I spoke recently to Rene LeClerc, Vice President of Sales at Ascenta Health, about the world of fish oil. In the process of researching an upcoming story about traceability tools in the supplement industry, I came across Ascenta’s Pure Check platform, featured prominently on its website and packaging. Pure Check lets a consumer track, with just a few clicks, the specific ingredient content and quality markers of the very bottle he purchased at the store. It’s a compelling and friendly approach to building consumer confidence, and verifying that NutraSea products (Ascenta’s branded line of fish oil supplements) are as pure and potent as they claim to be.
“The reason we launched Pure Check?” says LeClerc. “We were frustrated. Every fish oil company was saying the same thing. They all claimed to have the purest, the highest-quality fish oil. Everyone was saying it, but no one was backing it up.” It’s easy to get frustrated in today’s world of supplements, where marketing claims sometimes stretch beyond legal and responsible limits, but it’s also becoming easier to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I talked to several companies in the past few weeks with new, web-based traceability tools at the top of their priority lists. These companies tend to be industry leaders. They tend to be the very sorts of companies you’d expect to have the resources and expertise to provide more transparency into their manufacturing process. Ascenta, a powerful player in the Canadian market now making major inroads into key distribution accounts across the U.S., appears to be among their ranks.
Maybe a company’s genuine commitment to quality has something to do with its ability to achieve and maintain a leadership position, and maybe innovations on the traceability front will have something to do with steering the entire industry toward more transparency and credibility in the months and years to come. Says LeClerc: “With Pure Check, we simply wanted to put our money where our mouth is, and show our consumers that, when taking NutraSea, they were getting a quality, clean product, every time, every batch. We wanted to go so far as posting the results of every batch online—full transparency, full disclosure. I don’t have one batch of product in the marketplace anywhere where you cannot get the third-party quality report for that batch on our website. That is by far the most powerful point of difference about our line.”
Be sure to check out the next issue of Nutrition Business Journal, our annual overview of the entire nutrition industry, for more about Ascenta and the trend toward traceability. Subscribe now, or come back in July when the issue goes on sale.
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