What is in this article?:
Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, hosted a CEO Roundtable at CRN’s conference in Texas in early October. Joining Mister were:
- Vic Neufeld, CEO of Jamieson Laboratories
- Al Powers, president of NOW Foods
- Jim Hamilton, president of DSM Nutritional Products
Excerpted here are portions of the conversation focusing on market trends and regulations.
Mister: What keeps you up at night about this industry?
Hamilton: FDA keeps me up at night. I’m learning what constant mutation and challenge these guys are facing.
Powers: Media. You wake up one morning and there’s something in the news. It’s a constant threat against our industry. There are people who are very adversarial about dietary supplements. We need a positive message to instill trust among our customers.
Neufeld: A big event is something very harmful that has happened in this industry based on a tainted product. We know how the media loves to create a buzz story about negative stories. A big event will put a big sting on this industry.
Powers: For example, tryptophan in 1989. In that case it was a contamination problem.
Mister: What do you do at your company to not contribute to the problem?
Hamilton: We control our supply chain from stem to stern. There’s a tendency to bash third world supply sources. We operate all over the world – it’s not where it’s made, it’s how it’s made. Whether we have plants in Switzerland or China, we make it the same. Control of your whole supply chain is very important.
Powers: I couldn’t agree more. More and more we’re trying to control our supply chain. We need to protect our brand reputation. That’s part of our strategy going forward.
Hamilton: It’s not so easy. There was that publicly-traded China firm – they got knocked out of business.
Neufeld: Leading branded companies should be doing a process of QA/QC. Integrity and efficacy – all of that is ingrained in manufacturers, and you have to communicate that to Mrs. Smith in St. Louis, Missouri. Your company mantra should be, you’re not just a vitamin to buy, you’re the vitamin to buy. “That’s the label I’m looking for,” (the customer) has to think. Your quality seal should be on your every communication, whether it’s advertising or PR. It’s the quality your company stands for. So when the big event happens you have protection for consumers because they trust you.