Supply chain concerns will be top of mind at SupplySide West

An education session at the upcoming trade show will delve into how companies are facing these challenges.

Hank Schultz, Senior Editor

October 17, 2023

3 Min Read
Supply chain issues will again be discussed at this year's show.

The pandemic sent a shock through the global supply chain for dietary ingredients that companies are only now recovering from. A three-hour education session at the upcoming SupplySide West trade show will lay out the lessons that have been learned. 

The shocks to the global supply of dietary ingredients were driven mostly by pandemic lockdowns in several countries, most notably China.  This gave rise to major kinks in the flow and supply of shipping containers. The reverberations of this, with containers sitting empty in some locations and scarce in others, have only recently begun to smooth out. 

Atmosphere of scarcity 

It made for a condition of scarcity in which many manufacturers started to hold more inventory than they had been accustomed to. Prices rose and supplies on the open market fell, which consumers experienced as many products were out of stock temporarily or for longer periods. 

The big takeaway for suppliers and their customers: The way of doing things before the pandemic, in which many herbal products and other dietary ingredients could be ordered with short lead times, no longer provides sufficient security. The war in Ukraine and the shocks that reverberated through the global supply system only served to reinforce that idea. 

Related:SupplySide West preview day 1: Monday, Oct. 23

Buyers now say having a close relationship with suppliers is of prime importance. To that end, the opening session of the program, which takes place on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 24, is devoted to getting to know herbal farmers face to face. 

Know your grower 

This opening session, which is organized in cooperation with the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), will introduce attendees to four herbal farmers and a longtime distributor. It will be an opportunity to hear how their business practices have changed in this new supply environment. 

The farmers are Marisol Cervates Bobadilla of Mexico, Rajnish Awasthi of India and domestic producers Matt Dybala and Jeff Higley. Joining the panel will be herbal ingredients sourcing expert Edward Fletcher. 

Another panel discussion during the event will put some numbers around the supply chain question.  Brandon Casteel of the market research firm SPINS will provide data on supply chain concerns that are top of mind for consumers. Anand Swaroop of the Indian supplier Cepham will present data his company has accumulated on climate change concerns and how that is affecting the abundance and quality of herbal ingredients. And Scott Steinford, principal of the consulting firm Trust Transparency Center, will present a check list he gives to clients to ensure their supply chain concerns are met when looking for a contract manufacturing partner. 

Related:SupplySide West preview day 2: Tuesday, Oct. 24

Two individual presentations will round out the morning session.  One, from Shelley Blackwell of EAS Consulting Group, will focus on data security while the other, from Marielle Weintraub of Eurofins, will examine testing requirements. 

The session, “Supply Chain Challenges and Innovations,” will be held in the South Pacific Ballroom F at Mandalay Bay from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Oct. 24. 

About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz has been the senior editor of Natural Products Insider since early 2023. He can be reached at [email protected]

Prior to joining the Informa team, he was an editor at NutraIngredients-USA, a William Reed Business Media publication.

His approach to industry journalism was formed via a long career in the daily newspaper field. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and German, Hank was an editor at the Tempe Daily News in Arizona. He followed that with a long stint working at the Rocky Mountain News, a now defunct daily newspaper in Denver, where he rose to be one of the city editors. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his time there.

The changing landscape of the newspaper industry led him to explore other career paths. He began his career in the natural products industry more than a decade ago at New Hope Natural Media, which was then part of Penton and now is an Informa brand. Hank formed friendships and partnerships within the industry that still inform his work to this day, which helps him to bring an insider’s perspective, tempered with an objective journalist’s sensibility, to his in-depth reporting.

Harkening back to his newspaper days, Hank considers the readers to be the primary stakeholders whose needs must be met. Report the news quickly, comprehensively and above all, fairly, and readership and sponsorships will follow.

In 2015, Hank was recognized by the American Herbal Products Association with a Special Award for Journalistic Excellence.

When he’s not reporting on the supplement industry, Hank enjoys many outside pursuits. Those include long distance bicycle touring, mountain climbing, sailing, kayaking and fishing. Less strenuous pastimes include travel, reading (novels and nonfiction), studying German, noodling on a harmonica, sketching and a daily dose of word puzzles in The New York Times.

Last but far from least, Hank is a lifelong fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

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