While some companies feel their way toward higher values over time, doing the right thing has been a fundamental tenet of Orgenetics since organic chemist Dr. Jit Maheshvari founded the company in 2007–and then made the trailblazing decision to go organic.
“There were a lot of products that were not thoroughly tested and wrongly tested and ingredients from all over the world not meeting standards. We decided that we wanted to make a change in the world of nutraceuticals by introducing cleanliness and transparency that was unprecedented or required by law,” says Saumil Maheshvari, SVP of business development at Orgenetics, Inc. and the son of Dr. Jit Maheshvari. “Dr. Jit, my dad, had the insight that consumers deserve better, and if given the choice they would pick the better-quality product and ingredient. So we went forward with the full organic certification.”
The company achieved organic certification for its Orgen brand ingredients, including vitamins and minerals and their co-factors and co-nutrients, derived from standardized extracts of USDA Organic fruits, vegetables and botanicals. For dietary supplements and ingredients, Maheshvari notes that the organic certification is one of the most powerful certifications that you can attain and requires entire supply chain evaluation. “When you certify the finished product, the certifying agency has to look through the supply chain to make sure ingredients are also USDA Organic Certified. That means they look through the supply chain of those ingredients to make sure they are up to NOP standards.”
The company is also committed to running stringent quality tests. “The industry norm was to do batch testing wherein you pick one lot out of a bunch. We changed that to doing lot-to-lot testing and we continue to do that today.” Now, the company continues to test for standardization with High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) botanical fingerprinting and High Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography (HPTLC), as well as testing for Prop 65 and heavy metals, along with microbiome testing.
While the company didn’t expect consumers to understand the nuances of these advanced analytical tests, being able to guarantee quality across the supply chain created a trickle-up trust effect across the supply chain. “We are able to guarantee quality from farm to manufacturer. That is something that in turn the manufacturer can take to the consumer and explain to them that the product they are getting may be priced at a premium, but they are getting a lot more in return—the traceability and transparency that they may not get with other products out in the market,” he explains.
The company’s foresight was accurate; consumers became more inquisitive and knowledgeable, less price-point focused and more willing to pay for a clean, transparent product they could trust. “People have been opting to go for premium price and organic, products that were cleaner, rather than the cheapest option. The main mass market consumer has not only accepted organic, they are actively looking for it.”
Now, the California-based company continues to support its transparency story on its website with educational videos for Orgen products. The company has partnered with the organic division of Green Chem in India to be a fully integrated organic ingredients solution focused on sustainable practices, including rainfall collection for irrigation, solar power for electricity and organic soil for growing. Orgenetics also clearly outlines its extraction, manufacturing and independent testing processes.
“We offer a supply chain transparency web page meant as much for consumers as it is for brand owners and formulators and manufacturers. It answers the very simple question of how we have made our supply chain transparent and sustainable.” Maheshvari notes that consumers can go as deep as they would like on their website. “We provide a platform to educate consumers to make sure they know what kind of product they are buying. We’re not guiding them toward anything but educating them to make decisions on their own.”
As consumers push for a cleaner supply chain, Maheshvari says it feels good to be ahead of the curve; the organic movement has gone from feeling “hippy-ish” to one where giant retailers such as Walmart and Aldi are catching the attention of the organic shopper. Now, he says, the audience for organic is athletes and parents wanting the best for their bodies and their families. It’s also millennials searching for a product with ethics they can stand behind. All of these consumers now appreciate that buying organic supports farmers who use sustainable practices. “Consumers appreciate qualities that make the supply chain more sustainable and clean. We are ahead of the curve and already offering a clean supply chain, so the customers who use our ingredients are able to market that well to their consumers.”