SupplySide West: Putting some teeth into sustainability

A session at the upcoming trade show will delve into what consumers want to see from brands concerning sustainability and what brands can do to satisfy those desires.

Hank Schultz, Senior Editor

October 19, 2023

3 Min Read
Sustainability will be tackled during an education session at SupplySide West.

What’s the best way for brands to make their mark in the sustainability realm? An education session at SupplySide West will examine that question in detail. 

The session, “Not just a buzzword: The keys to making sustainability an actualized business practice,” will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, Oct. 27 in the Islander Ballroom C at Mandalay Bay.  

Concept, though still ill-defined, gains traction 

The concept of sustainability has been gaining traction in the mainstream media and within the marketplace. Some brands have made a commitment to sustainability and regenerative agriculture a core part of their mission. Others are leaning into technology solutions for ingredient production that can address some sustainability concerns. 

But what’s meant by sustainability? What do consumers understand about it and what do they expect from brands? 

These are among the questions that will be examined during the session. An Oxford Dictionary online resource defines it as “avoidance off the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” 

Within the dietary supplement industry and its consumer base, many other factors come into play, such as paying respect to indigenous communities, fair trade concerns and more. What should brands focus on first? 

Related:SupplySide West preview day 4: Thursday, Oct. 26

No time left for sitting on sidelines of debate 

Whatever game plan brands adopt, it’s clear the time for sitting on the sidelines is coming to an end. A recent global survey of industry stakeholders found that 56% of respondents said environmental sustainability was already of high importance to their company, while 17% said the issue would become more relevant over the next one or two years, and 18% said it would become relevant in the medium to longer term. 

Consumer research, technical aspects covered in session 

The SupplySide West education session will kick off with consumer research data presented by Diane Ray of Natural Marketing Institute and Shelley Balanko of Harmann Group. The duo will give attendees a complete picture of what consumers are thinking about when it comes to sustainability and how that is influencing purchasing decisions. 

Another panel discussion will be led by Joseph Betz, Ph.D., who spent many years at the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health.  Joining Dr. Betz will be Thomas Brendler, Ph.D. and Paula Brown, Ph.D. The trio will discuss issues involving the verification of natural plant materials, in particular how cultivated sources compare to their wildcrafted forebears based on their bioactive profiles. 

Individual sessions will cover progress in The Sustainable Herbs Project (presenter: Ann Amrbrecht, Ph.D.), fungi cultivation versus wildcrafting (Steven Dentali, Ph.D.) and food megatrends and how they influence product development (Rachael Cheatham, Ph.D.). 

By the end of the session, attendees will have a clearer understanding of why they should care about the whole sustainability concept. And they’ll have a clearer picture of the challenges involved in making sustainability a key pillar in their business practices. 

For more information and to register for the session, click here.  

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.

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like