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Ecommerce trends: The rise of the ‘new consumer’ post pandemic

The pandemic has turned people’s lives upside down worldwide and Christmas 2019 feels like a distant, foreign memory. But what impact will Covid-19 have on this year’s peak sales season?

Operations Experience firm parcelLab, has reviewed recent studies and statistics that point to this year’s peak being the most digital ever. They identify who the ‘New Consumer’ is and what they expect when shopping online during Black Friday and Christmas 2020 in their latest report ‘Peak 2020: Meet the ‘New Consumer’.

The New Consumer has become more domestic

The New Consumer spends most of their time at home – it has become the hub of the ‘New Normal’. They work, relax and socialise at home.

Whether, it’s virtual fitness classes, theatre performance, online wine seminars or zoom birthday parties, almost every aspect of the New Consumer’s life has moved online this year.

In just three months, Zoom gained 190 million daily users and Netflix subscriber numbers grew by 16 million in five months.

As a result, this New Consumer has invested heavily in making this space comfortable – we saw this from the vast increase in sales of furniture and DIY at the beginning of the pandemic. But it’s not just homeware that the New Consumer is purchasing.

One in five consumers report that they have bought more online since the pandemic began and intend to continue doing so in the future.

Hello Fresh generated one million new customers in the first quarter alone and reported record sales growth of 40 to 50 percent compared to the previous year. And online retail in the US generated the same growth rates in three months that the industry predicted in 10 years.

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that this peak season will see record online sales. But how successful will Black Friday and Christmas sales actually be? A look back at the year 2019 shows that, according to figures from parcelLab, parcel volume in the electronics sector increased by 186 percent during Christmas 2019 compared to the rest of the year.

In the beauty and food retail sector, the number of parcels dispatched rose by 62 percent. But these records were still broken during lockdown in March and April 2020.

Compared to November and December 2019, parcel volume in the electronics sector rose by another 17.25 percent and by 19.46 percent in the beauty and food industry.

You can download parcelLab’s latest report: Peak 2020: Meet the ‘New Consumer’ here

What the Heck Are POSTbiotics?

At this point almost everyone is aware of the benefits of probiotics, but postbiotics is a new term for most of us. These are byproducts of probiotics’ fermentation process inside your intestines, and recent research presents evidence that most of the positive effects we used to attribute to probiotics might actually be due to postbiotics – wait, what?!


To put it simply, prebiotics proceed and are needed for the creation of probiotics, and probiotics proceed and are needed for the creation of postbiotics:

Prebiotics: Prebiotics are the “food” for the probiotics. They are types of dietary fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in the gut, which helps them to survive and thrive.

Probiotics: Probiotics are the live microorganisms themselves. They have been credited with promoting a multitude of health benefits including gut health, inflammation, mood support, and weight loss.

Postbiotics: Postbiotics are created when the probiotics eat the prebiotics. Often called “metabolites”, as they are the result of a metabolic process, these components result from probiotic activity in the gut, like fermentation.

Just as different strains of probiotics provide different health benefits, they also produce different kinds of metabolites. These “postbiotic metabolites” can fall into many different categories:

  • Bacteriocins – Protective compounds that kill off or inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria.
  • Enzymes – Help with the digestive process and aid in detoxification.
  • Vitamins – For example, the B vitamins and vitamin K.
  • Amino acids – The building blocks of protein.
  • Neurotransmitters – Carry messages between the nerves and the brain.
  • Immune-signaling compounds – Help support the body’s immune cells.
  • Short-chain fatty acids – Help keep the intestinal lining strong and healthy.
  • Nitric oxide – Critical for cardiovascular health.
  • Organic acids – For example, fulvic and humic acids. They combine with minerals, making them easier to absorb and help maintain the correct pH in the GI tract.

Additionally, just as a wide range and variety of probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in improving overall health and helping to improve specific health conditions, research to date indicates that postbiotics provide very similar direct and significant health benefits.

Benefits of Postbiotics

Many elements in our environment impact our overall health. Some of these are easily within our control, such as getting enough water and exercise or limiting the amount of junk food we eat.  Meanwhile there are also things that may have a negative effect on us that we aren’t even aware of or are more difficult for us to control, such as many medications, chlorine in our drinking water, pesticides on our lawns or chemicals in our home-cleaning products. These negative factors can reduce the overall density and diversity of our intestinal bacteria, which is why so many people now look to probiotic dietary supplements for support.

As we are now recognizing the additional benefits of postbiotics in these formulations, we can begin to think about how we would formulate and position a private label supplement to take advantage of these benefits. Here are some of the many health benefits that postbiotics can offer:

1. Supports probiotics – Of course, probiotics and postbiotics are going to work together, along with prebiotics, in their own symbiotic dynamic. But far beyond being just a food source for probiotics, as prebiotics are, postbiotics actually work together with probiotics to provide beneficial effects on human health.

2. May help lower blood sugar and prevent obesity – A lack of intestinal microbe balance has been shown to contribute to obesity and insulin resistance. A postbiotic bacterial component called muramyl dipeptide has been shown to relieve glucose intolerance by increasing insulin sensitivity.  

3. Treats Diarrhea – It has been long known that probiotic foods and supplements can be helpful in treating diarrhea. Research is now showing that this benefit is actually mostly due to the postbiotics, rather than the prebiotics themselves.

4. Antimicrobial properties – Like probiotics do, postbiotics also populate within the gut to effectively replace the growth of “bad bacteria”, contributing to a healthier ecosystem. They also possess bacteria-fighting properties to help fight infection.

Advantages in Formulating Private Label Supplements with Postbiotics

Postbiotics can be included into your private label probiotic supplement in a couple of ways. The postbiotics can be produced on their own, in a lab, and then added into these formulations to form complete “biotic formulas” (just wait – you’ll be seeing this soon), or your probiotic manufacturer can help you develop your product using a variety of prebiotics and probiotics with the goal of creating a diverse postbiotic matrix.

There are some advantages in formulating with, or with the goal of creating, postbiotics in your private label probiotic supplement:

Provides an Option for those with Autoimmune Conditions – Sometimes, live probiotics can signal various organs and tissues in the host to react in a way that causes a negative effect – like with an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body. As the postbiotics are not unfamiliar in the gut like some of these probiotics strains can be, they are considered to be a safe alternative for those with autoimmune conditions. Additionally, people with inflammatory bowel conditions (IBD, IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, etc.) may not benefit from probiotics, and in fact they may inflame those conditions (pun intended). Postbiotics, however, may actually protect against this inflammation.

An Opportunity to Increase Shelf-Life of Benefits – There are two main challenges with private label probioticsupplements and postbiotics helps with both of them:

1) Stability. It is a challenge to work with live organisms and not kill or injure them during the manufacturing process.

2) Shelf-life. As they are alive, they basically start dying the minute they are created, and typically only survive for 2 to 3 years in any amount that is still beneficial for health.

If you choose to work with your manufacturing partner to create a postbiotic blend for your private label formula, you end up with components, the metabolites, that provide just as many health benefits as probiotics but are not alive. Therefore, they are much more stable to manufacture with and should provide for a longer shelf-life, as well.

Postbiotics are gaining attention in the world of dietary supplement and functional food manufacturing because of their clinically-supported health benefits, safety for a previously unaddressed population (the immunocompromized), longer shelf life, and stability during the manufacturing process.

Expect to see and hear more about postbiotics over the next several months and years, as they are likely to be the next up-and-coming health-boosting component in the world of probiotic products.

If you would like to see more information about new trends in nutritional science, please follow us on Facebook or Linkedin so you can stay up to date with our latest content.

How Has COVID Impacted the Sports Supplement Industry?

In our current COVID-19 world, we have had to adjust to a new way of doing things. We minimize our exposure by making fewer trips to the grocery store, if we go at all, and our new fitness center is the living room, or the park. Thankfully we still have a few more months to take advantage of the nice weather, but cold and flu season is on the way, leading many to wonder how they will continue to stay strong and healthy – inside and out.

Link Between Sports Supplements and COVID/Immune Support

One very promising area of interest is in utilizing current sports nutrition supplements to support immune health. For example, researchers have found that carnosine reduced acute lung injury caused by H9N2 swine flu. One easy and affordable way to increase levels of carnosine in the body is by consuming beta-alanine – an ingredient commonly used in sports supplement formulations. In sports nutrition, beta-alanine is included to help enhance muscular endurance, prolonging time to fatigue and improving athletic performance. Other ingredients that are being looked at for their immune benefits and are also widely available in dietary sports supplements are glucosamine, chondroitin, creatine, curcumin, phytochemicals and bioflavonoids. These ingredients offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are helpful in preventing illness and reducing inflammation and injury.

Consumers Not Traveling or Exercising in Public Places

As a result of travel restrictions and people not exercising in shared spaces, the need for portable or on-the-go supplement options such as bars, RTDs (Ready-To-Drink) and stick packs is temporarily on hold. This will likely be the case for some time, because the rules will continue to require social distancing and because our behaviors and attitudes about what is “necessary” have changed. Our going-out choices, along with our purchasing choices, have been, most likely permanently altered. This shift in consumer priority and need will require private label supplement manufacturers like NutraCap Labs to provide innovation in that goes beyond the functionality of convenient packaging and addresses the concern for immunity and recovery.

The Future of Sports Supplements – Innovation

The dietary supplement industry is ever evolving, and that is especially true of the sports nutrition category. There will always be a push for new and exciting products. So where will that innovation come from?


There has been a continuous and increasing demand over the past several years for sports supplements and other private label supplements to be convenient for the active, on-the-go consumer. Daily packs, bars, and beverages that can go from the gym bag to the car to the hotel have been popular among consumers. (We hadn’t quite topped the wave and come down the other side yet of all of the waste these smaller packages create – but that’s a different post.) These types of packages are poorly positioned for the needs of today’s consumer, who is far less likely to be using these products outside of the home.

As a result, there will be a growing shift towards more economic packages offering value, recyclability, and sustainability. (Pro tip: These larger packages allow for a lot more outer surface area to talk about the additional benefits of these products!)  This trend is so prevalent that it even extends to consumers wanting vegan capsules due to environmental concerns.  Sustainability is shifting from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” for many consumers and companies in the in the sports supplements industry, tying in with key values in caring about health and the environment. Keep an eye on sustainable packaging trends in the future as it’s likely we will see more practical and economic options in the not too distant future.  From the use of bio-based materials to recycle-friendly shrink-film, options exist to make your finished private label supplement fully recyclable. These types of packages will continue to gain in popularity, and are what you want to be exploring for your product line.


Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are remarkably resilient and their ability to adapt to the current pandemic is no different.  They know that the best way to stay healthy amidst this pandemic is to “just keep swimming” – or running, or lifting, or yoga’ing. They also understand the benefits of good nutrition, and the impact that has on their performance and overall health. These consumers have continued to use their trusted supplements for endurance, muscle recovery and strength, but we’re starting to see a shift in focus to a different kind of strength that will help to prevent them from getting sick. 

In addition to the beta-alanine we mentioned above, there are other tried-and-true sports ingredients that are also powerhouses for immune support – most people just don’t know about them yet:

Creatine is a popular organic acid that is commonly used in sports supplements by bodybuilders and athletes. A new study has found that creatine provides vital support to the immune cells to better fight cancer. Creatine uptake is vital to the anti-tumor activities of CD8 T cells, (also called killer T cells),  which are the immune cells tasked with finding and destroying the infected cells.

BCAAs are another extremely popular sports supplement. Daily intake of BCAA has been shown to improve the immune response among athletes undergoing endurance training. Additionally, BCAAs can be used by immune cells within the gut as a fuel source, which allows the immune system to regenerate itself more efficiently and protect against harmful pathogens. In short, BCAA can aid in the building of a strong immune system, which aids in recovery and makes you less likely to get sick.

These established sports ingredients and many more are being studied by leading researchers all over the world, who continue to identify their abilities to provide immune support. In the meantime, they offer great opportunities for sports supplement brands to highlight the dual-benefit of both sports performance and immunity. 

Tell us how your use of sports supplements has changed as a result of COVID?

The #1 Social Media Tactic for Supplement Startup Brands

It is almost impossible to have a successful business today without being involved with social media. The use of social networks has become a part of every successful supplement brand’s marketing campaign. These platforms can help to increase brand awareness, share product information, and even generate leads. This is especially important for startups that are operating with lean budgets in a crowded market.

The problem is that most brands approach social media like a one-way street. They feel that if they just start posting and talking about themselves, people will be interested. And then if that doesn’t work, they figure they probably need to start talking about themselves even more! OK, hold on a minute!

Back in the old days (72months ago) this may have worked a little because there were only a million businesses on Facebook and Instagram was still a baby. But now there are estimated to be nearly 80 million businesses on Facebook alone, and those businesses are posting more than ever before. So, with all of these businesses talking about themselves, it’s become an extremely loud and noisy one-way street. Meanwhile, a recent study called “AudienceProject” by Statistica showed that only 17% of Facebook users where interested in following brands on social media. The most popular uses were actually ……. spying on ex-lovers (just kidding)! There were three big ones that account for the majority of interactions. They are as follows, in order of priority:

  1. Socializing with friends and family
  2. Entertainment
  3. Get news

So, what do we take from this? If you want to be successful going forward on social media, stop focusing so much on talking about yourself and start being, well………… Social. 

Feedback is a Supplement Startup Brand’s Best Friend:

Let’s begin by making it a two-way street. Start making at least one post per week a question. Find out what your audience likes, what their favorite things are, get to know them. Remember, people are mainly there to socialize with friends and family and to be entertained. Imagine a brand that actually cares what its audience is thinking! The most successful brands on social media act like friends, not businesses. These platforms are a way to get personal while not being in-person. Because of the instantaneous interaction these networks create, you have an opportunity to collect feedback quickly in several different ways:

  • Monitor the discussions and comments. Listen to what they are saying about your brand and use the information to improve your outreach. ***Also, look at the conversations happening on your competitor’s pages!
  • Respond to them. Answer their questions, let them know you are listening to their feedback, address their concerns in real time, ask them what they want!

Responding to your customers and followers changes these posts from being a one-sided conversation to a place where people share and have authentic interactions. It is, after all, SOCIAL media.

Use these platforms to let people know a little bit about who you are, what your supplement brand is all about, and why they should care. At the same time, learn about them.

Social Surveys 101:

Social media can be a fast, free, and effective way for supplement startup brands to get valuable market research if they are looking to grow fast. Surveys are a great way to do this. You can setup a survey yourself, or there are some simple apps that make it easy and interactive. Surveys provide all kinds of valuable insights:

  • Identify who your followers and customers are – confirm you are connecting with your target demographic.
  • Test out new concepts – such as packaging ideas or new products.
  • Learn about how your product is being used – where are your supplements being taken, and why are they choosing yours. This helps you refine existing products and create new ones.
  • Get customer testimonials – let your customers share their love of your products and let that word-of-mouth endorsement spread to other followers.

Social surveys are a great way to find out about your customers and followers. Find out what they like, what they want, and who they are.

Following Up Gets You Followers!

Whether you’re talking about Facebook, Instagram or even Tiktok, you want to grow a pool of what are called “followers”. People who have purposefully connected to your brand through that social channel, essentially subscribing to see your future content. There are a few ways to do this. You could buy them – there are lists and services that help you do that, but this can lead to problems. For instance, if you’re hitting the feeds of unengaged followers that don’t fit your target demographic, they won’t be followers for long. This is where you need to focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY. You want quality followers who are interested in your products, earning them organically through your engagement.  So, post content people like or want to share, encourage conversations about your products, ask questions about how they are being used, and learn about your customers and what they are looking for. Also, (pro tip) Facebook has a feature that allows you to send “follow invites” to anyone who has commented or liked your posts. So again, back to the theme of this article, if you are having conversations, you are going to drive comments and posts which can then be converted to followers.

So, what’s the #1 social media tactic for startup supplement brands? Answer: Be Social!

Encourage conversations, engagement, and sharing by acting more like a friend than a brand. By doing this, social media can help your supplement startup to reach more people, make real-time connections with them and use that engagement to help you stand out in a crowded market.   

Speaking of engagement, what did you think? If this article was helpful, please share on social and tag us – we’ll take that as a signal that you want more!

Why Use Trademarked Ingredients in Private Label Supplements?

Three out of every four Americans consume a dietary supplement of some kind every day. Unfortunately, most consumers lack a solid understanding of the many different supplement ingredients – how they work, what forms are best absorbed, or optimal dosage. This is where the inclusion of a trademarked ingredient can be helpful.

What are trademarked supplement ingredients?

When scanning the label of a supplement ingredient panel, you might notice at least one branded ingredient is listed. This would be the Capitalized ingredient, often in bold, and accompanied by either a ™ or ® symbol. Branded ingredients are also sometimes also called trademarked ingredients, which are ingredients registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office.  These ingredients typically have some clinical research in support of their safety and effectiveness.

The key benefits of trademarked ingredients are:

  • They use high-standard research, often double-blind methods (which limit any biases or manipulation of the data).
  • They have vigorous testing protocols to make sure the quality of the product is to the highest standard.
  • They are guaranteed to be “clean”, free from harmful substances or contaminants.
  • The manufacturing of these ingredients has been conducted under strict conditions to ensure their quality and viability remain intact throughout the process.
  • Most ingredient research and studies have been done on the patented ingredients, rather than the generic ones, ensuring the product using the patented ingredient has been shown to provide the stated benefits.

Why you might use trademarked ingredients in your private label brand:

Including a trademarked ingredient in your private label supplement is a great way to increase both the actual and perceived quality of your product. These specialized, branded ingredients can offer your customers some assurance that the products are well formulated and so they can count on getting the health benefits they are after.

Take curcumin, for example.  In the past several years there has been an explosion of curcumin products on the market – both trademarked and generic. Curcumin is a polyphenol known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is good for overall health. While the health benefits of curcumin are now widely known, what many people don’t realize is that curcumin is not well-absorbed by the body. So, scientists got to work and there are now several branded curcumin ingredients on the market that have research supporting their bio-availability.

How to leverage trademarked ingredients in your supplement marketing:

The dietary supplement industry is forever battling the age-old “snake oil” stereotype. For the large percentage of Americans buying dietary supplements who have no idea what they’re buying, a trademarked ingredient can be everyone’s best friend. Supplement companies that source ingredients primarily based upon price run the risk of having those ingredients be less potent and therefore less effective.  This can destroy a brand over time. On the other hand, companies that use branded/trademarked ingredients backed by science have something specific to reference when they are talking about quality and efficacy – the two most important elements in building a trusted brand.

Tell a story –Often there is a great creation story you can share. One example that comes to mind is a collagen product called UC-II®. A Rheumatologist working with Harvard and Beth Israel in Boston had a daughter who was severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. In an effort to help his daughter, Dr. David Trentham began working with different collagen products to find one that could help her. The result was UC-II®, an undenatured type-II collagen product that works with the autoimmune response in RA sufferers. (His daughter did eventually end up gaining a significant amount of her mobility back.)

Team-up in your efforts – The manufacturer of the trademarked ingredient will be doing their own marketing and promotional activities. It would make sense for you to tie into these and double your impact to help build greater awareness of the ingredient. Perhaps they want finished products to display that feature their branded ingredient – offer yours and get the free promotion!

Leverage the research – Probably the best way to communicate the excellence of your product is to use the research that has already been done for you. The science behind the branded ingredient you choose will have head-to-head comparisons with the generic versions, possibly even with other branded versions. There will be hard data demonstrating efficacy at a specific dose, which you’re less likely to find with untested generic ingredients coming from unknown supplier sources – but that’s another story.

You can absolutely create a private label supplement that is safe, effective, and high quality without including a trademarked ingredient, but including one or two of them can make it easier for you to communicate the advantages of your product to your customer. These branded ingredients offer visible research showing their safety and effectiveness, which ultimately serves to support the finished product and help it stand out as being transparent, trustworthy and of high value. If you want to learn more about trademarked ingredients or you would like to explore including them in your product, shoot us an email or message us on social. We would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

Amazon Private Label Brands 3 Ways Its Reshaping the Supplement Market

As the owner of a quickly emerging private label supplement brand, your primary goal is to carve out a piece of the market and grow it as quickly as you can. With specialty chains like The Vitamin Shop and megastores like Target limiting their shelf space (and fewer people shopping brick and mortar because of COVID), more brands are forced to figure out how to win on Amazon.

So, no surprise, Amazon now offers more supplement brands than any other ecommerce retailer – like 50 TIMES more!  While that fact may be a little scary, there are brands just like yours who break through and achieve huge success all of the time.  We work with some of those brands, and so we thought we would share some important insights with you.

How Amazon Private Label Supplements Changes the Game

Although general “big box” and specialty brick and mortar stores still offer strong selling channels, most of the supplement business (both private label and branded) has shifted to online ecommerce retailers (a.k.a Ecomm).  Among those online ecommerce sales – the vast majority, almost 80% of sales, are made on Amazon.  A staggering number.

As previously mentioned, Amazon offers approximately 50 times more supplement brands than any other Ecomm retailer. This enormous pool of products is broken into three main groups.  The first, and largest, are the national brands – totally custom formulations, strong brand identity, and heavy marketing support.

The second are what many call “white label” brands, which are generally individual nutrients or generic formulations that are produced in bulk and sitting on manufacturers’ shelves just waiting for label.  A small seller comes along, can buy small quantities of these stock generic formulations, put their own label on it and sell it as their own line.

The third and final is the retailer’s own private label or, as they like to call it, “private brands”.   For example, Amazon offers supplements under their own brands, such as Solimo™, Elements™ and technically Whole Foods™ 365 (since Wholefoods is owned by Amazon).

Regardless of which grouping of supplement brands we’re talking about, what’s important to understand is how Amazon has managed to scoop up so much market share.  This can be summed up in three main buckets.  We could probably write a whole book on each one of these buckets, but we’re going to keep it simple: 

  1. CONVENIENCE. Like any major Ecomm retailer, it’s easier to go online than it is to visit the store.  But where Amazon has really rocked the world is with cheap fast delivery.  Most shipments are delivered in 2 days or less and, in some cases, you can get the products you order the very same day either through direct delivery or store pickup.  Do you own your own supplement brand?  Well, chances are that Amazon can deliver YOUR products faster and more cheaply than you can.  Pretty crazy!
  2. SELECTION. Amazon offers a larger selection than you could fit in any brick and mortar retailer.  You would need a warehouse or club store to display all of the different private label supplement brands a simple Amazon search provides.  It’s the world’s largest product search engine, helping shoppers quickly find and compare products that they are interested in purchasing.
  3. PRICE. Amazon’s algorithm never sleeps.  It is searching the web day and night to ensure that its prices beat all others (including your own website). When that algorithm finds a lower price, it automatically adjusts its own product listings to be lower.  As a result, they’ve now established a reputation for being consistently lower than the competition.  And programs like their “Subscribe N Save” only serve to further cement that.

OK, so we know Amazon is the #1 Ecomm retailer for supplements which means that there is a huge opportunity for sales, BUT there is also a TON of competition on Amazon so we have to make sure we’ve got a strong game plan to succeed.

Having worked with many successful brands on Amazon over the years, we put together a quick summary of key areas to focus your efforts. 

Four “Must Haves” to Win on the Big A

A “nice to have” is something you would really like but it’s not going to ruin your good time if you don’t get it.  Like a bottle opener.  A “must have” on the other hand…… more like a big screen HDTV when you’re throwing a Super Bowl party!

So here are four “must haves” in order to win on Amazon.

  • Content. In most cases, your Amazon product pages will get more visitor traffic than your own website product pages.  Consider that and think about how important the content is on those Amazon pages.  Use Amazon’s Enhanced Brand Content features to tell your story on your product listing pages. Speak to the shopper’s pain, offer value-added information like recipes, tips, and other tricks to position yourself as a valuable resource. Amazon has now expanded their shoppable content to include branded video. Make a quick how-to featuring one of your products, and let your future customers get to know you a little bit.
  • Connection. Amazon is convenient, but it can also be a bit impersonal. There aren’t many opportunities to show your customers who you really are in that brown box that lands on the shopper’s doorstep. Include some free samples or coupons with every purchase, or a handwritten thank you note. Provide a link to an online survey or a loyalty program they can join. By taking the time to interact directly with these people, getting them involved, and helping them feel like they’re part of “something bigger”, it further cements their relationship with your brand.
  • Customization. While Amazon offers a lot of products, few of them are personal to the shopper. In general, most shoppers are just looking at labels and comparing prices.  As your supplement manufacturer, we can work with you to create a unique product that feels like it was made just for them and help you explain each of the ingredient choices in detail.  You can also utilize Amazon’s capability to “bundle” products.  A product bundle is two compatible products sold together (like protein and aminos).  Offer several different product “bundles” for your various consumer types (such as women or athletes). 
  • Community. There is a huge opportunity to leverage social media and other online forums in a personal way to build a community around your brand.  You have an opportunity to identify who your customer will be and target them directly. Provide original and engaging content that they will care about, and respond to their questions and reviews on the Amazon platform so that you create an engaged community.  Again, that Enhanced Brand Content feature can be leveraged to invite people to your own social community.

Turns out Amazon is quite a bit like the massive jungle it was named after.  A vast world of wonder and excitement, yet incredibly dangerous if you don’t know you’re way around.

Please let us know if this article was helpful by sharing your questions or comments on our Nutracap Labs Facebook page.  Also, if there are specific topics or tips you want to hear more about, please let us know that as well.

A Thousand Year Old Marketing Tactic That Still Works Today

Imagine yourself strolling through the alleys of an ancient outdoor marketplace.  The aromas of roasting meats making your mouth water, the vibrant colors of exotic spices piled high onto their platters, and the call of vendors everywhere, trying to entice you to come over and try a sample of their goods. The enticement of a free sample is just as irresistible now as it was a thousand years ago. Why? Because it works.

Today’s sample offer looks a little bit different than the days of the old marketplace. But here are some things that the most successful brands in the dietary supplement industry are doing to win new customers with product sampling programs.    

Supplement Sampling & The Reciprocity Effect:

The reciprocity effect is basically the theory that says, in many social situations, we want to pay back what we received from others, such as a loan, or a favor. As an example, think of borrowing someone’s car. In most cases, the borrower will return the car with a full tank of gas as a gesture of appreciation.

Reciprocity works in many situations, from little everyday interactions with our neighbors to businesses trying to gain consumers. It has been shown that a free sample encourages people to buy the corresponding product because of this feeling of appreciation that comes from having been given something for free. This can be especially helpful in the case of dietary supplement sampling where someone may hold back on making a purchase without first trying the product even though they feel a connection to the brand.

Creating a Brand Fan(atic):

An effective sampling program today goes well beyond the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” method. There are a multitude of product options in every category, and researching what to buy is as easy as spending 5 minutes on the internet.  So, creating an effective sampling program today follows most of the same principles as developing any other comprehensive marketing program. 

  • Know your consumer. Who is your target audience for this product and how could they use this sample in a way that will give them the best possible experience?
  • Be purposeful and strategic.  Sampling is not randomly passing out products to strangers.  It’s putting a product in the hands of a lifestyle enthusiast who will love it! Because, if they love it, they will want to share their discovery with their friends and online communities.
  • “Micro-influencers” help build markets. For clarity, a micro influencer is a lifestyle enthusiast who is so passionate that they have built a small online following (usually 1000-100,000 people) by sharing their experiences on social sites.  There are “apps” and online portals out there that can help you find and connect with these people. Even though “micro-influencers” may not be famous, they are knowledgeable and experienced on a specific subject. A micro-influencer who knows about dietary supplements is who you want to target your supplement sampling program to.  They tend to have a lot of trust built up with their followers, so when they try a product and publicly recommend it, their following will often purchase it without even having tried it themselves.   

Profitably Scaling Your Supplement Sampling Program:

Getting your supplement samples into the right hands can help you to create awareness for your brand, and generate word-of-mouth advocacy. So how do you do it? Follow the “Three P’s”:

ProductNot all products make sense for sampling. Powders have a taste and flavor profile, and people definitely want to “try before they buy” so that’s a great option.  On the other hand, shipping liquid samples or soft gels through the mail may not make sense. Identify the opportunities and limitations of your product samples.  Most important, think about your business strategy………which products have the highest market potential and which ones yield the greatest gross margin.  Those are the ones you want to focus on.

PackagingThere are a lot of options for the packaging of your samples, and a lot of logistics to consider. Are you providing a packet with a one-time use sample of a protein? Does your sample manufacturer offer on-demand digital printing so your packet can be printed in lower quantities?  Is the printing at the quality standard that you want to maintain for all of your packaging? Is a single-serving sample enough to provide an experience for the consumer? Because another option might be to offer a smaller container for your product, maybe a week’s supply rather than a full month.  There are a ton of creative solutions we can use to achieve a successful sample option for you.

Promotion  – How will you talk about your supplement sampling program? In the old days, it was common to walk through a tradeshow and see samples freely handed out to anyone who walks by, only to find those samples left behind at the end of the day on tables, in hotel rooms, or in the trash. What a waste of samples, and a wasted sampling opportunity. Now, it’s possible to reach huge audiences that are highly targeted based upon their interests and demographic profile.  You can utilize high-volume marketing channels, such as the influencers on social media, to drive qualified traffic to your website consisting of people who have actual interest in your product. Best of all, the ability to grab that audience’s contact information in exchange for a free sample is a great way of building your email list for ongoing marketing and promotions.

Creating and scaling an effective supplement sampling program is a great way to drive awareness and interest for new product launches.Especially in the first few critical months after a new product is launched. When you hit the ground running with authentic ratings and reviews, you give consumers the confidence they need to purchase your products on day one.

It you’re interested in the step-by-step of creating your own sampling program, please shoot us a note via email or comment on social and we’ll do a more detailed post on this topic in the future.

Stock Products vs Custom Formulations: Picking the Right Private Label Path

It’s a hot summer day, and it’s time for an ice-cold beer. The big question…….do you go for that standard domestic, or are you craving something bolder and more complex like that micro-brew? One is basic, and you know exactly what you’re getting. The other is a little bit of a mystery but may blow your socks off and become your new favorite!

Just like backyard refreshment, it’s nice to have options when it comes to your vitamin supplement line.  But in a world flooded with “basic” vitamins and supplements, wouldn’t it be better to blow peoples’ socks off?  It’s not as hard as you might think.  Here’s a quick five minute summary to help you get started……..

The Stock Private Label Option:

A stock formulation is a product that is already formulated and, in most cases, it may also be bottled.  It’s just sitting on the shelf of a manufacturer waiting for a label so that it can be shipped.  And while that may have been an easy way to start a supplement line 20 years ago, times have changed.  Nowadays it’s almost impossible to break through in a crowded market unless you differentiate your product.  So, while a stock formulation might be a short-term option if you’re just trying to fill gaps in an already established product line, the reality is that you no longer need to settle.  Over the years, we’ve worked with thousands of companies who wanted to have the speed and low cost-of-entry of private label, but in a custom product format.  It wasn’t easy, but after years of building and refining our processes, we’ve been able to do just that.  Read on!

Custom Supplement Formulations Rule in a Competitive Market:

The dietary supplement world is highly competitive.  That’s why customization capabilities in formulation, flavoring and packaging design are all so critical.  And finding a partner who has all three of these competencies in one place is not easy.  

If you go down the customization route, consider every facet of your product. For instance, there are a lot of chocolate and vanilla protein powders on the market.  Sometimes just creating a unique flavor is a simple way to customize.  In many instances, you can even take an existing flavor and put a twist on it for a big boost in sales.  You see this trick from the big food companies all of the time.  As an example, take a standard chocolate flavor and twist it to chocolate caramel.  It’s not a huge change from a formulation standpoint, but sometimes it’s all you need to stand out.

Packaging is another area where you can add a level of customization.  Especially in a category where a lot of the packaging looks the same.  Similar bottle shapes, similar colors, similar visual elements.   Here is some interesting research about color that may inspire some strategies to grab your customer’s attention.

Finally, customized formulation is also a really great way to target your customer. Look at your competition, identify opportunities to offer more, think about how your customer measures value. In a category where it’s all about function and performance, being the first to use a new ingredient……or the first to use it in efficacious doses, can cause a brand’s awareness to explode.  That’s because the high-enthusiast “influencer” consumers are typically the ones who know the most about ingredients and can drive word-of-mouth about your brand.

Why Settle for Stock Formulations When We Can Make Custom Just as Easy:

Just like our backyard cooler during the hot summer heat, having a few different options at your disposal is always a good thing.  But just know that you no longer have to limit yourself because of timing or budget.  At Nutracap Labs, we can make vitamin supplement custom manufacturing this easy:

  1. 144 piece minimum order quantity.  Low minimum orders will reduce the amount of money (and risk) you have tied up in a new item launch.
  2. Fast turnaround time.  Because we partner with you on the formulation and design, there are no “surprises” when it comes time to produce.  In just five weeks from the time we receive your printed labels, you’re in business.
  3. Inhouse design and sample production.  We can produce pre-market samples which gives our branded customers the ability to create media content and start showing the product to retail buyers before they’ve created a full production run!

There you go……. no barriers, no big hurdles.  If you’ve been thinking about a custom formulation protein powder or supplement or you’re trying to figure out how to launch a brand in the dietary supplement industry quickly, let us know – Nutracap Labs can help you with both!

Protein Powder: Where Does It Go From Here?

The global market for protein supplements has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and is projected to reach $32.6 billion by 2027. Until now, the foundation of that growth has largely centered around whey protein supplements for aspiring athletes and bodybuilders. In recent years, however, innovation in plant-based protein, collagen protein and other novel protein sources, has set the stage for another surge of growth that should last well into the foreseeable future.

Nutracap Labs has made significant investments in order to provide you with a number of easy avenues to start or expand your supplement brand with options in private label protein powders our custom blended protein powders. The choice is yours but one thing is for sure……. there has never been a better time to explore the lucrative protein powder category.

Plant-Based Private Label Protein Opportunities:

Plant protein powders are sometimes accused of not being “complete” due to the fact that they are often deficient in one of the nine essential amino acids. As a private label protein manufacturer, we can overcome this by creating unique blends of different plant-based proteins that, when combined, provide high levels of all nine essential amino acids.

Another driving force for this segment has been the increasing number of athletes who recognize the healing and recovery aspects of a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet. More than ever, the sports market is receptive to plant proteins or multi-source blends that include plant protein.

These are just some of the factors that have made the plant-based protein supplement segment the fastest growing in recent years. Here is a quick summary of options;

Pea Protein: High in fiber and vitamins, research supports that pea protein has about the same effect on muscle growth as whey protein. In fact, pea protein is significantly higher than whey in the key amino acid arginine. Most people can easily digest pea protein with no unpleasant side effects, making it a great option for plant-based athletes. Growing region and processing method of the peas themselves can have a huge impact on the taste/texture of the final product. Choose your pea protein source carefully.

Brown Rice Protein: A common ingredient in private label protein powders, research has shown that it is comparable to whey protein in helping to increase lean body mass and muscle when consumed after a workout. It is rich in vitamin C and iron, and is well-tolerated by anyone not on a grain-free diet.

Seed Proteins: From the more exotic sources like sacha inchi, which is native to Peru, to domestically sourced pumpkin and even canola, seed proteins are quickly emerging. While seed proteins are much more expensive on a per/kilo basis, they can add important features to a protein blend due to the fact that they are high in certain omega fatty acids.

Algae Protein: Another alternate protein source being researched is algae – specifically seaweed. Seaweed does not require the resources that animals do, such as land, feed, or fresh water, and it can be grown and harvested in just two to three months. Seaweed is also very dense in nutrients beyond protein, and is high in fiber, lending appeal and benefit to almost any diet.

Animal-Based Private Label Protein Opportunities:

Favored for their high concentration of branched chain amino acids as well as their smooth consistency and ease of flavoring, the following animal sources are the most popular choices by athletes and every-day consumers alike for animal-based private label protein powders.

Whey Protein: Originally a wasted by-product of cheese production, whey protein is highly bioavailable, so it is quick and easy for your body to digest and use. An excellent choice for those who do not have a problem with dairy.

Egg White Protein: Low in fat and carbohydrates, egg protein can be a great choice for those looking to lose weight but still need to get enough protein.

Collagen Protein: The main component in hair, skin, nails, and connective tissue, sourced mainly from either cows or “marine sources” (fish). As there are currently no plant-based sources of collagen, so it is not a suitable protein choice for vegans or many vegetarians.

Three Tips for Creating Your Own Protein Powder

  1. Focus on the Consumer Need
    When a market grows very large in the way that protein powder has, trying to create a one-size-fits-all product can be dangerous because you’re up against large brands who try to dominate with huge distribution and low prices. Even if you do manage to grab a small piece of the pie, it’s often not that profitable. Your best bet is to find a specific niche and focus intensely on the needs of that consumer. For example, it may be a focus on muscle recovery, weight loss, or even stress. Targeting a smaller market is worthwhile if you can gain leadership in that segment.
  2. Innovate – Don’t Complicate
    Sometimes the best solution is also the simplest solution. We’ve seen something as simple as a flavor help a brand stand out in a crowded market. For example, using a premium Madagascar vanilla that “pops” just a bit more. Or being the first to add a new ingredient like the algae proteins mentioned earlier. These are simple focused “twists” that can be made to an otherwise stock formula that combine the advantage of customization and the ease of private label.
  3. Taste is Paramount
    Supplementation is a lot like exercise. People tend to do it more if they enjoy it. One of the most important and overlooked areas in protein powder development is taste. Creating the best tasting protein powder is not easy but this is where the right contract manufacturer can help you. At Nutracap Labs, we have a stock catalog of flavors that spans the universe. From rich dessert flavors like red velvet cake and snickerdoodle to fun light flavors like cucumber lime and firefly lemonade. Sometimes the quickest and easiest way to get noticed is to blow someone’s mind with a cool exciting flavor.

The protein powder category is tough, but with the right partner behind you, we’ve described a number of ways you can stand out and build your business. The ball is in your court. Call our account rep today and we can brainstorm some ways to quickly grow your supplement business.

Immunity Supplements – Finding Your Edge in a COVID World

COVID Reshapes the Immunity Supplement Market

In addition to causing the first toilet-paper shortage we’ve seen in our lifetime, the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020 has had ingredient suppliers, supplement manufacturers and retailers all scrambling to get immunity supplements into the hands of the clamoring masses.

In the first few months of this banner year, more than 50% of consumers have increased their intake of dietary supplements, and another 30% have plans to increase their consumption in the second half of 2020.

In May/June of this year, 17 of the top 20 vitamin category products sold on Amazon were immune related.

Is it the Right Time for Private Label Immunity Supplements?

According to Nutrition Business Journal, the estimated sales growth for immunity supplements is projected to spike above 25% in 2020, up to $3.3 billion overall. The flexibility in storage options, demand for formulations with multiple benefits, increased consumer education, and of course the continued health concerns with the current pandemic, are all working together to fuel this demand for private label immunity supplements.

Traditionally, the tried-and-true vitamins (Vitamin C) and minerals (Zinc) have been the go-to sources for immunity ingredients. Herbal extracts are on the rise, though, with an expected growth of 12% in the next 5 years. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ingredients, and which ones might be next to hit the shelves.


6 Immunity Supplement Private Label Opportunities

(the last three may surprise you!)

Right Now:

Every supplement manufacturer is working hard right now to keep the following products in stock in order to meet the overwhelming demand:

  1. Vitamin CVitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it can fight oxidative damage. It also aids healthy immune function by supporting the development of white blood cells. In its role as an antioxidant, vitamin C may also help fight inflammation, which can damage the lungs and other organs. Some evidence suggests that people with severe COVID-19 symptoms can experience dangerous levels of inflammation, therefore it is presumed that vitamin C could help with the damage caused during this process.
  2. Zinc – Zinc is well-recognized as being important to maintaining a healthy immune system. It’s a mineral that’s been touted to help fight colds and upper respiratory infections, and to help fight infections by boosting the production of antibodies. (Zinc deficiencies are also common among the elderly, who are most likely to be severely affected by coronavirus. Some researchers think that this zinc deficiency may be one of the reasons seniors are more susceptible to infections.)
  3. Elderberry – Ancient civilizations all over the world (such as the Egyptians and Native Americans) have been using elderberries for centuries for their amazing health benefits. Everything from the flowers to the fruit are used to create teas, tinctures, and dietary supplements. In addition to being high in Vitamin C, the powerful antioxidants and flavonoids from elderberries are rock stars in helping the immune system to fight off the free radicals that damage cells and mutate DNA.

(***Special mention – Vitamin D has also seen a large spike in growth among private label supplements, in part due to its immune boosting effects but also because people in quarantine are spending more time indoors.)

Down the Road:

Going forward, there will be several additional products trending for immune-support that work through entirely different biological pathways than the mainstays mentioned above.  Here are some possible opportunities going forward:

4.) Probiotics – Research continues to shed light on what a huge role gut health and gut bacteria play in supporting our immune response, and in identifying which strains are the best at doing this. At the same time, dietary supplement manufacturers are becoming more proficient in creating targeted strains that have the ability to specifically bolster immune health. As a result, this category will continue to grow, especially in the face of continued COVID symptoms.

5.) Melatonin – Although not commonly known (yet), melatonin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-modulating effects. Scientists believe these properties may be helpful in modulating the development and progression of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which has been implicated as the likely cause of death in COVID19. 

6.) Boysenberry – Boysenwhat?  Yes sir, originally marketed to help protect the lungs from damage caused by environmental pollution, boysenberry is now being studied as a possible benefit to the breathing difficulties and scarring caused by COVID-19. Initial pre-clinical results have been positive, and with Elderberry being such a popular private label supplement already, it seems likely that Boysenberry will be the next berry to make a splash in this category.

Well,………..are you imagining your own innovative private label or custom contract immunity supplement? 

We hope so because America needs pioneering entrepreneurs like you to join the fight and help protect them and their children against COVID-19 and other potential health threats in the future!  

As always, NutraCap Labs is here to support you in your endeavors.  Contact your account representative today and let’s talk about all of these different ways that we can help you grow your business!

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