Park City, UT—President and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Steven Mister delivered a State of the Industry Address at the Council’s 40th annual conference, located here, on Sept. 19.
Inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Mister began by quoting the novel, stating that the nutrition and supplement industry is going through “the best of times and the worst of times.” He listed some of the industry’s recent successes such as a reported annual growth of 7.5% in 2012 and the findings of CRN’s Consumer Survey, which reported that 85% of all American adults are confident in the safety and quality of dietary supplements. Mister also addressed recent difficulties the industry has faced, including FDA recalls, seizures and warning letters for 400 products in the past five years, and negative press such as that surrounding the omega-3/prostate cancer debate.
Regarding the negative press, Mister said critics “paint a picture of a rogue industry promoting dangerous mega-dosages of supplements, consumers popping untested treatments, and a wild west, unregulated environment where you can pretty much do and say what you want.” Though this is not the industry he knows, Mister said the critics’ influence still puts consumers at risk of taking either the wrong supplements or none at all based on misinformation.
Mister went on to discuss his plans for the industry’s next 40 years, saying they need to focus on research as well as helping consumers differentiate between the “good” guys and the “bad” guys by increasing investments in third party certification programs. He also urged CRN members to recruit more companies to the Council and to increase open communication with the FDA to catch and fix problems in the industry.
Mister capped off his address with a call to action, saying, “Years from now, we will look back at this moment and either applaud the vision and determination of the players of this time, or we will shake our heads and lament the wasted opportunities.”
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2013 (online 9/29/13)