Natural Foods Merchandiser

40 Under 40: Devin Ryerson

Devin Ryerson
Chiropractor and founder and CEO
Pure Prescriptions
Carlsbad, Calif.
Age: 37

Devin Ryerson, already a chiropractor, embraced fully the naturals world after a battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma and his father's unsuccessful battle with leukemia. It was this self-education while battling cancer that led him to make his life's work advocating a natural lifestyle and selling supplements and natural products.

In 2001, along with his mother and sister, Ryerson founded Pure Prescriptions, a line of natural products manufactured in the U.S. following good manufacturing practices. The labels use water-based inks (as opposed to solvent-based), and the company is transitioning to fully biodegradable corn-based bottles, 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper for labels and vegetable-based inks for printing. Ryerson says the company supports green programs such as American Forests' Global ReLeaf.

What are the biggest challenges facing the naturals industry? What gets me are these fly-by-night so-called experts with little or no health education that make a killing on selling dirt in a bottle. The challenge should be for companies to support ingredients with a solid track record of proven safety and efficacy. Manufacturers need to step it up, do their homework, question their sources and not make a decision based on price. If you make a nutritional supplement, you should have a person with a very strong nutritional education to create your products.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? What I really enjoy most is creating the whole package: from the concept or need, to the product itself and all collateral material to really educate the customer. Having the opportunity to create free online tools and interactivity that may help someone is what I most enjoy.

What keeps you going on a tough day? Surfing (not Web), definitely.

If Ben & Jerry's named a flavor after you, what would it be? Since I love surfing and Hawaii, plus I'm 6 feet 4 inches and about 215 pounds, I would be stoked if they called it Big Braddah D! It would be a Kona/Kauai coffee blend, certified organic of course. I would also have to insist that it be nondairy, and preferably hemp-based for a nice, nutty taste and texture.

What are you afraid of? Getting cancer again and getting beat up by some big surfer for taking his wave.

What would you like to see change in the naturals industry in the next five years? I would like to see a healthier, wiser generation raising their children with the proper tools for lifelong health. That way a new generation can emerge and we can ditch the old " lifestyle change" slogan because they have grown up eating right, exercising and " de-stressing."

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 33

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