How To Choose A Custom Supplement Manufacturer
A private label product is manufactured by a contract or third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer’s brand name. As a retailer, you specify everything about the product including what ingredients go in it, how it’s packaged, and what the label looks like. Private label branding is a strategy that is becoming widely adopted by many retailers since it has many benefits, such as higher profit margins, lower operating costs and greater market stability.
On the other hand, common drawbacks that retailers sometimes experience when choosing this strategy include a dependency on the manufacturer and difficulty building customer loyalty. That said, choosing the right supplement manufacturer can make or break the success of your own company. In this blog, we will offer some tips on how to choose a custom supplement manufacturer as well as questions to keep in mind when you’re on the search for a long-term partnership.
The Basics: Certifications
The first thing to make sure of when looking for custom supplement manufacturers is if they are FDA registered. This allows manufacturers to operate legally and, while many reputable companies are registered, it’s still good to double check. Beyond just being FDA registered, you want to look to make sure they are either “Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)” compliant or cGMP certified. These are extra certifications that ensure your product is being made to the highest manufacturing standards.
Following cGMP protocols assures proper design, monitoring and control of manufacturing processes and facilities. While it is not necessary for a supplement manufacturer to be cGMP certified, we highly recommend finding a company that is either compliant or has the certification.
There are many other certifications a manufacturer can obtain. These include USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Kosher, and/or Gluten-Free certifications, to name some of the more popular ones. If the manufacturer is certified in any or all of these, it’s possible that your brand may also contain these seals on your product label which can potentially make your product more attractive to consumers. Many manufacturers advertise these certifications on their website and, if not, you can simply ask when meeting with them.
Price & Value
As the famous saying by Gabriel Biel goes, “you get what you pay for”, and this does not exclude custom supplement manufacturing services. Choosing which manufacturer you want to work with depends on your own business strategy and what kind of products you wish to offer your customers. For example, if your strategy entails targeting one-time buyers then you will probably settle for a manufacturer that makes mass-produced, cookie-cutter products that cost you less, but may not be as effective. On the other side of the spectrum, if your strategy is focused on creating long-lasting relationships with customers, investing in a manufacturer that hand-crafts niche and effective products would be a better fit.
Our recommendation? Look for value. Not the least expensive product. Your customers will thank you!
Quality & Uniqueness – “Not The Same Old Song & Dance”
It’s important to keep in mind that the herbal supplement industry is already highly competitive and is expected to grow substantially in the next decade or so. That said, our professional advice would be to find a manufacturer that can help you stand out from competing companies. A lot of companies are doing the same old thing, and that makes it really challenging (and expensive) for your product to actually be noticed.
So, how do you know if a supplement manufacturer can deliver a product that is unique and effective?
- Quality: While there are many types of herbal supplement products that you can get private label, they are not all created equal. You can tell the quality of a manufacturer’s products based on sourcing of ingredients (can we say organic, please!), their passion for what they do, and their commitment to testing. So, check with your manufacturer to see
- Probably the best way to stand out is the type of extraction methods used. For one, not only does it make your product unique if it’s something different, but the best extraction methods make your product effective and bioavailable which makes your customers want to use your product even more. Working with a manufacturer that specializes in more common extraction methods, such as your basic alcohol extraction, may result in a product that is generic and non-unique. The extraction process we recommend is both extremely unique and bioavailable and is called Spagyrics. Vera Herbals is the only co-manufacturer of spagyric remedies in the United States, which means your brand could have a significant competitive edge when it comes to product innovation.
The Ultimate Determinant: Customer Service
Arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a supplement manufacturer is their ability to provide the utmost customer service. Think about it this way: You are creating a long-term partnership with this company and being able to work together in a cohesive and harmonious way could potentially determine the success of your own company. That said, finding a manufacturer that puts your needs first and foremost as well as shares similar goals and values is detrimental. While it can sometimes be difficult to identify good customer service, some ways to tell if a company has good customer service include:
- Rapid response time
- Easy-to-access customer support options
- Willingness to be flexible
- Open and honest communication
If available, you can also read any reviews or testimonials written by companies that have previously or currently work with the manufacturer. This can give you good insight into what other retailers have experienced when working with the manufacturer. In addition, most companies have an “About Us” section on their website which can give you a pretty good sense of the company and their goals and values.
Other Factors to Consider
Some other factors to consider before deciding on a custom supplement manufacturer include:
- Capacity (what is the manufacturer’s minimum/maximum order quantity?)
- Turnaround time (how fast can you expect your finished product to arrive to you once you put in an order?)
- Consultation services (does the manufacturer offer any other services besides making your product, such as advice on regulatory compliance, labeling requirements or support to help market and sell your product?)
When it’s time to start talking to manufacturers about their services, it’s important to be prepared to ask the right questions to make sure they are the right fit for you. We’ve compiled a list of questions that sum up all the key points we talked about in this blog, as well as some other questions that may seem less obvious. These questions are:
- Are you FDA registered?
- Are you cGMP compliant or certified?
- Are you USDA Organic certified?
- Do you have any other certifications that my brand could use?
- What types of products do you offer?
- Where do you source your ingredients?
- What kinds of extraction processes do you use and how do they maintain the efficacy of the herbs?
- What makes your products different from other manufacturers?
- What are your company’s goals and values?
- What is your minimum/maximum order quantity?
- What is your turn-around time?
- Do you offer consultation services (i.e. regulatory compliance, labeling requirements, etc.)?
If you are wondering how to choose a custom supplement manufacturer, the best answer is to do your research. All of the factors discussed above are extremely important to consider and none of them should be overlooked. But when it comes down to it, we believe in finding a company who is fully invested in supporting the success of your own brand and whose values and goals align with your own. Click here to see if Vera Herbals is the right custom supplement manufacturer for you and your company!
“The difference between certified and compliant Is cgmp”. Center for Professional Innovation & Education, 20 July 2021, https://www.cfpie.com/the-difference-between-certified-and-compliant-is-cgmp.
Written by Kaitlyn Cranor & Nicole Wallace