Retailers have not only helped to raise the bar on quality in the supplement industry—they have also helped to drive innovation.
So when it comes to bringing new products in, it's critical to think about all factors, from innovation to integrity, Alan Lewis, director of special projects at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, explains. “[A new product has] to be different enough to kick out a longstanding product with a known track record. If it’s safe and it works, the question is, ‘will it sell better than what is being replaced?’ The best pitches come with solid sales figures that lessen the risk of change,” he says.
While the key is to work with quality, trustworthy brands with full oversight of manufacturing standards, for natural products retailers, these standards are simply a starting point to further investigate manufacturing processes, authenticity and ingredient quality.
Here are some questions to get the conversation started:
- What certificates of authenticity and origin of ingredient documents do you have?
- What is your company’s ethos? Or as Abraham Nabors of Mustard Seed Market & Café says, “What problems are you trying to solve as a company? That will sort out the innovators from the ‘me too’ companies pretty quickly.”
- What’s your target market?
- How do you see your products fitting into a mix compared to your competitors?
- What standards do you have for sourcing?
- How do you test your raw materials?
- Do you manufacture your own supplements or do you have another company manufacture for you?
- If another company manufactures for you, how do you determine that they are performing up to expectation?
- Have you studied the results from your finished products? If so, where are your data studies?
For more on vetting and merchandising quality supplements, and expert advice from retailers including Pharmaca, Vitamin Cottage and Cambridge Naturals, download the Inside the Bottle eGuide below.