Tonight, as Frontline airs the latest in a series of attacks on a dietary supplement industry mainstream media likes to call unregulated, we have an industry opportunity to avoid the defensive—with New Hope leading the way on unifying an industry voice.
In fact, the airing comes on the heels of New Hope's inaugural Inside the Bottle Summit, hosted at our Boulder, Colorado, office last Friday, January 16. Inside the Bottle is a pilot compendium of eight thought leaders across the supplement industry supply chain brought together to discuss the trajectory of the industry—complete with approaches for addressing under-regulation and strategies for educating consumers and trade about the value of supplements. Stay tuned for more on this as the pilot year unfolds.
In the meantime, if today's heads up in the New York Times is any indication, the Frontline piece will largely be a recycling of familiar attacks, but one that is certain to recycle consumer concerns about safety and efficacy, too.
"We are regulated," says Nutrition Business Journal founder Tom Aarts, when asked how he responds to the unregulated claim. "FDA does remove supplements from the shelf; they have full scope to do so." At present, claims are regulated, ingredients are regulated and GMPs have been established industry-wide.
This doesn't keep out the bad apples, though, which summit attendees agreed is a call to take consumer trust seriously within your own brand, whether a supplier, manufacturer or retailer. And that becomes the best response to bad press: Drop the defense and present what the industry and your company are doing to ensure safety and efficacy.
"We have to bombard the consumer with what is positive," said one summit participant. "The lesson from New York AG was that we got too embroiled in the argument, and that almost fed the fire. Better to just call out the positive."