Regenerative organic practices drive innovation in dietary supplements – article

A commitment to sustainable and organic practices pays off as Ancient Nutrition introduces the first Regenerative Organic Certified® line of multi-ingredient dietary formulations.

July 6, 2022

7 Min Read
Regenerative organic practices drive innovation in dietary supplements – article

Innovation in dietary supplements is often driven by the introduction of new ingredients and breakthroughs in formulations. Some categories see innovation more readily than others. When it comes to the $2.0 billion organic dietary supplements market—the latest number reported by the Organic Trade Association—innovation can be stymied by availability of ingredients. This is even more the case in the newly burgeoning Regenerative Organic Certified® marketplace, where multi-ingredient dietary supplements have simply not existed—until now. The reasoning in part, is that regenerative organic agricultural practices aren’t something a brand can pull off overnight. Until now, it’s been easier for a brand to serve up a single ingredient supplement product, but for multi-ingredient, encapsulated supplements, a brand has to have been invested in organic long enough to transition to Regenerative Organic Certified®. And then, it has to invest in regenerative organic practices long enough to be assured of a steady supply chain to sustain a multi-ingredient Regenerative Organic Certified® product.

Ancient Nutrition sits in the unique position of having prioritized organic from its inception in 2016, making it a pillar of the company’s sustainability goals. This has made it possible for the brand to lean hard into regenerative organic practices across the company’s 4,000-plus acres of farmland in Tennessee and Missouri. And this is why the brand is now in a position to lead the way in launching Regenerative Organic Certified® dietary supplements. The brand is on track to launch between 14 and 20 Regenerative Organic Certified® supplement formulations this fall, with an eye to creating a line with as many as 100 Regenerative Organic Certified® SKUs.

“Prior to this, there was no framework or regulations for launching encapsulated, tabulated or multi-ingredient powders that are Regenerative Organic Certified®. This is the first Regenerative Organic Certified® line of dietary supplement formulations and these are the first Regenerative Organic Certified® dietary supplements available in a tablet or capsule format. It’s definitely groundbreaking,” says Ancient Nutrition CEO and founder Jordan Rubin.


Growing a Regenerative Organic Certified® Supply Chain

The Regenerative Organic Certified® standard is led by the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA). In order to receive this certification, a product or ingredient has to be USDA certified organic to start. And from here, Regenerative Organic Certified® encompasses essential criteria and benchmarks for soil health, animal welfare and social fairness. In addition to being certified organic and Regenerative Organic Certified®, Ancient Nutrition’s new formulations are also certified Non-GMO. These three certifications have driven the brand to focus on three criteria. “The three criteria that we focus on for triple certification are as follows: firstly 95% of the active ingredients must be Regenerative Organic Certified®; secondly, 95% of all ingredients must be certified organic; and thirdly, in our case, 95% of all active ingredients are grown or produced on one of our two farms,” says Rubin. This latter point, says Rubin, is denoted by the designation “95% Ancient Farmed,” on the brand’s packaging, indicating that the ingredients were produced on one of Ancient Nutrition’s certified organic farms in Tennessee and Missouri. (See labels for more information.)

To be able to maintain this criteria meant that Ancient Nutrition needed to trust in its supply chain and not be reliant on others to deliver. “With the highest standards in the world for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker fairness, this framework is still relatively new, so there is not yet a viable supply chain today for Regenerative Organic Certified® ingredients. It’s coming and it’s growing, but we had to develop it ourselves. Not only did we have to invest a tremendous amount of resources financially, but we had to invest in making sure that we created ingredients that would meet the standards of the ROA. And in the instance that standards did not exist, we worked with them to develop the standards,” he explains. For instance, Rubin outlines that the line includes the first ever Regenerative Organic Certified® mushroom ingredients.

But meeting these goals was not happenstance. The brand's founding story stems from the shared belief of co-founders Dr. Josh Axe and Jordan Rubin in the transformative power of superfoods and their unwavering commitment to sourcing only the highest quality ingredients worldwide. This foundational principle drives Ancient Nutrition's dedication to sustainability, ensuring that their products are not only effective but also environmentally responsible.

This focus evolved into the brand’s multi-faceted R.A.N.C.H. Project℠, which outlines the company’s pillars of Regenerative Agriculture, Nutrition and Climate Health and has served as a roadmap for the company’s sustainability commitments, which are set to be reached by the end of 2024—if not before. With 1% of sales dedicated to supporting this Project, its commitments include focusing on regenerative organic agriculture initiatives such as building topsoil, supporting carbon offsets to become carbon negative, diverting food waste, reducing plastic waste and implementing sustainable packaging, and launching seed-saving initiatives to future-proof regenerative farming and the Million Member Regenerative Food Forest, an effort to plant one million superfood-bearing trees, bushes, vines and shrubs on the brand’s properties.

Sustainable Inside and Out

Consumer consciousness regarding sustainability extends beyond responsible sourcing to encompass packaging choices. According to the Hartman Group, 73% of Americans express a desire to reduce their plastic usage, yet struggle with finding effective ways to act on this value. Addressing this concern, Ancient Nutrition has taken innovative measures to minimize plastic waste and reduce their environmental impact by using BioBottles™, leveraging their exclusive proprietary technology called Plastic IQ that allows the packaging to break down at an accelerated rate when exposed to the environment, leaving behind only water, CO2 and organic biomass. This breakthrough in packaging technology significantly reduces the environmental impact associated with traditional plastics and aligns with the preferences of conscious consumers. The packaging affirms Ancient Nutrition’s thinking that sustainability should not be limited to the contents within the bottle but should extend to the packaging itself. 

Transparency from Seed to Shelf


Notably, the company’s lasting sustainable values have not only allowed them to be the first brand to introduce a full line of Regenerative Organic Certified® supplement formulations, but it has also allowed them to provide complete transparency across the supply chain while creating a product that aligns with consumer desires. Responsible sourcing is one of the most sought-after sustainability claims, resonating with a significant 45% of consumers, according to NielsenIQ. Consumers want to understand the origins and practices behind the products they choose to support.

“There have been brands that focus on a small number of ingredients in their products and have successfully emphasized that aspect. However, the supplement space has faced challenges in providing the same level of transparency as the food industry. Especially in the case of Regenerative Organic Certified®, it is relatively easier to certify single-ingredient products like dried mango, chia seeds or quinoa compared to a dietary supplement with 15 to 20 ingredients enclosed in a capsule,” says Rubin. By consciously selecting ingredients from these traceable sources, Ancient Nutrition not only meets the demands of discerning consumers but also fosters transparency and builds trust. “We believe in the power of knowing where your food comes from and understanding that your purchase contributes to healing the planet, feeding the world and transforming health–which is at the core of our mission statement.”


Of course, in all of these efforts, the company has overcome many hurdles, but Rubin emphasizes that he hopes this paves the way for others to do the same. “It’s important to emphasize that we have gone to great lengths to be pioneers in the space, but our goal is not to be the only group that offers Regenerative Organic Certified® supplements. We win when other brands come on board and do this. So when we talk to retailers and present this product line, the ripple effect is not only seen in market share, but in tangible outcomes such as more trees planted, increased regenerative farmland and the ethical treatment of animals.” He adds, “This is a transformative opportunity where supplements truly have the power to change the world.”

For more information, individuals can visit to stay connected with Ancient Nutrition's innovative and sustainable nutrition initiatives.




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