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For softgel manufacturers and suppliers, the market is booming in the USA and right around the world. Increased customer interest is driving demand for these products, which is only expected to grow in the coming years. But, while a surging market is undoubtedly positive, it also brings its own challenges.

Softgel producers may find that demand outstrips their capabilities, and so they may turn to third-party partner entities like CDMOs as they strive to deliver high-quality products to the market. In turn, these CDMOs will need solutions and equipment that will help them to support their partners effectively. This is where low-cost yet highly-reliable solutions like softgel trays could make all the difference.

Understanding the CDMO Landscape

CDMOs have a significant role to play across a number of different industries. Standing for Contract Development and Manufacture Organizations, these CDMOs are third-party entities that enhance the capacity of the production company. Essentially, businesses enter into a contract with CDMOs, who provide assistance with the development and manufacture of a product. With the production power and resources of the original entity and the contracted partner combined, the journey to market is simplified and accelerated, and supply volumes are increased.

One of the main markets for CDMOs is pharmaceuticals, as well as health supplements and products aimed at supporting the wellbeing of the end user. In fact, it was the overarching healthcare market that thrust CDMOs into the spotlight in recent years, as standard manufacturers and developers were put under pressure by the sudden need to produce millions – or even billions – of vaccines across the world.

The standard pharmaceutical supply chain could not cope. They turned to CDMOs to fill the gap – these third-party entities offered their own resources and capabilities as they developed and produced vaccines on an enormous scale. This led to an enormously successful vaccine roll-out and the delivery of vital doses to individuals around the world. Now, as conventional manufacturers have largely caught up with vaccine demand, CDMOs are looking for other partnerships and opportunities for growth. This brings us to softgel manufacturers in the USA and elsewhere.

CDMOs and the Softgel Market

Softgel capsule suppliers and manufacturers have an increasingly big role to play, both here in the US and beyond. Customers are responding well to softgel products, and this method of medicine delivery is rapidly becoming the go-to for consumers in search of a better experience from their healthcare products. When compared to traditional pill- and liquid-form medicine, softgels taste better, are easier to swallow, and are more readily incorporated into daily life. There are medical benefits, too – including rapid delivery of active ingredients and increased bioavailability – all of which are helping to fuel demand.

As of 2021, the global market for softgel capsule manufacturers and suppliers was valued at US$7.62 billion. Between 2022 and 2030, this is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9% – demonstrating just how quickly demand is increasing for these products. The Asia Pacific region has been singled out as the area with the highest CAGR, but studies suggest that North America will continue to dominate the softgel market. As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passes approvals for a range of new and innovative products in this space, demand continues to climb.

While the growth in demand is not quite as dramatic as the demand growth for vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still stretching the capabilities of conventional manufacturers. CDMOs may find themselves working with softgel manufacturers in the USA and elsewhere as they seek to fill this demand.

The Role of Softgel Trays

In order to effectively meet the needs of a developing market, CDMOs must be able to deliver the right level of production and development capacity. This means adopting solutions that help to guarantee a certain level of capacity for their softgel capsule manufacturer partners.

Softgel trays are vital here. It is these trays that support effective drying and sealing for the capsule so that the products are ready for delivery to retailers and suppliers. In order to achieve the throughput and efficiency CDMOs need if they are to meet growth targets, they need to be working with trays of ultra-high quality. This is what CDMOs need to be aware of when they select the right tray.


CDMOs need softgel drying trays that match their budget. This means choosing trays that can be sourced inexpensively but will stand the test of time. If trays need to be replaced too quickly, this will erode the bottom line, so businesses need low-cost trays that are robust enough to do the job.

Logistics and Organization

When CDMOs work on softgel development and manufacturing projects, they need to be aware of the space they are operating within. Trays must be stackable to optimize storage or transit space without damaging the softgel capsules contained within.

Easy-to-Clean and Use

Shrinkage and wastage can really impact CDMO revenue, so steps must be taken to protect the softgel capsules during the drying process. This necessitates trays that are easy-clean – eliminating contamination from residue in the bottom of the tray – and also easy to use. Teams need to be able to remove capsules from the tray without an issue, so non-stick services are required.


Softgel drying trays are not standalone solutions. Instead, they need to work with existing equipment infrastructure, such as encapsulation machines and production conveyor belts. Integration is critical here, as the risk of wastage or damage to capsules is increased when softgels are transferred from one stage of the production process to the next.

Temperature Resistance

Trays will need to be able to resist high temperatures and keep their structural integrity even after repeated usage and washing. This means high-quality materials are required to keep trays in active service for longer.

Explore Softgel Tray Solutions from Chemtech

Here at Chemtech, we provide high-quality composite trays to softgel manufacturers, suppliers, and CDMO partners, across the USA. Browse our range and find the solutions you need, or reach out to the team today to discover more.