If you’re worried about stricter government regulations in the dietary supplement industry, don’t be
The good news is that dietary supplements continue to grow as an industry. In the last decade, sales of dietary supplements have quadrupled, and there seems to be no end in sight. The not-so-good news is that this growth has not gone unnoticed by the FDA, which means that more and more of their attention is focused on regulating the industry.
As marketers, this dynamic has had us holding our breath for some time. Regulation is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, one of the major barriers the dietary supplement and natural health industry faces with consumers is establishing legitimacy, and it is possible that getting the thumbs-up from FDA could remove that barrier. On the other hand, over-regulation could stop our industry in its tracks.
If marketing pharma brands has taught me anything, it’s that jumping through the legal hoops FDA constructs is not only costly, but also frustrating, and it can slow down and even completely disengage the full force of even the most resilient marketing campaign.
Needless to say, I have been watching this issue closely, wondering how the industry will react. Then I recently read an extremely knowledgeable and insightful article by Lisa Schofield hat put the whole issue into perspective for me. According to Ms. Schofield, the inevitable issue of stricter government regulation is not all good or all bad, but simply a challenge that she is sure the dietary supplement industry can overcome.
The main takeaway for me is that the dietary supplement industry is already taking a cue from the new consumer demand for “real, whole foods grown, manufactured and packaged in manners evocative of a pre-industrial age.” If this is what consumers are asking for, and what the nutrition industry is delivering—without scientific slights of hand or outlandish health claims—what really does the FDA have to regulate?
Innovations in product development continue to increase demand, but those innovations are not necessarily new and more complicated formulations. They are more convenience-based innovations such as new delivery methods (chews, stick packs, gels, shots, gummies, etc.) or exciting new flavors.
On the whole, manufacturers are already focused on simpler labels and formulations. In a sense, they have regulated themselves, so the “big fear” of FDA oversight may not be anything to fear at all.
Click on the following link to read Lisa Schofield’s article, “Dietary Supplements: Onward…and Upward?” Or, you may also be interested in reading:
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/3402851924/”>epSos.de</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.