MegaFood is a line of whole food supplements, and Foodstate goes to great lengths to find the right kind of whole food ingredients to yield the proper nutrients for its supplements, said Stacey Gillespie, director of new products. The company has used organic brown rice to supply the vitamin E and biotin found in a beauty-from-within supplement called Skin, Nails & Hair and a pre- and postnatal vitamin product called Baby & Me. The company had been sourcing the rice for these supplements from another supplier, but as the demand for MegaFood has grown, that supplier couldn’t keep up, Gillespie said.
“We have always sourced organic brown rice, even prior to our relationship with Lundberg Family Farms,” Gillespie told NutraIngredients-USA. “We used to purchase it from a small organic family farm in Arkansas. That farm couldn’t keep up with the amount of rice we needed to produce our products as we grew. Those two products have the highest concentration of brown rice per serving of all of our brands.”
Gillespie said the company had been looking for an alternative supply arrangement for several years, anticipating the day when the brown rice supply would become a growth bottleneck. When the Lundberg tie-up became available, Gillespie said it was a win-win for both parties. She said Foodstate anticipates that it will help drive new consumers to the supplement aisle and will help reinforce the image of attention to quality to sourcing that MegaFood already enjoys with its core consumers. And it will expose the Lundberg brand to a new set of consumers.
“In the natural products world, whether its a Whole Foods or a small independent store, you are always faced with trying to get people into the supplement aisle. We think this arrangement will help get more people into the supplement aisle. And when we co-brand with a brand that is familiar from the grocery aisle or the food section, there is an immediate connection and credibility for that product,” Gillespie said.
“When we promoted our vitamin C with Uncle Matt’s, a well-known brand in organic orange juice, it was well received,” she said.
Special category of consumer
Several years ago the United Natural Products Alliance conducted a consumer survey to test what consumers knew about where the ingredients in their supplements come from. The answer was, not much, and specifically the survey found that most consumers were unaware that most of the vitamins and many of the other ingredients in lower cost supplements sold in the US come from China.
So why does FoodState go to such great lengths in its supply arrangements if many consumers seem ignorant of what these efforts really mean? Gillespie said its part of the company’s DNA, and puts the company on the forefront of a picture that she believes is rapidly changing.
“There is a certain category of supplements, conventional supplements sold on price with ingredients that come from China. But we are a whole food brand and we are sourcing whole food ingredients into our products. The core consumers of our supplements are very particular and want to know where all of the ingredients are coming from,” Gillespie said.
“But we see those values being transferred to other consumers outside of our core group. For us it is of great value to be able to reassure our consumers that we know exactly where we are getting our ingredients from,” she said.