People are caught between what is perceived and what actually is. In the case of organic supplements, the word “organic” is highly misleading.
So while people are harped at to eat better diets, lose weight, increase health or suffer from a myriad of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, increased risk of stroke, osteoarthritis, coronary artery disease (CAD) and congestive heart disease their attempt to comply is undone by the very labels they read. The common person has been duped by labeling laws that allow for the purposeful misleading of key terms and a lack of understanding of what organic means.
The problem is that people continue to think that organic means 100 percent organic when it can mean only a percentage of the ingredients are organic. The solution is brands that educate the consumer about what organic means while taking advantage of the purity of true organic supplements.
Organic Labeling Laws
Under the current organic labeling laws which are in the realm of the USDA,  a product must meet three criteria.
1. The product’s production must be one that does not include excluded methods. Those would be things like GMO ingredients. There is a whole list of excluded methods including the use of sewage sludge or products or ingredients that undergo ionizing radiation. 
In terms of organic food or products such as organic beauty products, GMO is bad enough but to actually consider that people must be told not to use sewage sludge is a bit undoing.
2. Products that are organic must be made using approved ingredients which are listed in great detail on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances list. The list is broke down into sections including on that is a synthetic substances list of allowed use such as sodium carbonate peroxy-hydrate as an herbicide or and plastic mulch covers excluding those made using PVC.
Already you begin to see the complexity by which “organic” is really twisted away from meaning purely natural to a definition that fits the idea of organic into the American manufacturing and commercial agriculture industries. Is this organic? It is not the picture that many Americans have when they buy a product that says organic. In fact, labeling laws allow for phrases such as “made with organic ingredients” which implies the product is organic. However, what it really means is that some of the ingredients in the product are organic. So does that make the product organic? Not so much, no.
3. All organic products including foods, supplements, and beauty aids must be overseen by the UDSANational Organic Program and obtain a certification from that agency. What this tells us is that even with the use of plastic mulch covers, and synthetic “natural” chemicals, that the USDA approves of the current state of organic labeling.
The real question is where does this leave the American consumer. The answer is that as consumers we are not in a good place when it comes to purchasing or understanding organic products and their labeling. An organic apple juice only made from five variety of apples only needs one certified organic apple to have the phrase “made with organic apple juice.” That labeling laws are highly misleading as the consumer easily makes the jump that all five apples are organic when in fact they are not all organic. That is the very crux of why organic is a problem for consumers.
The Implication is Key
It is fairly safe to way that many American’s are beginning to question the loyalty of government organizations such as the USDA and the FDA. In fact, consumers are questioning the consciousness of US food manufacturers. We see this in the massive rise in organic food sales. We see this by measuring consumer response and in statistics that paint the picture of what consumers buy. The USDA says that organic product sales now account for four percent of the food sales within the US. You can buy organic foods in grocery stores, natural food stores, and at farmer’s markets. Organic brands are increases as the demand for organic products remains high as seen through the higher prices paid by consumers for organic foods. However, the numbers really show why this is important.
In 2012, organic food sales topped $28 billion dollars in the US. In 2014, the market share grew to an estimated $35 billion and it is expected that the growth of organic food products will continue to rise in 2017. In fact, the American consumer is ready for organic foods. We see this in the growth of farmer’s markets. In 1994, there were only 1,755 farmer’s markets in the US. In 2013, the number of farmer’s markets swelled to a whopping 8,144. Communities are coming onboard with organic foods. 
That type of growth is amazing and it points to a real opportunity. Not only is the market for organics taking off, but the niche for real organics is wide open. the USDA states that there are four categories of organic products and labels.  Those include:
- 100 percent organic — All products must be certified organic as well as the processing aids. 
- Organic — Must be at least 95 percent organic or from the list of products that allows for organic.
- Made with Organic — Must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
- Made with Organic (Specific) Ingredients
The only category here that is all organic is the one that is called 100 percent organic. That is the niche. By educating consumers, and focusing on 100 percent organic ingredients you open a door that separates supplements, diet aids, and other products from products that are not 100 percent organic, merely organic, made with organic ingredients, or contains an organic ingredient. Once you divide 100 percent you can never go back. It is that purity that consumers expect and by showing them that is what you produce, your market opens.
The opportunity to take advantage of current USDA labeling separates the organic wheat from the non-organic sheaf. Is this an opportunity to elevate your product? Yes. It is an opportunity to manufacture supplements that exceed current market standards? Yes. The real question is how can 100 percent organic change your current products and market share? If the current craze with organic food consumption is any indication, then 100 percent organic in supplements is a new multi-billion dollar industry.
People are more health-conscious than ever before, and this is reflected in the booming vitamin and supplement industry. Phil started his company, Brain Essentials, from a one-room apartment just after college, and moved to a 2,500 square foot warehouse just two years later. He’s made great strides, but is now looking to break through to the next level.
He’s asked for feedback from his customer base and researched current market trends. The consistent message he’s received from customers is a desire for more high-quality supplement choices. He’s also ready to raise more awareness about his product line and brand ethos.
Taking this feedback into consideration, Phil has made some key strategic and marketing moves for Brain Essentials, and it’s paid off exponentially. Perhaps your supplement business can benefit from this experience? Consider the following 12 ideas to help breathe new live into your vitamin and supplements business:
1. Become a More Valuable Resource
Increasing numbers of people are buying their vitamins online. However, before they make their decisions about products and brands, they are doing their homework. How well does your current website explain your product line and how each supplement can enhance well being? Resolve in 2017 to make your online presence a valuable educational resource for clients so that they keep returning – and ultimately buy more supplements from you.
2. Master Social Media
Is your social media game all that it could be? Most everyone is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so you’ll want to create a compelling presence on all the top platforms. Ensure that your branding and logo are consistent with your website and marketing material across all platforms. Post shareable, click-worthy content that sets your brand apart from the rest. Connect it with your growing database of articles and blog posts on your website so that news and interest about your brand can go viral.
3. Banner Ads and Pay Per Click
Online advertising is crucial to success in the current supplement market space. Without traffic at your website and online store, you won’t make the big sales numbers you’re looking for. As you wait for numbers from social media to increase, consider buying banner ads and pay-per-click advertising from sites your target audience frequents and using your most relevant keywords.
4. Affiliate Programs
It has worked for Amazon and countless other companies. Why not pay others to spread the word about you? An affiliate program pays other website owners and bloggers a percentage for any sale that comes through their site. Affiliate programs motivate other bloggers to write about you and profile your products so that more vitamin users can learn about your offerings.
5. Your First Impression
Assess the home page of your website. Do you love what you see, or is it looking a bit dated? Perhaps it’s time for a refresh? Remember that you only have one chance to make a first impression. This extends to your social media pages and marketing material as well. Does your logo and approach to marketing have that “wow” factor? If not, 2017 is the time to make a positive change and set yourself apart.
6. Video Media
If it’s in the budget, consider having a professionally produced infomercial made to air on television. If that’s not quite in the budget, a television commercial can get your product and company in front of more sets of eyes. At the very least, you should have a YouTube channel and/or video advertising campaign. Our culture is very visual, and video advertising can be just what’s needed to catapult your brand to the next level. If possible, get a local celebrity or talented athlete to appear in the ads and endorse your products.
7. Stay True to Yourself
Why did you get into the supplement business in the first place? It was likely a passion for health and a desire to share that passion with others. Perhaps vitamins or supplements have helped you to overcome an illness, become a better athlete or substantially raise your quality of life? Don’t be afraid to tell your story, or at the very least, ensure that it shines through in the spirit of your brand. Your story and connection to a healthy lifestyle will inspire others to seek the same, and they’ll feel a more personal connection to your business and brand.
8. Magazine and Radio Advertising
Ads in health, beauty and fitness magazines as well as radio spots are a time-tested way to raise awareness about a supplement brand, and they can still be an effective component of a multi-pronged approach.
9. Grassroots Advertising
While the hope is that more of your target audience will come across magazine or radio advertising while they are sitting in waiting rooms, you can also use a more grassroots approach. Make your own brochures and flyers and ask to leave them in the waiting rooms and reception areas for gyms, salons, spas, and other clinics that attract a high volume of your target audience.
10. Classes, Camps and Trade Shows
Become active in the health and wellness community by hosting or sponsoring relevant classes and health camps. You can also raise awareness about your company and products by participating as a vendor in trade shows.
11. Stay Flexible
The supplements market is changing rapidly, and there seems to be a new trend every few months or so. Supplement company owners should stay aware of these trends and prepare to adapt to the changing marketplace in order to better serve their customers.
12. Reassess Your Partnerships
One of the most important things Phil of Brain Essentials did was to change his supplement manufacturer. His past supplier had missed some deadlines, and his customers had become more discerning about the ingredients and additives included in their supplements.
Partnering with a company like ABH Natures can take your line of vitamin and supplement products to new levels. You can expand your product line and offer a more impressive array of high-quality capsules, softgels, tablets, liquids and powders. Doing so can substantially increase your customer base and brand loyalty.
Vitamin and supplement businesses face stiff competition in a crowded marketplace. However, Phil never lost sight of the reason he started Brain Essentials.
While Phil may be a fictional character in a story, the ideas discussed here have provided marketing gold to many vitamin and supplement businesses. Give these 12 approaches a try for your company in 2017, and make it your most profitable year yet!
Bodybuilding champions are the embodiment of physical accomplishment. They merge heavy weight lifting with calorie-burning cardiovascular and aerobic training to create the leanest, most muscular physiques on the planet.
Since Arnold Schwarzenegger brought the muscle sport into the mainstream during the 1970s, our ideas about fitness have drastically changed. Looking strong and fit was no longer the standard. The 7-time Mr. Olympia set the mark with a large, and most importantly “ripped” muscularity that could only be achieved through rigorous exercise and low calorie dieting.
When a competitive bodybuilder walks on stage, his body fat can be as low as 2 percent. It seems an almost impossible feat to carry that much super-lean muscle mass. What many of these athletes do to arrive at the lowest possible body fat number on competition day is to integrate a three-phase training, diet and supplement regimen. If you’re in the sports nutrition brand or Nutraceuticalcontract manufacturing industry, it’s important to understand the needs of people in this popular sport.
In the off season, bodybuilders take different approaches to body weight. Some like to stay within 10-15 pounds of competition weight all year. Others will bulk up, lift heavy and tack on as much as 70 pounds of not-so-lean weight. However, most train steadily all year and do some cardio. An average of 20 pounds over competition weight is pretty standard for these iron men.
- Training: At 12 weeks out, weight training starts to pick up in terms of pace and reps. No one wants to drop mass, so it’s common to level off at poundages that athletes can get eight reps per set. That increases the fat burn and will help to continue adding mass. They’ll start light daily cardio training at a reasonable pace.
- Diet: It’s time to get into a diet routine that balances protein, cards and fats. Most bodybuilders follow the 50 percent of their calories from protein rule. Then, 40 percent come from carbs and 10 percent from fat. In the first month of competitive training, athletes will be at about 2,500 calories and need to take in one gram of protein for every pound of body weight. Balancing those dietary needs won’t be terrible difficult. Most space out six small meals daily. Lean chicken breast, potatoes and fruits are on the table. But a few things will go, like red meat, cereal, milk and other food sources that provide important nutrients.
- Supplements: As a sports nutrition provider, these athletes will have increasing vitamin and supplements needs as they move closer to competition. But from the get go, they should be taking: 1) Multivitamins to replace the loss of nutrition from reduced food intake. 2) Protein shakes and products to maintain a consistent protein-to-bodyweight ratio. 3) Glutamine and other essential amino acids to help build and maintain muscle tissue.
If you’re involved in high quality Nutraceutical contract manufacturing, consider these specific needs for customers in early bodybuilding cycles.
At about eight weeks out, a bodybuilder should have shed 10 pounds, or be about 10 pounds away from competition weight. It starts coming off fast during the next four weeks.
- Training: Reps are going to start going up. Athletes stick with poundages they can push 8-12 reps per set. Cardio training should increase about 50 percent. If they were running two miles, it bumps up to three. Swimming is one of the best things athletes do for overall fat burning and it’s put far less pounding on the knees.
- Diet: Here’s where things start to get tough. Calorie intakes should drop to about 2,000 per day. Keep in mind that these athletes still need to hit those protein and carb marks. No protein, no muscle. No carbs, no energy. Generally, some of the designated fat calories go. Between the calorie reduction, higher reps and increased cardio activity, bodybuilders are in a world of hurt. They are starving at times, feel undernourished and probably can’t survive a workout without three cups of coffee.
- Supplements: This is a great time to connect with bodybuilders. There’s no shame in suggesting some over-the-counter diet supplements. Recommend those that help suppress the appetite, increase energy and fit in with dietary restraints. They’ll also need to stock up on bottled water. Tap water is a big no-no because of additives. With the calorie reduction, athletes often cut out any juice and most fruits. All of those nutrients will need to be replaced with vitamins.
The largest immediate supplement needs will be Vitamins B, C, D, E. These help the body to continue building muscle and stay healthy even though they are going through a negative calorie burn. It’s a good idea to have these vitamins in stock as separate items, above multivitamins.
Protein supplements are also a bodybuilder’s saving grace. Each gram of protein has about four calories. For a 200-pound athlete, that’s a minimum of 800 calories from protein daily. Bodybuilders may be looking to buy protein supplements in bulk that have the fewest additives, are low in sodium and low in calories. If they haven’t already, bodybuilders should be including Creatine into their supplement regimen to increase that burst of muscle energy they require for rigorous training. Check out products from Nutraceutical contract manufacturing. They have an excellent about best practices reputation.
With four weeks left until competition, athletes should be within five pounds of stage weight. Often, they discover they’re really 8-10 pounds away. The water weight will start peeling off in these last few weeks.
- Training: There isn’t a weight in the gym they’ll lift that they can’t get eight reps minimum out of. Most avoid supersets because they exhaust energy reserves quickly. Cardio training should be double that of Phase 1. Keep in mind, there is very little chance these athletes can add any muscle at this point. The goal is purely to shed the remaining fat and water weight. Successful athletes often put the screaming in pain, lifting heavy weights attitude in their rearview. The focus is on strong exercise, getting ripped and emerging with a defined physique. Tearing down muscle will just overly deplete nutritional resources and leave the body flat.
- Diet: It’s likely they’ll need to reduce another 300 calories to get under 5 percent body fat. There are important shifts that happen in terms of where to get carbs and protein. For carbs, oatmeal and brown rice beat fruits. Eggs harbor too much sodium, so it’s mainly chicken breast. Athletes also start monitoring their sodium intake. Sodium can create water retention and that will make them appear bloated, even though they are truly not. Again, this will reduce the necessary nutrition the body requires.
- Supplements: One of the biggest needs these athletes will have during this last four weeks is Potassium. The body often uses sodium when its potassium levels are depleted. Obviously, bodybuilders are purposely lowering their sodium intake to shed water. Potassium supplements are a key product to offer because it won’t be abundant in their low-calorie diet. One trick some bodybuilders use before posing on stage is to take niacin. It can make blood vessels dilate and flush the skin. If you’re a supplier, recommend they try it a few times before the big day. It can also make people feel uncomfortable at first.
Successful bodybuilding training requires a steady, methodical approach to exercise, diet and nutrition. This three-phase approach should provide sports nutrition brand owners a look into what vitamins and supplements to offer competitive bodybuilders at each level of training, based on their athletic and dietary needs. May the pump be with you.