In a nutshell, there is only one answer to this: Create products that work.
The supplements market is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in the world today. With increasing lifestyle and environmental stresses needing to be overcome, consumers are being turned onto the power of nature. They are actively seeking to avoid adding foreign chemicals or synthesised ingredients to a human system already under threat.
Medical aid and healthcare companies are also increasingly looking at preventative medicines and measures. They are recognising that prevention is better than cure. It is a totally viable means to curtail spiralling claims and costs and adding to their actuaries’ headaches in getting their pricing models right.
So, why is the supplements market under constant scrutiny and threat and why do consumers jump from brand to brand – regularly?
This is a complex question with many answers. This article isn’t going to even attempt to provide all the solutions but it will look at focusing on a couple of key potential answers that we hope will get you to think in a different way.
Marketing spend vs Ingredient spend
Have you ever considered the percentage capital expenditure on the ingredients that go into your product in comparison to how much budget goes into the company’s marketing budget? The launch of the product you are putting out to market is one thing, but if the product does not actually do the job it was designed or purports to do, then the constant communication and persuasion you need to continue to convince your customers to keep on buying your product exponentially escalates.
You might even find that your current solution is to launch another new and ‘improved’ product, thereby starting the cycle all over again.
In numerous and on-going blind studies of supplements retailed in a number of different markets around the world, it has been found that the so-called ‘active’ ingredients are nil-detectable or at best, barely discernable in 9 out of 10 products. No wonder then, that consumers are growing cynical of claims and new labelling laws are being introduced.
Wouldn’t it be better to reverse these roles and actually include the correct amount/quantity of the active ingredient in the product from the start? That way, because the product actually works, you might even find that the consumers will naturally return to purchasing your product, recommending it to their peers, families and anyone who will listen – thanks to social media. This may even lead to a reduction in the marketing budget and an overall growth in brand loyalty and bottom line profits – your business aim, whether as a manufacturer or retailer.
The supplements market has the true potential to eclipse the allopathic medicines sector. This isn’t happening as the ‘extracts’ market and the contract manufacturing industry are fraught with inferior ingredients, often processed using chemicals and harmful heat. The result – a denaturing of the base ingredient. This naturally affects the potency, and of course, renders the final product, ineffectual and needing to rely on the ‘story’ of its marketing campaign.
Secondly, there appears to be a gap in the knowledge chain when it comes to natural plant extracts and their active molecules. We still find pharmacists and buyers ordering on a ratio system. A ratio of what we ask? The answer is to look at the whole and more specifically the purities and the yields.
Another factor to take into consideration is the fact that the yield and potency of the active ingredients of plant extracts vary from crop to crop and time to time. They are ‘natural’ and are influenced by climatic and environmental changes – all of the time. This brings into question the issuing of Certificate of Analysis (COAs), and the supplied ingredients not living up to the stated findings. To truly measure the actives, the plant material should be tested prior to being processed and extracted and then post processing, measurements should be standardised using Mass Spectrometry or HPLC.
Happy customers = sales = profits = sustainability.
Unless the industry itself – suppliers, manufacturers and the retailers – start moving in a direction of sourcing proper extracts and putting in the correct quantities, then consumers are going to remain unsatisfied, and chop and change.
Be the change. Make the difference. See our industry ethics page and order your extracts today.