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Articles from 2009 In September


SIDI protocol streamlines information flow between supplier, manufacturer

Information flow between ingredient supply companies and dietary supplement finished product manufacturers is becoming increasingly important — and scrutinized — as a result of new supplement good manufacturing practice (GMP) rules. In fact, according to Andrew Shao, Phd, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), FDA auditors are asking during their GMP inspections how manufacturers obtain information from their ingredient suppliers and how they are using that information to qualify those suppliers.

Improving and making more efficient the flow of information from supplier to manufacturer are the chief objectives of the Standardized Information on Dietary Ingredients (SIDI) protocol, which was created in 2005 by CRN, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Products Healthcare Association (CHPA) and the Natural Products Association (NPA). The SIDI protocol provides an outline representing the type and scope of information that a supplier typically needs to provide to a manufacturer, including how an ingredient was manufactured and whether allergens are present or may have come in contact with the ingredient. The idea is that suppliers will voluntarily use the SIDI template — which can be downloaded via the CRN Website ( at no charge — to standardize and streamline the information they provide to manufacturers, Shao said.

Although SIDI was not designed with GMPs in mind, it can be a useful tool in helping supplement manufacturers comply with the new rules. “As it turns out, a manufacturer must know all of the information [outlined in the SIDI protocol] to qualify a supplier,” Shao said. “A quality-focused supplier will be able to provide this information very easily, whereas a supplier that doesn't have any quality-control practices in place will have a hard time. SIDI makes it easier for manufacturers to differentiate between quality suppliers and those pretending to be.” That said, SIDI forms or other questionnaires filled out by suppliers are not enough to fully qualify a supplier. “You must audit them,” Shao said. “SIDI does not replace an on-site audit.”

Shaheen Majeed, marketing director for ingredient supplier Sabinsa Corp., said his company has created a SIDI document for each of its more than 50 branded, patented ingredients. Travis Borchardt, vice president of regulatory affairs and quality systems at supplement manufacturer Enzymatic Therapy, said his company accepts the SIDI documents and believes the program is a “step in the right direction” for the industry. “I would prefer if suppliers went to one standaridized format,” he said. “That would make everyone's lives easier.”

A4M Conference Invites Dr. Randall Merchant to Present Chlorella's Researched Effect on Metabolic Syndrome

With metabolic syndrome becoming an increasingly visible precursor to pre-diabetes and the onset of type 2 diabetes, The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) has tapped Dr. Randall E. Merchant, Ph.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University to present "Nutritional Supplementation with Chlorella for Metabolic Syndrome." On Friday, Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m., Dr. Merchant will conduct a 45-minute educational session on several recent, published clinical trials concerning chlorella as part of the 17th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine, Dec. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

Chlorella are fresh-water green algae that contain the highest chlorophyll content of any known plant, as well as exceptionally high concentrations of certain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, nucleic acids, amino acids and enzymes. Its positive effect on various health conditions has been previously suggested in several human clinical trials. Recently, direct evidence of how chlorella consumption helps maintain blood sugar levels has come to light.

"With a growing public interest in non-pharmacological interventions to control hyperglycemia and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, fiber- and antioxidant-rich whole foods such as Chlorella pyrenoidosa are increasingly being studied for their ability to support healthy blood glucose levels," commented Dr. Merchant. "This presentation will explore both laboratory research data and human clinical trials showing that daily ingestion of chlorella helps to maintain healthy levels of body fat percentage, blood pressure, total serum cholesterol and fasting glucose."

For more information about Dr. Merchant's presentation or to schedule an interview, please contact Miranda Barnard at [email protected].

About Dr. Randall Merchant:
As a Professor of Anatomy and Neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Dr. Merchant has been active in both laboratory and clinical research for more than three decades. He has published nearly 100 articles and chapters, and conducted several clinical investigations of chlorella in patients with chronic illnesses and cancer. He holds Doctoral and Master of Science degrees from the University of North Dakota.

About the 17th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine:
Each year, the world's leading anti-aging experts gather in Las Vegas for the largest and most influential conference and expo worldwide on preventative medicine and bio-medical technologies. The A4M Conference provides attendees the opportunity to connect with 6,000+ peers on the latest hot-button anti-aging issues, learn about the most recent advancements and technologies from leading experts, and discover cutting-edge products from more than 500 exhibitors. For more information and event registration details, visit

Bayer sued over unsupported prostate cancer claims on One A Day

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has sued the German drug company Bayer for falsely claiming that the selenium in Men's One A Day multivitamins might reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The lawsuit is filed in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco.

CSPI first contacted Bayer in June to demand that the drug maker alter its marketing of Men's One A Day because the largest prostate cancer prevention trial ever conducted found eight months earlier that selenium supplementation does not prevent prostate cancer. More alarmingly, that study and another found that selenium supplements may increase the risk of diabetes.

A day after CSPI contacted Bayer, the FDA issued a letter containing qualified health claim language for use on labels that said, in part, that it was "highly unlikely that selenium supplements reduce the risk of prostate cancer." That forced Bayer to alter much of its marketing, but it pointedly refused to recall existing packages bearing the false claims. The company also refused to remove all false prostate claims from some marketing for Men's One A Day, and failed to put in writing that it will not make those claims in the future.

"Given Bayer's long history of wrongdoing in other cases, CSPI is acting to ensure that Bayer is permanently stopped from deceiving consumers about selenium," said CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner.

The largest prostate cancer prevention trial ever conducted found that the mineral selenium was no more effective in reducing prostate cancer risk than a placebo. That trial, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, known as SELECT, was halted early when it became clear that the men were not benefiting from selenium and may have developed more cases of diabetes than men in the control group. Another study of selenium and prostate cancer found an alarming three-fold increased risk of diabetes among men taking selenium.

Writing about the SELECT trial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Dr. Peter Gann of the University of Illinois at Chicago cautioned that "physicians should not recommend selenium or vitamin E -- or any other antioxidant supplements -- to their patients for preventing prostate cancer."

Hopes that selenium might be beneficial to the prostate were further dashed when a 2009 study of men with prostate cancer found more aggressive cases of the disease in men with high selenium blood levels and a common genetic trait shared by three out of four men.

"Bayer has been giving American men false hope about the selenium in One A Day multivitamins," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "Bayer continued to run deceptive ads even after SELECT found that selenium supplements weren't helping and might even be hurting."

In a recent letter to CSPI, Bayer threatened to sue CSPI for libel for calling attention to Bayer's selenium claims. Much of Bayer's courtroom experience, however, comes as a criminal or civil defendant.

In 2001, Bayer paid $14 million to U.S. and state governments to settle allegations that the company's actions helped health care providers submit inflated Medicaid claims for drugs.

In 2003, Bayer pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and paid $257 million in fines and penalties after a whistleblower exposed a scheme by the company to overcharge for the antibiotic Cipro. Media accounts at the time described it as the biggest recovery for Medicaid fraud.

In 2004, Bayer pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and paid a $66 million fine after a Justice Department investigation into Bayer's role in a price-fixing conspiracy involving a chemical used to make rubber products. Two Bayer executives separately pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison for their role in the scandal.

In 2007, Bayer paid $8 million to resolve allegations by state attorneys general that the company failed to warn physicians and consumers about safety issues surrounding its cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol, which is no longer on the market.

Bayer has even gotten into hot water with the federal government in the past over its One A Day marketing. In 2007, it paid a $3.2 million civil fine as part of a consent decree reached with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. The case centered on weight-loss claims that the FTC said violated an earlier order requiring that all health claims for One A Day be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. CSPI says that Bayer's prostate claims for Men's One A Day violate the consent decree, which could compound the company's legal problems.

And this year, Bayer was required to run a $20-million corrective advertising campaign about its birth control pill Yaz, and to submit its ads for FDA approval, as part of a legal settlement secured by a number of state attorneys general and the FDA.

"Bayer's threat to sue CSPI is clearly designed to have a chilling effect on free speech and to intimidate us into silence," Jacobson said. "I'm confident, however, that the FTC, the FDA, and the courts will all take careful note of the facts of this case, as well as Bayer's long history of flouting the law. It takes a lot of chutzpah for a company with such a long record of corporate malfeasance to level libel charges against a nonprofit organization."

CSPI is suing on behalf of itself and its members, and is represented by its in-house litigators Stephen Gardner and Katherine Campbell, alongside Harry Shulman of The Mills Law Firm of San Rafael, Calif., and Washington, D.C.-based lawyers Steven N. Berk and Chris Nidel.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit health-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition and food safety. CSPI is supported largely by the 900,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation grants.

GreenDog Naturals(R) Introduces New Supplement for Dogs

GreenDog Naturals(R), a comprehensive family of all-natural and certified organic canine supplements, introduces Complete Calm(TM). Complete Calm is the first and only certified organic, herbal supplement for a calmer and more relaxed dog.

Nervous behavior or situational anxiety in dogs is a common concern among dog guardians. Treatment has traditionally been prescription medication, which often has harsh side effects. Complete Calm is a natural, gentle alternative that soothes emotions and calms behavior in dogs suffering from separation from their guardian or home, or situational issues such as travel, visitors, kenneling, illness and trips to the vet or groomer. It is safe, non-habit-forming and has no side effects.

Formulated by Rainbow Light(R) Nutritional Systems, a leader in natural nutrition for over 27 years, GreenDog Naturals supplements are designed using organic, food-based ingredients to ensure purity, quality and safety. Complete Calm is the first and currently the only product in its category to be certified organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI) and approved by the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC).

"Many dogs struggle with occasional high levels of nervousness or stress, while others, like adopted or rescued animals, can suffer from it daily," said holistic veterinarian and herbalist Dr. Randy Kidd. "For dog guardians wondering what their options are, I recommend they first identify the behavioral triggers, then create a regimen that combines both behavior modification and a natural supplement. The result is a happier dog -- and guardian."

Marin County, Calif., known for its love of dogs, is home to one of the country's oldest and most active animal shelters. Last year, the Marin Humane Society reported a record number of pet adoptions. During this year's October Adopt-A-Dog Month, its staff will be busy finding homes for dogs and other pets.

"Adopting a pet is an incredible act of kindness, but transitioning to a new environment can also be stressful for the animal," said Carrie Harrington from Marin Humane Society. "There's a lot pet guardians can do to help. For some dogs who seem particularly anxious, we will suggest ways to ease the transition into a new family."

Complete Calm's herbal formula goes to work quickly after consumption and is effective for occasional or ongoing use. It's a natural way to help ease an adopted dog's transition to a new home.

"A medically sedated dog is not a pretty sight, nor is it a sustainable solution to dealing with anxiety or stress," said Tom O'Leary, canine health advocate at Rainbow Light. "Complete Calm naturally relaxes frightened or nervous dogs and helps achieve a natural emotional balance."

The GreenDog Naturals canine supplement line is manufactured in the U.S. at a certified organic production facility following Good Manufacturing Practices put forth by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are formulated by experts from complementary disciplines, including holistic veterinarian and herbalist Randy Kidd, PhD, DVM; master herbalist Christopher Hobbs; and board-registered dietitian Marci Clow. GreenDog Naturals goes beyond basic canine nutrition to build daily wellness, vitality and longevity.

This all-natural product features sustainable packaging made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled material and is 100-percent recyclable with 100-percent biodegradable labels.

Complete Calm's proven, certified organic, food-based ingredients include:

-- Organic valerian is an effective calming agent that typically eases unrest and aggressiveness. It is a good herb to give to a dog before and after a stressful situation, such as surgery or a trip.
-- Organic lavender is widely used to help an incessantly barking dog. As an aerosol essence, lavender has been proven to reduce overnight barking.
-- Organic passionflower is effective in calming frightened or nervous animals. The leaves and flowers of this herb offer a nontoxic, non-addictive calming action. It's also soothing and good for digestion.
-- Organic German chamomile is used to alleviate nervousness or restlessness. Its calming property is particularly helpful for digestive upset.
-- Organic pumpkin and oats help settle the stomach and soothe emotions in dogs. Oat straw is one of the best herbs for supporting nervous system health. Pumpkin is an appealing flavor for dogs, is beneficial for an upset stomach due to its high fiber content, and is rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, K and E, potassium, magnesium and iron.
-- Organic ginger root has been studied as an aid in easing nausea in dogs and has long been used to support digestive health.

Complete Calm will be available at,, select natural pet stores and select PETCO locations in early October. It comes in natural chicken flavor and the suggested retail price is $14.99 for 30 chewable tablets. The dosage is relative to weight.

Rainbow Light(R) Nutritional Systems launched the GreenDog Naturals line earlier this year. All-natural and organic, GreenDog Naturals provides essential daily nutrients and digestive support (Whole Dog Daily) lacking in commercial pet food, as well as special formulas for mobility (Healthy Motion), skin and heart health (Omega Glo-Coat 3-6-9), and now a calming formula (Complete Calm).

Rainbow Light's GreenDog Naturals is a proud member of the NASC.

About Rainbow Light(R) Nutritional Systems, Inc.:

Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems, a leader and innovator in natural nutrition since 1981, is best known as the manufacturer of the No. 1 selling natural multivitamin line, Just Once(R), and the No. 1 selling prenatal line, Prenatal One(TM). In February 2009, Rainbow Light expanded into the pet nutrition category with its new line of all-natural pet supplements, GreenDog Naturals(TM).

In every product, Rainbow Light combines research-based optimal potencies and highly bioavailable complementary nutrient forms with energizing whole foods, botanicals and digestive support for increased energy and utilization with no stomach upset. These proven potencies, produced to the highest quality standards of purity and safety and delivered in a gentle, natural food base, offer consumers superior value and a difference they can feel and, in the case of canines, see. Rainbow Light formulas target both general and specific health concerns for women, men, seniors, children and their canine companions while building a foundation for overall wellness. Rainbow Light integrates the best of medical research with respected traditions of health and wellness to nurture all systems of the body.

For more information on Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems, call 1-800-571-4701 or visit or

D.D. Williamson Hires Glen Dreher, Ph.D. as Application Scientist

D.D. Williamson announces the addition of Glen Dreher, Ph.D. to its Science and Innovation team at the Global Support Center in Louisville.

Dr. Dreher received his Ph.D. degree in Food Science & Technology from the University of Florida, where he studied flavor stability. He has a proven track record of successful, innovative alcohol and juice beverage development. His food science position adds strength to the Science and Innovation team’s effort to manage increased demand from customers for application projects.

“Dr. Dreher’s knowledge and ability adds a synergistic element to our existing expertise,” said Margaret Lawson, Vice President, Science and Innovation. “He brings a fresh approach to the scientific understanding of the complexity of naturally derived coloring sources,” added Lawson.

Color with Confidence -- D.D. Williamson's wide array of natural colorings, along with its sought after caramel color, helps sell 1.5 billion servings of foods and beverages every day. D.D. Williamson improves the allure of foods and beverages through visual appeal. A trusted and recognized provider of color solutions for the food and beverage industry, the company operates ten manufacturing sites on five continents. Visit for more information.

Fast-C™ Clinical Study Presented at American College of Nutrition Conference Confirms Faster Retention, Equal Absorption

The second clinical study on Fast-C™, a patent pending Vitamin C ingredient innovated by Scientific Food Solutions and distributed by E.T. Horn in partnership as Alkemy Partners, LLC, was presented today at the American College of Nutrition conference. The 50th Annual ACN conference is being held October 1 - 4, 2009 at the Hilton Hotel, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida.

This most recent clinical trial, a double-blind, randomized crossover study, enrolled 10 male, non-smoking subjects, which is equivalent to a 20-person non-crossover study. It was conducted at Miami Research Associates, a US-based pharmaceutical and nutrition research facility employing Good Clinical Practices.

The study showed a significantly faster rise in blood Vitamin C in the first 90 minutes. Notably, despite the faster entry of Vitamin C into the blood with Fast-C™, urinary excretion was slightly less, suggesting excellent retention by tissues. The bioavailability comparison was to the leading Vitamin C formulation at a 1,000 mg single dose.

This is the second double blind, randomized crossover clinical trial on Fast-C™. The first trial, in 2007, was also conducted by MRA and presented in April, 2008 at the Experimental Biology scientific conference in San Diego. It included 5 male non-smoking subjects, equivalent to a 10-person study. It also showed significantly faster Vitamin C absorption time and equal retention.

Fast-C™ is a premium, faster absorbing and well-retained Vitamin C product. It utilizes a unique, patent-pending composition that provides a buffered and 90%+ acid neutralized Vitamin C, yielding an easily tolerated formulation that fosters greater compliance and delivers vitamin C with greater speed and excellent retention.

About Scientific Food Solutions, LLC
Scientific Food Solutions, LLC is a nutritional bioactive innovation and research company that focuses upon applications for dietary supplement, conventional and functional food and beverage, and over the counter drug applications. The company’s bioactives are the product of patent pending compositions and independently validated clinical studies conducted in the USA. Scientific Food Solutions’ mission is to innovate and commercialize natural bioactives with specific, confidence-inspiring science, delivering safe and reproducible results that support the end consumers’ desire for enhanced health, function, and wellness. Scientific Food Solutions, located in Northern California, has been in operation since 2002.

About The E.T. Horn Company
The E.T. Horn Company is one of the nation's premier distributors of raw materials and chemicals for use in coatings, building materials, elastomers, lubrication, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, personal care, and food products. Founded in 1961, E.T. Horn is focused on providing formulation solutions, superior customer service and technical expertise in the distribution of products from the finest manufacturers.


RMIS price volatility looks to be subsiding for now


Raw material and ingredient supply prices may be finally leveling off after 12 to 24 months of extreme volatility caused by skyrocketing crude oil and transportation costs, increased global demand for corn and other crops, the 2008 Beijing Olympics shutting down manufacturing in China last summer, fluctuating currency values, and a global economy in turmoil. However, the extent to which prices rise and fall depends greatly on the specific ingredient in question.

According to a Nutrition Business Journal survey of raw material manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, 62% of 47 respondents reported that their company's raw material prices went up in 2008. Just 23% reported price decreases, while 14% reported relatively little movement in their ingredient prices. Most of those who reported price increases saw less than a 10% jump, while 26% of respondents reported increases of more than 10%.

Despite the price hikes, 73% of respondents reported growth in the volume of ingredients sold in 2008, while 16% reported a decline in sales volume. Ingredient sales growth was also bolstered by the fact that U.S. consumer sales of supplements remained strong last year, growing 6.2% to $25.2 billion.

Increased input costs, along with the costs associated with helping their supplement manufacturing customers comply with new good manufacturing practices (GMPs), have left some ingredient suppliers feeling pinched. In fact, about half of NBJ's survey respondents cited “increased pressure on margins” as one factor significantly affecting their businesses.

As the economy took a nose dive in late 2008, many finished product manufacturers began applying even more pressure on their suppliers to lower prices. This has continued into 2009. “A lot of our customers are more price sensitive now than they were a year ago,” said John Alkire, president of AHD International, a 10-year-old supply company that represents 30 new or niche nutritional ingredients. “We try to give the best pricing possible, but we do feel the pressure our customers are under in this recession.”

Following is a review of sales and pricing trends for popular or noteworthy products within each NBJ-tracked supplement category.

Specialty Supplements

NBJ Survey: U.S. Nutrition Industry Supply Company Pricing Trends in 2008
Select graph to enlarge

Ingredient supply in the specialty supplement segment — which includes fish/animal oils, probiotics, glucosamine/chondroitin, CoQ10, homeopathic offerings and numerous other products — is as diverse as the category itself. Therefore, pricing and product trends in this category are difficult to generalize because numerous disparate ingredients are being sourced from all over the globe for a wide array of finished goods.

Combined sales of specialty supplement raw materials in the United States grew 9% to $701 million in 2008, according to NBJ research. In general, increased manufacturer demand and rising ingredient prices in this category helped to drive last year's raw material sales growth, which was markedly higher than last year's 6% increase in U.S. consumer sales of specialty supplements.

Fish oils: Despite fluctuating prices, global demand for fish oil keeps growing, and the amount of fish oil being sold on the global market also continues to rise. Crude fish oil volume sales grew 19% in 2008, and more than 93,000 tons of crude fish oil was sold globally last year, according to Ian Newton, managing director for Ceres Consulting. Price increases helped the fish oil market's total dollar growth outpace volume growth in 2008. Global crude fish oil sales increased 32% in 2008 on a dollar-by-dollar basis, Newton said.

The fish oil segment does not follow typical calendar-year pricing trends; instead, price fluctuations usually can be attributed to changes in the currency and commodity markets, according to Robert Orr, president and CEO of Ocean Nutrition Canada, supplier of the Meg-3 brand of fish oil ingredients to the global dietary supplement and healthy foods markets.

Up until two years ago, fish oils traded toward the bottom of the edible oils segment, but consumer demand drove prices toward the top of that spectrum over 2007 and 2008, Orr said. He noted that increases of as much as 200% over that period can be attributed to a number of trends, including fluctuating availability, increased demand from the pharmaceutical industry, and more dietary supplement product production.

This year, however, fish oil prices are beginning to dip again due to a downturn in demand caused by disease in the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry, Orr said. Demand has fallen over concerns regarding infectious salmon anemia, a disease that has plagued a number of overcrowded factory-style fish farms since first being detected in 1984.

Still, demand through the first part of 2009 remained significant enough for Newton to forecast 18% volume growth for the year. But deflation in pricing has the total dollar value of the raw material market increasing just 12% over 2008, according to Newton's estimates. In addition to disease problems, other issues, such as falling crude oil prices and growing competition among the more than 100 fish oil supplement brands operating in the United States, are exerting a downward pressure on fish oil prices in 2009, Orr explained. That said, most prices still remain about 50% higher than their original levels before the price hiking began in 2007.

Looking into 2010, Orr said he is predicting that fish oil prices will begin to go up again due to rising ocean temperatures near South America. “We are in the middle of an El Niño weather cycle, which has historically accounted for a drop in supply,” Orr said. “If there were fish oil futures, I would bet prices are going to go up.”

As Orr also noted, the North American fish oil supply market is particularly sensitive to currency exchange rates, given that most fish oil is sourced from abroad. Chile and Peru account for approximately 50% of the global fish oil supply. “The value of the U.S. dollar has declined about 20% since Q1 of this year, and that effect has been more severe than any variances in the cost of fish oil itself,” Orr said.

Chondroitin: Another popular specialty ingredient that has experienced significant price swings over the past several years is chondroitin sulfate, which is often used in combination with glucosamine in joint-health supplements.

Chinese commodity-grade chondroitin sulfate prices were near historic lows at the end of 2007 and through the first part of 2008, according to Larry Kolb, president of TSI Health Sciences, which manufactures chondroitin and glucosamine. Those prices started to rise during the summer of 2008, but then fell to very low levels as the economic collapse started to take hold in late 2008, Kolb explained.

As in previous years, chondroitin costs still vary greatly depending on the supply quality — and the U.S. market currently does not always obtain the highest quality chondroitin available. “The chondroitin sulfate market in the European Union, Australia and Japan is a far different market than in the United States,” Kolb said. “Regulations are strong there and, as a result, the grades are far different than the grades sold into the United States.” The European, Australian and Japanese chondroitin markets are also growing much faster than the U.S. market in terms of volume requirements. “The U.S. market may actually be flat or contracting as the large brands reduce and/or eliminate chondroitin from their formulas,” Kolb said. Companies are reducing the amount of chondroitin sulfate in their formulas as a cost-savings measure and replacing it with less-expensive herbs or other ingredients that don't have the same body of clinical support, Kolb added.

TSI Health Sciences has been fortunate to offset slowing U.S. sales with increased global business. “As we've entered new markets across the globe, we've been able to grow the business in spite of the slowness of the U.S. market's development of new products,” Kolb said.

TSI lowered the price of several of its ingredients, including chondroitin, in early 2009 due to lower raw material input prices, which began falling in late 2008. Since then prices have been maintained, Kolb added.

Enzymes: Prices of enzyme ingredients, which are increasingly used in condition-specific supplements geared toward digestive health, are also on the rise. One factor currently affecting the price of enzymes — and many other supplement ingredients — is the implementation of new GMPs, which are forcing responsible supply companies to invest more in quality-assurance measures, such as testing.

“With the new GMPs, there has been an increase in the testing cost of many raw materials, and this has caused a price increase for materials,” said Harold Fox, national sales manager for National Enzyme Co. (NEC), which manufacturers enzyme ingredients and finished product formulas. “Many of our enzymes have seen an increase of approximately 5 percent compared to 2008, and we expect that we will see another 3 percent to 5 percent increase in the coming year,” Fox explained. He said some of those costs have been passed along to finished product manufacturers; however, the company has tried to minimize price increases for its customers.

Probiotics: Prices of probiotic ingredients have remained strong as demand continues to grow, particularly among functional food and beverage manufacturers. One leader in the probiotic supply market is Ganeden Biotech, maker of the GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) probiotic strain, which can now be found in everything from nutrition bars to iced tea to pizza.

The company's sales model is based on licensing the use of GanedenBC30. “We use the licensing model because we can add GanedenBC30 to already existing products rather than launching brand new products of our own,” said Mike Bush, vice president of business development at Ganeden Biotech. “This model gets our ingredient out into the market quicker and is less costly.” Bush added that Ganeden Biotech's sales growth has enabled the company to enjoy increased purchasing power and offer better prices on raw materials to its partners and clients. As a result, Bush said the company's prices have remained steady for the better part of two years.

Plant sterols: Natural plant sterols (and numerous other ingredients, such as natural vitamin E) are derived from corn, soybeans and other crops that have been in growing demand for biofuels and to feed emerging countries such as China. As demand for these crops has risen, so have their input prices — and this has caused many ingredient suppliers, including Cognis Nutrition & Health, to pay more the natural raw materials that go into their plant sterols and other ingredients. “We have a strong commitment to natural ingredients, so we have needed to secure natural raw material sources that we feel comfortable with, and that has meant paying more for some materials,” explained Sharrann Simmons, senior marketing manager at Cognis. “That is challenging because we don't want to totally pass those costs on to our customers.”

Even though Cognis has been able to keep most of its ingredient prices stable, some customers earlier this year requested price reductions or extended payment terms because of the economic downturn, Simmons added. “In these situations, there usually is not anything we can do because we must buy our raw materials ahead of time,” she said. “But these types of requests were a big tipoff that something very significant was happening in the economy.”

Herbs and Botanicals

U.S. Herb

The total herb & botanical raw material & ingredient supply (RMIS) market in the United States grew 1% to $427 million in 2008. Although slight, such growth can be viewed as a positive for this RMIS category, which experienced sales declines between 2000 and 2004.

Herb & botanical pricing at the RMIS supply level found some relief in the latter half of 2008, as transportation costs finally dipped to manageable levels. However, currency issues remained a problem for most global botanical businesses, and prices rose well into the first half of 2009 for many ingredients in this category. “The wild fluctuations of the dollar against the euro and the cost of transportation are two factors [affecting botanical prices] beyond seasonality, harvest sizes and demand,” said P.L. Thomas (PLT) President Paul Flowerman. “However, with the Consumer Price Index quite steady, and unemployment high, non-raw material business costs are generally stable, and demand is sufficient for prices to be more stable than normal.”

I.BioCeuticals, the exclusive North American supplier of Masquelier's OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) and French maritime pine bark extract, raised its prices for these two offerings in early 2008, and this took its toll on unit sales, which have been down in 2009. “Because we import our materials from Europe, the euro-to-dollar exchange rate impacts our margin significantly,” said I.BioCeuticals Marketing Director Linda Sparrow. “We expect to be able to hold our pricing steady through 2009 and will continue to work with our suppliers to offer the best price possible. But the long-term reading is that the dollar will continue to lose strength, and we may have to increase prices to offset this.”

Mitch Coven, president of contract and private-label manufacturer Vitality Works, told NBJ that botanical prices have stabilized after rising steadily through the first quarter of 2009. “Essential oils saw the biggest increase in 2008 and 2009 because the supply was low,” said Coven. Lavender, peppermint and tea tree essential oils were three products Coven pointed to as having notable increases. “I negotiated to buy larger amounts of some to stabilize prices,” he said. “For some oils, I raised prices to my customers by explaining my issue and unsustainable margins on my end. Some understood, and some did not.”

The art of protecting profit margins while also keeping prices low is a constant struggle. “I try to absorb the margin hit in order to sustain customer relations,” Coven said. “I let them know what I am doing in hopes of getting it back on either other products or in a price increase.” Italian herbal ingredient supplier Indena had to shrink its margins in order to stay competitive, said Indena Vice President of Sales Greg Ris.

PLT's Flowerman said the herb & botanical category should see similar supply pricing trends in 2010 with slight increases, but nothing that would have a profound effect on the market. “[Next year] feels as though it's a long time away, and it is hard to make predictions until uncertain economic and fiscal policies are known,” he said. “We guess that [price] inflation will grow, but not beyond typical levels of 2 to 3 percent.”

Mother Nature also plays a role in determining botanical prices. “Moving into 2010, some prices for premium botanicals are going up, as supply is often dependent on raw material harvests,” said Cal Bewicke, president of botanical extracts supplier Ethical Naturals Inc. “A good example is milk thistle extract. Demand has been high because many people take it for liver tonic functions, but the 2009 milk thistle seed harvest was low due to a very dry season in growing areas. Thus, the price of the concentrated extract is going up.”


The total vitamin raw material and ingredient supply market in the United States grew 14.1% to $989 million in 2008, according to NBJ estimates. Growth in vitamin raw materials sales was significantly higher than last year's growth in U.S. consumer sales of vitamins, which increased 10% to $8.5 billion. This was due primarily to rising vitamin raw material prices, which went up because of supply shortages from China.

Over the past 12 to 24 months, the vitamin segment has seen a raw material shortage in a number of prominent letter vitamins, including vitamins B, C and E, according to ChromaDex Inc. President and CEO Frank Jaksch. As a result, prices for many letter vitamin raw materials — including vitamin C, which saw some of the largest increases — were up as much as 20% in 2008, NBJ survey responses indicate. High energy costs, high commodity costs and the Olympic Games, which shut down much of the manufacturing in China last summer, were the main contributors to the price increases. Among the NBJ-tracked supplement ingredient subcategories, vitamins were hardest hit by the break in Chinese production, as some letter vitamin materials are almost exclusively produced in China. For example, as much as 90% of all vitamin C raw materials sold in the United States originate in China, according to NBJ estimates.

Vitamin raw material prices have come down in 2009 as manufacturers have faced numerous external price pressures, including needing to increase their quality-control measures while maintaining the bargain-basement prices expected by many finished goods manufacturers. For some companies, this is leading to an unsustainable business model. “Chinese producers are having to lower prices, and some have even closed because the value proposition is no longer there,” said Greg Edmunds, vice president of marketing and sales at Charles Bowman and Co., a supplier of nutritional ingredients to the food, pharmaceutical and health industries.

GMPs have added to the price pressure on suppliers, especially on many Chinese vitamin manufacturers, as a growing number of finished product companies are looking for their suppliers to help pay for the increased testing and quality-control costs. “You're seeing some manufacturers look to off-load some of the analytical burden,” said Ryan HornBuckle, a sports nutrition industry consultant. “I'm speculating that the GMP pressures here at home will create more diligence on the part of the suppliers, and this diligence will weed out some of the low-cost leaders who have been cutting corners to remain the low-cost leaders.”


Sales of mineral raw materials increased 7.1% to $233 million in 2008, according to NBJ estimates. Stauber Perfomance Ingredients, a domestic raw material and ingredient supplier specializing in minerals, saw prices in the mineral supply market rise between 33% and 34% in 2008, according to CEO Dan Stauber. He attributed the increases to rising fuel and commodity costs. “If I were to pick two key minerals that jumped more than others [in 2008], they would be zinc and copper compounds,” Stauber said. He added that sometimes one mineral form — for example, a sulfate — will go up in prices, while another — such as an oxide — will go down. “Different industry and global demands play a critical role in that aspect year in year out,” he said.

Sports Supplements

In 2008, raw material sales in the sports supplement category grew 10.1% to $304 million. In comparison, U.S. consumer sales of sports supplements increased 6.8% to $2.7 billion in 2008.

Some of the most significant ingredient price increases over the past three years have come in the whey protein market, and this has most affected ingredient sales in the sports supplement arena. Whey protein ingredient prices rose sharply in 2006 and 2007 before beginning to stabilize in 2008. Whey prices continued softening in early 2009, but are rising again due to numerous factors, including increased demand for milk and its derivatives within China and for whey protein-based weight-management products. The unstable European dairy market and global slowdown in milk production are also affecting whey protein prices. “I have heard that whey protein pricing is readying for a jump by year's end,” Anthony Almada, president and CEO of GENR8 Inc., told NBJ.

Demand has steadily risen since 2007 for whey protein isolates, which are the purest forms of protein and the main component of many powdered sport supplements. The down economy hasn't impeded this growth, said Robert Beausire, vice president of business development for Glanbia Nutritionals Inc. “While dairy protein prices overall were low [in 2008 and 2009], this was not the case in all categories, and some have maintained strength throughout the recession,” Beausire said. “Demand for our protein and flax ingredients has been increasing as consumers start to purchase again.”

Forbes Magazine Names Omega-3 Fish Oil 'One Supplement That Works'

Forbes Magazine (Sept. 7) in a cover story on omega-3 fish oil, “One Supplement That Works(1),” highlights the “steady stream of research indicating that people should eat oily fish and maybe consume fish oil pills to protect their hearts.” Drs. Jørn Dyerberg and his colleague, Hans Olaf Bang, are credited with the ground-breaking discovery behind omega-3s based on their research with Greenland’s Inuit or Eskimo population.

The doctors’ discoveries began in the 1970s when they hypothesized that the rarity of coronary heart disease among the Inuit could be due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in their staple diet, based on cold-water oily fish. Dr. Dyerberg went on to demonstrate the unique physiological effects of these fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. His work opened a whole new field of medical research and, since then, thousands of studies have been published and many are currently in progress.

He believes that the fatty acids EPA and DHA provide significantly more health benefits than plant-based omega-3. According to the Forbes article, “Not all omega-3s are created equal. Flax oil, for instance, is rich in omega-3s but not the EPA and DHA forms. It contains alpha-lineolic acid, which is converted to EPA and DHA in small amounts. The cardiac benefit may not be as big as the Eskimo effect.”

Dr. Dyerberg is sharing his expertise on an exclusive basis with customers of Cognis Nutrition & Health and Marine Nutriceutical Corporation (MNC). In North America, MNC is Cognis’ exclusive partner for fish oil supplements. In 2006, Cognis acquired Napro Pharma to add fish oil to their extensive portfolio of lipid-based nutrients. Since then, the two companies have combined their know-how to produce safe, high quality omega-3 ingredients with superior taste for dietary supplements and functional foods.

Sharrann Simmons, Cognis’ Senior Marketing Manager, noted the significance of the Forbes article given its conservative coverage of dietary supplements. “As an industry educator, Cognis recognizes the element of controversy the business media sometimes associates with dietary supplements, so we must continue to work with them to help communicate the critical benefits of health-enhancing ingredients like omega-3s.”

In the United States, only about 15 percent of adults meet their daily omega-3 requirement and Cognis is working with major food manufacturers on new product concepts to help close this nutritional gap.

“Products made with Omevital™ (ō-may-vee-tall) omega-3 fatty acids make a vital contribution toward meeting the daily needs of EPA and DHA,” said Ms. Simmons. “Over the last few years we have refined our product line so Omevital™ ingredients, including kosher oils and powders, can be easily incorporated in a range of foods without affecting their sensory qualities. The bottom line is that taste trumps health benefits when it comes to food and our technical advancements with Omevital™ mean that there’s no need to forfeit one for the other.”

Product information and samples will be showcased at the SupplySide West trade show and conference on Nov. 11-13 in Las Vegas, at Cognis’ booth 21014 and MNC’s booth 12049.

For more information about Marine Nutriceutical Corp., please visit, or call 570-897-0351, or fax 570-897-7732.

For more information about Omevital™ omega-3 fatty acids or to place an order, visit, call 800.673.3702, e-mail [email protected], or fax 513.482.3576.

About Cognis:
Cognis ( is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients, with a particular focus on the areas of wellness and sustainability. The company employs about 5,600 people, and it operates production sites and service centers in 30 countries. Cognis has dedicated its activities to a high level of sustainability and delivers natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Another main focus is on products for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, as well as agriculture and mining. Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2008, Cognis recorded sales of about 3 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (operating result) of 351 million euros.


Amazing Grass Launches Nationwide in Canada

While most brands in Canada are trying to find ways to expand their exports to the huge United States marketplace, a forward-thinking company from California is turning the tables and is headed in the other direction. Amazing Grass, the well-known nutrition convenience pioneer, is pleased to announce that they are rapidly expanding distribution of their products throughout Canada.

To help get their products into Canadian stores the company has teamed up with some of the biggest and most reputable natural health product distributors in Canada, including Purity Life Health Products, Christmas Natural Foods and Directa Distribution. According to Christmas Natural Foods, Amazing Grass has already proven to be one of their best new product launches in 17 years.

"Over the past couple of years, we have been receiving many inquiries from people in Canada about the availability of our products at stores in their area,” says Todd Habermehl, co-founder of Amazing Grass. “While we have already been filling email and phone orders and shipping to customers north of the border, it is not the most cost-effective or timely way for people in Canada to enjoy our certified organic products,” adds Habermehl.

Thanks to the new partnerships with Canadian distributors, Canadians will be able to purchase some of the most popular Amazing Grass products. Their innovative line of drink powder mixes, which feature their popular Green SuperFood blend, and their Organic Wheat Grass will be available in a wide range of natural grocery and independent health food stores, including retail chains such as Whole Foods Markets, Planet Organic, Thrifty Foods and Choices Markets.

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood is a premium blend of alkalizing greens, antioxidant rich whole food fruits and vegetables, immune boosting support herbs, probiotics and digestive enzymes that features more organic greens per gram than any other "green" drink on the market. It offers health conscious consumers a naturally balanced source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, carotenoids, phytonutrients, enzymes, dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. It also features some of the hottest ingredients such as organic acai from industry leader Sambazon, and maca.

Amazing Grass Chocolate Green SuperFood offers a combination of nature's most nourishing, cleansing and rebuilding SuperFoods in a delicious chocolate drink powder. By infusing their top-selling Green SuperFood with organic cacao, this drink powder offers an even tastier way for consumers to get their greens. The polyphenols found in cacao support healthy cholesterol levels.

Berry Green SuperFood is the latest addition to the Amazing Grass Drink Powder family. It unites the full spectrum of their alkalizing Green SuperFood, antioxidant rich fruits including acai and goji berries, support herbs and maca to provide a powerful dose of whole food nutrition with a robust berry flavor.

Amazing Grass Drink Powders provide consumers with a delicious and convenient means to achieve the recommended 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, these drink powders contain every amino acid, vitamin and mineral necessary to sustain human life. And since the human body is designed to obtain nutrition from whole foods, the body is able to efficiently and rapidly absorb the nutrients in these products and quickly convert them into fuel. They are complete raw food powders that work synergistically to fight free radicals, remove toxins and repair damaged cells.

Amazing Grass Organic whole-leaf Wheat Grass, one of the most powerful sources of leafy green vegetable nutrition available, offers up to 30x more nutrition and 10x more chlorophyll than tray-grown wheatgrass juice. Its high alkalinity helps balance acidic pH levels and its insoluble fiber gently cleanses the digestive tract and promotes regularity. It is an excellent source of folic acid, beta carotene and vitamin C. The mild taste mixes easily with any favorite drink and offers sustained energy all day long.

All of the Amazing Grass Drink Powders boost energy and the immune system and unlike others on the market they do not contain soy lecithin fillers and they are nitrogen packed for freshness. They are also gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, low in calories and fat and have no added sugar. They can be mixed with water, fruit juice, dairy and non-dairy milk and also make a healthy and tasty addition to smoothies.

They will be sold in Canada in an 8.5 ounce container that includes 30 eight-gram servings (scoop provided) and a 15-count box of individual serving packets. Consumers can learn more about Amazing Grass and the many nutritional benefits of their products on the company's informative website at

"We see great potential in tapping into the robust natural products marketplace in Canada," says Habermehl. "We have made exports there a top priority despite the challenges of the exchange rate and language barrier," adds Habermehl.

It is always a challenge to conduct international business, but after assessing the potential rewards Amazing Grass determined it was well worth the effort. Creating bilingual brochures and packaging is another one of the hurdles that the company has faced, but french-speaking Canadians are sure to benefit from the effort to do so.

Since hockey is a big pastime in English and French-speaking Canada, fans might be interested to learn that some of Amazing Grass’s biggest endorsers are leaders of the Boston Bruins NHL team. “Our products are enjoyed by amazing athletes around the world, including Zdeno Chara, the league's Defensive Player of the Year and Canada's own Andrew Ferrence,” says Brandon Bert, co-founder of Amazing Grass.

“Amazing Grass is on my table every morning during the season,” says Zee. “It helps me maintain my energy and enhances my performance - and it tastes great, too.” With all the travel and the hectic 82 game regular season schedule plus the playoffs, having a convenient, whole food means to ensure proper nutrition is critical for elite athletes like the Boston Bruins.

Amazing Grass' mission is to educate the world about the benefits of Green SuperFoods and the improved quality of life derived from healthy eating habits. Amazing Grass is a friends-and family-owned company with roots that date back over 60 years of growing and dehydrating green foods. The company produces certified organic wheat grass, barley grass, oat grass, rye grass and alfalfa at a family farm in Kansas, and markets the most nutritious, convenient and affordable green SuperFoods to help families thrive.

Amazing Grass stands out because the grasses are field-grown throughout the winter allowing the roots to soak up nutrients from mineral-rich soil for over 6 months. “The young leaves are harvested just one time each year at their nutritional peak,” says Bert. "The greens are carefully flash dehydrated at low temperatures, frozen as whole leaf powders and then packed in nitrogen to maintain freshness. The extra steps ensure customers get the most nutrient-dense raw green food powders in the world," adds Bert.


October 2009: Raw Material & Ingredient Supply Overview


NBJ provides an overview and analysis of 2008 U.S. Raw Material & Ingredient Supply sales and trends for each product category of the U.S. nutrition industry. We also profile leading and emerging supply companies, brands and products, and explore how issues such as the continued rollout of good manufacturing practice (GMP) rules for the dietary supplements are affecting the raw material & supply sector.