Price cannot be the deciding factor. Rather, marketers should demand to work with suppliers based on the following criteria. If a company cannot meet each and every one, then a manufacturer should cease to consider that supplier.
• Trusted Expertise: Selecting a supplier that possesses the unique know-how and perspective that results from being the most researched ingredients in its field takes a huge weight off a manufacturer. This partner can bring insights on an ingredient’s mechanism, health benefits, formulation considerations, while also offering the security of making impactful marketing claims because their material has the substantiation to qualify.
• Research Leader: If faced with two competing ingredient companies, and one’s advantage is price while the other’s is having a substantial body of evidence to confirming its benefits, is it really a difficult decision? What value (and risk) does a low-cost ingredient bring to your brand and its reputation? For example, NattoPharma has more than 19 studies published in peer-reviewed journals where MenaQ7® was used as the actual source material, with results of several more scheduled to be announced in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
• Premium Product Quality: Superior products are the result of proprietary manufacturing processes that have been proven to work, a sound system of R&D support, regulatory compliance, and a powerful and IP and patent portfolio.
• Continuous Innovation: Manufacturers need to create products that stand apart on crowded shelves —whether that means offering a new delivery format or, answering market demand (i.e. allergen-free, non-GMO, etc.). Suppliers that work to evolve their brands by offering new versions of their signature ingredient(s) will allow for a wider variety of products to be formulated and launched.
• Educational Marketing: Supplement discussions in the media need substance to earn consumer attention, and a core topic should be the research-supported health benefits of certain ingredients (and the products where those ingredients can be found). When selecting a partner, consider if they have a fully developed science- and innovation-based marketing and communication platform (as NattoPharma does with MenaQ7®) that provides commercialisation support so products featuring that ingredient remains on the media’s radar.
• Cooperative Support: Consider a supplier’s presence after contracts are signed. Are they responsive to questions? Can they lend concrete ideas for product development and marketing, like structure-function claims advice? Look for a supplier that has close ties to research institutions and research and technological development entities, as well as being regulatory compliant.
Consumers demand that supplement products work as promised, and most will pay a premium for those products once trust is established. That trust stems from manufacturers selecting the right raw materials from solid, reputable companies that can help deliver product promises.