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Building a Branded Ingredient It Starts and Ends with Science


by Bob Green

Today, branded ingredients are in greater demand than ever before. This is not only due to recent quality issues in the marketplace, but also to the passage of the new cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices). While the responsibility for meeting cGMPs technically falls on finished goods manufacturers, it only follows that manufacturers will look to ingredient suppliers for scientifically supported ingredients that follow strict quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) guidelines. Branded ingredients not only meet these criteria, they provide quality value, as well as safety, security and support—necessary for the long-term viability, confidence and stability of a consumer brand.

Building branded ingredients in the natural products arena begins with nutrients rooted in nature and steeped in research. They are usually born by hypothesis. But to have true value, branded ingredients must have proven, real-life applications. Otherwise, what’s the difference between a branded ingredient and a generic? The investment in research can never end if a branded ingredient is to meet cGMPs, add value to a formula, build interest at retail, withstand detractors’ scrutiny and endure the test of time in an ever-changing industry.

Anyone investigating bitter orange, for example, will find that the majority of research studies on the subject use the patented bitter-orange extract Advantra Z, rather than generic. Ongoing research and the support of Nutratech, the exclusive supplier, for the scientific community led to the discovery of the significant differentiating factor of the branded ingredient. Research that found the dominant amine in Advantra Z is p synephrine, a stable isomer of synephrine, versus n synephrine, provided a significant selling point for the branded ingredient versus generic.

Branded ingredient suppliers often find investments in QC and science provide a marketing advantage in product development. When manufacturers are provided with all the necessary testing documentation they need, it saves both time and money. Further, suppliers can develop marketing and educational materials—ad campaigns, PR programs, websites—to build confidence among manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

Some parties question whether to patent a branded ingredient; however, if a supplier has invested in the research and QC, it makes sense to protect them with a patent and then defend them legally if infringement occurs.

Stable supplier relationships are another key step in the QC process. Most branded ingredients require stringent harvesting and manufacturing methods and other QA protocols from production through packaging. It’s simply not feasible to change suppliers overnight and expect them to deliver the quality consumers and cGMPs demand. Working in partnership to hone manufacturing practices and adopt stringent QC standards helps to guarantee consistent quality for every batch.

The final portion of the equation is the price dilemma. While branded ingredients are generally perceived as significantly more expensive, when looking at value, the choice is clear. Branded ingredients do cost more than generic counterparts, but the price reflects the value brought from an investment in research, QC and testing, intellectual property and marketing support. These are significant advantages to manufacturers incorporating branded ingredients, and using them builds confidence among retailers and consumers. Interestingly, the price difference is often relatively insignificant, particularly as consumers seek quality products with value that is rooted in safety and efficacy. Because branded ingredients undergo rigorous QA protocols and are backed by research, they have the ability to withstand the test of time and deliver long-term success to users.

Bob Green is the president of Nutratech Inc., the West Caldwell, NJ-based exclusive worldwide distributor of Advantra Z.

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