Amazon for ingredients: New e-commerce platform rolls out with transparency and factory-direct pricing

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Amazon for ingredients: New e-commerce platform rolls out with transparency and factory-direct pricing

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Ingredientsonline.com is promising to change the industry by allowing manufacturers in the US to purchase raw materials directly from overseas factories, providing considerable cost and time savings.

The company has invested in transparency, providing data on the origin of ingredients, and substantial QA/QC documentation and 24/7 real-time access to ingredient information, explained Peggy Jackson, VP of Sales and Marketing for ingredientsonline.com. Jackson, a 20 year industry veteran with over 15 years as the executive vice president of SupplySide, joined the company at the beginning of March, 2016.

The platform had its soft launch in the spring of 2015, so has been up and running for almost a year, and as of today has nearly 2,000 registered users and offers about 330 different ingredients, said Jackson. “Our customer list is very diverse both in terms of the size of the companies registered and the categories they operate in. In addition to dietary supplements we do a lot in pet food and supplements, as well as with flavor companies buying sweeteners,”​ she said.

Ingredientsonline.com allows manufacturers to purchase quality raw materials directly from overseas factories, providing considerable cost and time savings, said the company. The platform is exclusively for manufacturers in the US currently, said Jackson, with product being shipped from their warehouses in California and New Jersey.

The company is currently only working with factories in China, she said. “We have offices in China so it is easy for us to audit the factories there. We are also currently auditing factories in India, Ecuador and a few other places.”

A team of auditors evaluates the factories, and products are tested in-house, said Jackson. Once the materials pass the audits and tests, they are sent to a third party lab in the US for additional testing.

“Transparency is central to our platform,”​ said Jackson. “Nobody else has a website where you can see the price (we have tiered pricing). The QA/QC documents are all online and you just need to point and click and download them. We also show real-time inventory levels. And customers can know exactly which factory is supplying the ingredient.”

The site also provides auto-bidding, online chat, and a choice of shipping options.

The site mostly offers commodity ingredients, and no branded ingredients per se, she added. In addition to vitamins and minerals, they do have some specialty ingredients like CoQ10 and glucosamine.

Changing the industry?

“This innovative online platform is truly amazing and will certainly change the industry,”​ said Jackson.  “We have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of how ingredients are purchased as manufacturers begin to realize the increased productivity in man hours and cost savings per ingredient this platform delivers. 

“The long list of benefits for innovative companies looking for cost savings and production efficiencies is substantial.”

The company was founded by Sherry Wang, who has been active in the industry since the mid-90s. “Sherry has 20 years experiences working with FDA-regulated ingredients,”​ said Jackson.

“Ordering high-quality nutritional raw materials from global factories wasn’t always easy,” ​said Wang in a press release. “Historically, the process was time-consuming, saddled with middle-men brokers and importer fees, rife with shipping delays and product availability concerns. But I knew that, with the right technology and the right connections, ordering raw materials from global factories could be as simple as ordering a book from Amazon”.    

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