to ensure product quality and safety.
Below are a couple of top US certification standards to keep in mind as you search for a nootropics manufacturing partner.
The gold standard in the supplements industry is approval from the dietary supplement verification program US Pharmacopeia, which offers GMP auditing, testing, and quality control for supplements entering the market. An independent, scientific nonprofit conducts USP verification to help supplement manufacturers meet FDA good practices and USP practices for dietary supplements. Products that pass oversight earn a “USP Verified” seal coveted among top brands like Nature Made and Nature’s Bounty.
Like USP, NSF International is an independent organization that works to ensure what’s actually in a dietary supplement product matches what’s on the product label. NSF also tests for contaminants in a product and conducts GMP facility inspections. Because the NSF mark is respected in the nutritional products and OTC industries, it will reassure you and your customers that extra care was taken in each step of the formula manufacturing process.
Legal Issues to Consider
Other legal issues to consider as you move ahead with plans to bring your nootropics supplement to market are ensuring that you retain the rights to your product, having the right insurance coverage, and the proper licensing:
Semi-custom and custom nootropic products (especially) often require trademark and patent protections to ensure that you hold legal ownership of your proprietary blend. Make sure that your manufacturing contract states that you have legal rights to your formula. Ownership will give you control over how your supplement is produced and marketed in the future.
Make sure that you have the right corporate insurance plan to protect you and your business at every stage. Common coverage in the nootropics industry will cover your liability, property, inventory, and equipment costs.
There are costs and requirements involved in obtaining certifications. Those costs can increase with each certification you add to your label – including being certified gluten free or USDA organic. Finding a nootropics manufacturer who already has the certifications you want to feature on your product will make the process much easier.
The nootropics market is a super-competitive sector expected to grow to nearly $7 billion in 2026 as consumers clamor for products to benefit cognitive function. Knowing what questions to ask a nootropics manufacturer (and knowing the legalities involved) is part of making your nootropics brand a success. This guide is a starting point for your journey.
Once you’ve picked a nootropics manufacturer, Crème de Mint can help you develop branding and packaging that stands out on the shelf. Ready to get started? Let’s talk!