The power of partnerships – A trusted supply chain perspective

November 10, 2020

5 Min Read

Strong supply chain relationships from farm to shelf do more than build trust and confidence in products—they build trust and confidence in an entire industry. Today, trust and confidence have never been more important. The growth and integrity of a quality supplement industry that consumers can believe in requires robust and transparent supply chain commitments. Here’s a snapshot of the best practices, employed by global ingredient and manufacturing leader Sabinsa, that deliver the highest quality nutritional products and sales support.

Farmer to supplier

Sabinsa’s commitment to its farmers is in the company’s DNA. Founder Muhammed Majeed, Ph.D., a U.S.-educated industrial pharmacist and Pfizer veteran, is the son of an Indian farmer who died young. Fair treatment of farming families is core to the company’s mission. They contract with more than 6,000 farmers across India, working more than 40,000 acres. To help these farmers succeed, Sabinsa introduced new farming technologies, financed irrigation systems, championed sustainable, holistic agriculture methods and is a leader today in fighting botanical ingredient adulteration that jeopardizes those farmers’ livelihoods.

The company commits to paying farmers top dollar—no matter what the weather conditions or other challenges deliver. “We set a price at the beginning of the season and make sure they get paid, even if they have zero percent output,” says Shaheen Majeed, Muhammed’s son and the company’s worldwide president.

To support farming and rural communities, the company has built schools and roads to reach them and found teachers to staff them. For every Sabinsa water truck that goes to a farm, two go to the local village.

“The key to great ingredients is a reliable, quality supply chain, which is all about relationships,” says Muhammed Majeed. “Sabinsa is committed to creating a positive impact on farmers’ lives. This, in turn, guarantees a more dependable supply chain and raises the quality of life for everyone in the value chain—including consumers desiring natural, top quality products.”

Supplier to manufacturer

Selecting the right supplier is key to formulating with integrity. “Since the beginning, our mission at Jarrow Formulas has been to create science-backed formulations,” says Ara Soghomonian, senior director of marketing for the long-time Sabinsa partner. “A key component of our success comes from selecting the right ingredient supplier for formulation ingredients. Research, scientific data, and a like-minded philosophy are vital attributes that we seek in our key partnerships with ingredient suppliers.” [callout this quote. Attribution: ­– Ara Soghomonian, senior director of marketing, Jarrow Formulas]

True partnerships shine through challenges, because even in years when a global pandemic is not wreaking havoc on international supply chains, producing the highest quality supplements can be a roller coaster. Especially working with natural ingredients. Botanicals don’t always behave as expected. Just ask Darren Rude, president of Nutrawise, the manufacturer of youtheory supplements. Just weeks before the deadline for a massive order to Costco and Sam’s Club, Sabinsa’s Curcumin C3 Complex clogged up production lines. Fortunately, Sabinsa has been dealing with curcumin’s quirks for decades. The head of the company’s Utah facility swooped in and worked with Nutrawise to solve the problem. Sabinsa also helped Nutrawise through another manufacturing challenge. When manufacturing with turmeric, the naturally occurring potent yellow-orange pigment suddenly becomes a permanent reddish color on floors and walls if you try washing with water­­–maybe nice to look at, but not cGMP compliant. “So, we needed a wall for turmeric rooms that wouldn’t absorb water,” says Rude. “Within a few months, Sabinsa developed and tested three different walls and gave us the ones that worked best.”

“Sabinsa is our partner, not just a vendor.” – Darren Rude, President, Nutrawise


Manufacturer to retailer

Brands need to empower retail partners to educate consumers about the ingredients in their formulas. With Sabinsa ingredients, brands have a library of scientific studies to pull from. The company’s products have a collection of international certifications and awards to highlight. Nutrition Business Journal awarded the company its Supply Chain Transparency Award. Sabinsa’s parent company, Sami-Sabinsa Group Ltd., received The Economic Times’ Business Leaders 2019 Award for Most Trusted Nutraceutical Company.

The company welcomes brands to its farms, manufacturing facilities, and labs for first-hand examinations of its processes—and to create educational material that can be shared with retailers and consumers. “Education is key,” says Nutrawise’s Rude. “We do as much as we can with videos,” he says. Videos on the youtheory website feature the brand’s experts in the fields in India as well as in the lab, explaining why the ingredients are superior and how they work. These are powerful tools for showing retail staff how a brand stands apart when it comes to transparency and quality.

Manufacturer and retailer to consumer

Branded ingredients can be the Holy Grail in helping retailers convey manufacturer and ingredient stories to customers. More than 50% of consumers are concerned about where ingredients are sourced. They’re seeking transparency even more than in pre-COVID times. They want transparent sourcing. And science. Those same desires drove the evolution of Sabinsa as a company.

Muhammed Majeed launched Sabinsa as a generic pharmaceuticals company. But when a major fraud and corruption scandal halted operations at the FDA’s generic drugs division he switched gears. He turned to the plants that anchor India’s ancient healing tradition. He pioneered the introduction of 100 standardized botanical extracts, applying modern research methods to the world’s oldest healthcare system—Ayurveda.

In a move that revolutionized the turmeric supplement industry, he standardized the curcuminoids in turmeric to 95% using the three main active constituents in the plant and delivered an extract for the first time. With more than 80 research papers and 45 clinical studies published in peer-reviewed journals, Curcumin C3 Complex is the number 1 clinically researched curcumin brand in the world and the number 1 curcumin extract brand partner to universities and research centers. The company’s other branded ingredients, such as LactoSpore and DigeZyme, have similarly built stellar reputations among researchers and formulators.

Sharing the stories of these branded ingredients, and of the robust relationships up and down the supply chain critical to their production and quality, help build consumer confidence, essential to today’s market. “What it really comes down to is trust,” says Shaheen Majeed. “Trust between supplier and brand leads to extraordinary products that grow confidence—and loyalty—between brand and consumer.”

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