Transparency: Why it Matters in the Supplement Industry

The days where consumers just walked into a supplement store and picked up the most eye-catching label from the shelf are long gone. Back-in-the-day, it was common to matter-of-factly pick up a dietary supplement off the shelf and buy it without reading the ingredient list simply. They may have purchased this product because it looked “cool” or the flavor sounded delicious. Meanwhile, consumers had no idea what they were actually ingesting in their bodies and companies really didn’t care. Today, consumers want to know what they are getting in their product. They want to know what they are putting in their body and if it is going to be nutritional and clean.

Most supplement companies today are shifting the focus from products that are just aesthetically pleasing and an easy way to make profit. They making the shift to a simple concept: Transparency. While the label design and taste of the product is still important, being transparent with the customer is taking priority for many supplement companies.

What Does it Mean to be Transparent?

You’ve probably been hearing it pretty often recently: “being transparent is important” or “make sure there is transparency in your ingredients” but what does it actually mean to be transparent? It means being honest and upfront with your consumers. In many nutritional and dietary supplements, you will see ingredients known as artificial fillers. These fillers are additives to ingredients that help to bulk up the product with less expensive ingredients. And guess what: The FDA does not analyze the content of dietary supplements, so technically, with added fillers, you don’t really know what you’re ingesting.

Transparency means that your customer can read your label and know exactly what they are getting. To sum it up: Being honest. It means not being vague about your product, providing false claims, and hiding ingredients It also means providing accessibility to information concerning business practices. It’s about building a relationship with your consumer beyond brand loyalty. This of this as a personal relationship: without trust and transparency, it’s not a healthy relationship.

How to Be Transparent in Your Company:

Create CLEAN Products. Don’t try to take shortcuts or save a few dollars by using cheap artificial products. If your consumer can’t read a label and understand what that ingredient is, then you should probably re-think your formulations. For example: a whey protein should have simple ingredients. Whey Protein, Natural Flavors, and Xanthan Gum (a natural substance used for thickening). Notice what is missing? That’s right! Artificial Flavors and Fillers.

Being transparent doesn’t just end with your ingredients and your label. It also plays a role in your marketing efforts. When promoting your product, be honest about the benefits of the product. Don’t over exaggerate and make false claims. Develop talking points about the product that you know are actual outcomes of taking the product. Examples: Helps to reduce bloating or helps with muscle mass gain. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote your product; it just means you need to be honest about what the product actually does to help your consumer. Another way you can be transparent is in your promotion is through reviews. DO NOT POST FAKE REVIEWS. Your customers can see right through these. While it may be tempting to falsify how great your product is, consumers can figure out if your reviews are fake so just stick with letting real customers write your reviews.

Another area that you can be transparent is with your certification, accreditations, and product testing. If you an NSF cGMP facility, state that on your labels and on your website. Keep a record of your recent building inspections and make sure your building is up to code. Your consumers also want to know where the products are being made and having transparency in your manufacturing process is another way you can be truthful with your consumers. Peel back the curtain and share your manufacturing process. Inform your customers that the products are being tested for quality before they are packaged for purchase. Source clean ingredients from other trusted facilities to prove to your customers that you actually test your products. If they ask where your ingredients come from, make sure you know the source and are able to communicate this. If you are willing to share what was previously considered “privileged” information, this helps you not only be transparent, but authentic. It helps to remove any doubt or skepticism they may have had. Your customers deserve high quality products and they deserve to feel at ease when purchasing and using the products.

Why Being Transparent Can Help Your Company:

Being transparent with your consumers helps to build a new level of trust with your customers that brand loyalty cannot build alone. Sure, your customers learn to trust you over a period of time from word-of-month, trying your product for themselves, seeing a good level of consistency in your items, or having learned your customer service is exceptional. However, why not start to build that brand loyalty before they even buy your product? When a customer is reading your label and they see that transparency, right away you are building that loyalty. They are already starting to see that you value them as a human. You value the hard-earned money they are spending on your product because you want them to not only trust you, but understand the product as well. Being transparent can help with your ROI and overall brand loyalty- because if you’re honest with your customers from the beginning, you are more likely to have that customer for life.