One of the challenges a parent faces every day is providing their kids with healthy foods to eat. And, in this day and age of processed food, it takes more than the offering of a balanced diet to raise a physically healthy child. Modern food processing and farming practices can strip out nutrients, leaving kids vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies.

That said, a growing number of health professionals and parents are turning to dietary supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps. Quality supplements, in addition to a healthy diet, is an unbeatable combination for kids to get the nutrition they need to build strong bodies and prevent illness.

That said, most kids eating habits are predictable. As any parent will attest to, kids will eat only good tasting food. So, how in the world do you get kids to take supplements? No way is any kid going to swallow a tablet or capsule. For kid’s supplements, marketers are faced with the challenge of developing innovative delivery systems that will draw interest from parents, deliver efficacious doses and TASTE GOOD!

According to Nutrition Business Journal’s Healthy Kid’s Market Report: Dietary Supplements, the approximately $10.1 billion healthy children’s market was one of the hottest categories in 2009 and the Journal believes that there are still plenty of opportunities for new innovative products to be introduced to the market. And much of that innovation will be in desirable delivery systems for kids.

New kids supplements run the gamut from traditional multivitamin formulations to energy-drink replacements to probiotics. And they come in a wide range of delivery systems from gummies to chewables to chewing gum to fizzy tablets to drinks, among others. And the innovation will continue because the demand is there. Most every kid on the planet has a difficult time with swallowing pills. These alternative delivery systems make it easier for kids. But, the most innovative delivery system is useless unless the taste is there. I see this every day with my child. She currently takes a gummy multi and a chewable probiotic. And both taste great. As previously mentioned, the challenge and, ultimately, the cash cow, is creating a kid’s product that has that combination of innovative delivery, great taste, and will address specific nutritional needs for the child.

The cool thing about gummies is their bioavailability. Unlike pills, gummy vitamins don't have to spend as much time dissolving in the stomach before they're absorbed. Normally, when you ingest a capsule or tablet, your body must work for up to four hours digesting and absorbing the nutrients. During this prolonged breakdown process, a percentage of the nutritive value is lost. Additionally, many supplement products do not even break down as they contain harsh fillers and binders. They ultimately pass to the small intestine. When this occurs, there is no absorption of the vitamin whatsoever. This is one reason the bioavailability of pills and capsules are significantly lower than other delivery systems.

And for this reason alone, gummies make sense for many kids, mine included. A large and technologically impressive selection of delivery systems is currently available for kids. In the end, it will be your child that will choose the delivery system he or she likes. Today’s advanced delivery systems are extraordinary in their ability to enhance nutrient bioavailability, provide supplement versatility, and offer options to kids based on the child’s specific nutritional needs. For me, this is all well and good. But, in the end, will my kids be taking their vitamins every day. That is the challenge.