How to retain consumer loyalty and build your business in the ‘supplements’ market

In a nutshell, there is only one answer to this:  Create products that work.

The supplements market is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in the world today. With increasing lifestyle and environmental stresses needing to be overcome, consumers are being turned onto the power of nature. They are actively seeking to avoid adding foreign chemicals or synthesised ingredients to a human system already under threat.

Medical aid and healthcare companies are also increasingly looking at preventative medicines and measures. They are recognising that prevention is better than cure.  It is a totally viable means to curtail spiralling claims and costs and adding to their actuaries’ headaches in getting their pricing models right.

So, why is the supplements market under constant scrutiny and threat and why do consumers jump from brand to brand - regularly?

This is a complex question with many answers.  This article isn’t going to even attempt to provide all the solutions but it will look at focusing on a couple of key potential answers that we hope will get you to think in a different way.

Marketing spend vs Ingredient spend

Have you ever considered the percentage capital expenditure on the ingredients that go into your product in comparison to how much budget goes into the company’s marketing budget?  The launch of the product you are putting out to market is one thing, but if the product does not actually do the job it was designed or purports to do, then the constant communication and persuasion you need to continue to convince your customers to keep on buying your product exponentially escalates.

You might even find that your current solution is to launch another new and ‘improved’ product, thereby starting the cycle all over again.

In numerous and on-going blind studies of supplements retailed in a number of different markets around the world, it has been found that the so-called ‘active’ ingredients are nil-detectable or at best, barely discernable in 9 out of 10 products.  No wonder then, that consumers are growing cynical of claims and new labelling laws are being introduced.

Wouldn’t it be better to reverse these roles and actually include the correct amount/quantity of the active ingredient in the product from the start? That way, because the product actually works, you might even find that the consumers will naturally return to purchasing your product, recommending it to their peers, families and anyone who will listen – thanks to social media.  This may even lead to a reduction in the marketing budget and an overall growth in brand loyalty and bottom line profits – your business aim, whether as a manufacturer or retailer.

Extract ethics

The supplements market has the true potential to eclipse the allopathic medicines sector.  This isn’t happening as the ‘extracts’ market and the contract manufacturing industry are fraught with inferior ingredients, often processed using chemicals and harmful heat.  The result – a denaturing of the base ingredient.  This naturally affects the potency, and of course, renders the final product, ineffectual and needing to rely on the ‘story’ of its marketing campaign.

Secondly, there appears to be a gap in the knowledge chain when it comes to natural plant extracts and their active molecules.  We still find pharmacists and buyers ordering on a ratio system.  A ratio of what we ask? The answer is to look at the whole and more specifically the purities and the yields.

Another factor to take into consideration is the fact that the yield and potency of the active ingredients of plant extracts vary from crop to crop and time to time.  They are ‘natural’ and are influenced by climatic and environmental changes – all of the time.  This brings into question the issuing of Certificate of Analysis (COAs), and the supplied ingredients not living up to the stated findings.  To truly measure the actives, the plant material should be tested prior to being processed and extracted and then post processing, measurements should be standardised using Mass Spectrometry or HPLC.

Happy customers = sales = profits = sustainability.

Unless the industry itself – suppliers, manufacturers and the retailers – start moving in a direction of sourcing proper extracts and putting in the correct quantities, then consumers are going to remain unsatisfied, and chop and change.

Be the change.  Make the difference.  See our industry ethics page and order your extracts today.




Is your Sceletium Extract effective – 11 things to know when including this natural anti-anxiety ingredient in your product

There is a proliferation of information (some accurate and some very definitely not) out in the market about the new natural wonder for anti-anxiety and anti-stress.  There are also plenty of extracts claiming to have the right ‘purity’ etc to provoke the desired effect.  But not all extracts are created equally and this article attempts to inform manufacturers about what they should be looking for, when considering adding Sceletium to their anti-anxiety ,anti-stress, weight-loss or other remedies, whether as soft gels, pills or tinctures.

The world is cottoning on to the fact that natural remedies are as effective and even perhaps more potent than their chemically synthesised reproductions.   One such ‘natural medicine’ is the ancient African solution to stress and anxiety – Kanna or Sceletium tortuosum (sub-family: Mesembryanthemaceae).

Kanna has been historically used by the SAN people of Southern Africa as a means to connect with the sprit world.  This was achieved through a trancelike state effected by the chewing on this dried succulent groundcover and the subsequent swallowing of the enriched saliva.  It is not an hallucinogenic as often thought.

In the modern world, studies have shown that Sceletium tortuosum elevates mood and promotes a feeling of well-being. It achieves this through the active molecules in the plant (the whole plant), serving as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

11 is better than four

Historically, the focus has been on the first set of identified alkaloids, which weremesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol and tortuosamine.  But, the pharmacology of Sceletium is far more intricate though. Subsequent science has in fact, proven that it is the combination of ALL of the identified alkaloids working together that have the best effect.

Therefore, when looking to buy Sceletium tortuosum extracts, pharmacists and manufacturers should be looking for a ‘standardised’ total alkaloid content and not just a non-standardised mesembrine measurement, as mesembrine can differ from region to region and even from plant to plant.  In fact, there are currently 11 identified alkaloids and it is the sum of these that provokes the desired effect and not any single one in particular.  In measuring the total alkaloids, the geographical, environmental and climatic factors are mitigated.

S.tortuosum contains approximately 1 – 1.5% total alkaloids but can be extracted and concentrated to a purity of 10% (maximum and source material dependant).  This means that less extract is required in the final product.  Final products are now cheaper to make but because the ‘actives’ are purer, the desired result is achieved (see our post on how to keep a consumer happy).

Another key in the purchasing decision-making, is to look at the process by which these extracts are made – mostly trade secrets.   A good extract process will not involve harmful heat or chemicals that can lead to the denaturing of the source material and will have measured the plant material at source, throughout the process and post – and will happily provide these details.

Something not always considered when ordering this particular extract, what purpose the extract is being used for and what medium it is intended for, example, bar, juice, capsule etc.  This influences the extraction method. And it is vital that the extract company is informed upfront.  To explain, S.tortuosum as a raw material is extremely fickle and one of the most difficult extract processes to follow (if wanting to get the right results). If not done properly the active actually becomes salty negating and destroying its purpose. Performing an ethanol extract for capsule use won’t work for liquid based delivery mediums. Performing only a water extract, will not achieve the high purities.

The moral of the story – please make sure that when you are buying S.tortuosum, you are buying the real deal.  All the good that the science says this plant can do, will not be achieved if it is not at the right purities and the extracts are not standardised.

Click here to see study.  Send us a mail with any questions in regard to our high purities S.tortuosum products.  Contact.