Non-GMO, Gluten Free, GMP manufacturing—these are the new terms that health-conscious consumers are gravitating towards. These products include food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and even clothing. The modern supply chain has been transformed into a mostly-transparent delivery system where brands are no communicating directly with consumers. FDA regulations pose a reasonably robust line to be walked when brands mention benefits of their products for health purposes, but there’s a lot of leeway for advertising quality.
Quality Products & Direct Sales
The business model of years past segregated the buying process into many different parties. There was the raw material provider, the exporter, the importer, the warehouser, the manufacturer, the packager, the other warehouser, the wholesaler, the retailer, the marketer, and finally the consumer. Each party in this equation added a markup and complication. With the availability of modern infastructure lots of these stages have been removed in many markets. Lots of wholesalers are now manufacturers, and sell directly to consumers from their websites. This new sales model has been pioneered most notably by prescription eyeglasses brand Warby Parker. Not at all to say they deserve all the credit, but they were one of the first of these nimble new brands to succeed so exponentially.
Supplement & Nutrition Products
If you take supplements for health concerns or have any nutritional needs not met by food, you understand how integrated these products can become in daily life. You eat, you take supplements; you go to the gym, you take supplements; you want to relax before bed, you take supplements. The consumption of these products adds up to a considerable total throughout the day, and cheap products can fill ones’ body with toxic materials such as heavy metals, pesticides, and bacteria. Now, before you sound the alarm realize this isn’t an issue with most products. The FDA has a set of guidelines it refers to as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This series of regulations encompasses much of the manufacturing industry, but has a specific scope governing the dietary supplement market as well. Manufacturers that are certified as GMP compliant offer consumers a unique assertion of product quality that isn’t available in many other industries. Some of the more notable supplement brands that are GMP certified are Isotrope, Thorne Research, Pure Encapsulations, and Biotics Research. These brands are trusted by health practitioners around the world to provide clinical-grade quality and potent efficacy.
This new surge in demand for high quality natural products has flooded the market for 3rd party certifications with demand. The NSF is regarded as the authority for GMP certification and works with manufacturers to help secure the safety of their entire process. Other notable agencies such as the Project Non-GMO help consumers avoid GMO ingredients when possible. Consumers have historically relied on manufacturers to be open and honest about their products. It is perfectly legal to sell a supplement that you’ve made in your garage with rice flour that you bought of the internet from a Chinese seller you’ve never met. The FDA doesn’t require that you beforehand have your manufacturing process audited, though you’ll run into them eventually. This is great as far a flexibility goes, but horrible for persevering marketplace sanitation. Still, consumers are the only ones to blame for supporting these types of companies—and they hold the power to support only quality brands and pure products with their money. This type of informed decision can be done by first researching your supplement products quality reputation. Site like LabDoor.com offer publicly-available testing data for some products, though their ratings system is a bit off-putting. For example, they score a product as having low efficacy if the recommended serving size isn’t the full RDA. Still though, they repreesnt a data-driven model of transparency and quality assurance that is meeting an ever-growing demand.
Consumers are demanding higher quality products. Manufacturers that resist meeting this demand are slowing seeing sharper teeth among their competitors that formerly represented little threat. Third party certification agencies such as the NSF and Project Non-GMO are working hard to meet a growing demand to help these quality control focused brands communicate their dedication better to customers. Dietary supplements and food items are regulated by the FDA to ensure product safety, but most of the power of the FDA is exerted only after these products hit the shelves. There is a real threat of cavalier startups to bring dangerous and toxic products to market and only be caught after damage is done. They get penalized, some get sued, some may even go to jail—but the damage still gets done. To avoid such tom-foolery, audit your products deeply, ensure your only buying from the best brands such as Istotrope, Pure Encapsulations, and the other mentioned above, and demand to see third-party testing results. With the growing demand in consumer demand for quality, for every brand that doesn’t change, there will be three new ones that come after their lunches.