The mark of a first-rate contract manufacturer is a unique flexibility in fulfilling client needs. Beyond the basic capability to churn out products from an assembly line, true manufacturing partners are well-positioned to make a product run work for you.

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In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made public a proposed guidance for new dietary ingredients (NDIs) that are included in supplements. Though the document is aimed at finished product manufacturers, it could have a profound affect on raw materials suppliers.

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As with all types of high-profile public misfortune, a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation is something many natural products companies may think can only happen to other firms. Indeed, it is often the so-called “bad players” or obvious cases of false advertising that gain notoriety when enforcement actions are taken. But even well-intentioned companies may run afoul of FTC if they aren’t careful about the content of their advertising. While much remains the same in this arena, there are several new enforcement patterns to be aware of, as well as several forces to keep tabs on that may well shape the agency’s actions in the near future.

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Many regulatory changes are percolating in the natural products industry. Leaders from several industry associations and nonprofits offer some insight about what could be in store for companies in the near future.

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For years, WholeFoods Magazine has shined a light on natural products companies that market some of the country’s best top-selling products and has honored them with a Natural Choice Award. This year is no different. Once again, we are proud to honor some of the many excellent products that the natural products industry calls its own.

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Contract manufacturing. Did reading that phrase make you picture a buzzing room filled with shiny silver equipment? Or, did you envision a team of innovators that can help you turn an idea into reality (or an established product into something even better)? Well, the latter is closer to what contract manufacturing today is all about.

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In the natural food flavors and colors market, staying current and diversifying is the name of the game. Only the strongest, most palatable natural flavors and the brightest, most appealing colors survive, and jumping on the right bandwagon can be just as important as forging bold, new paths.

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The average raw materials supplier has a lot of responsibility on its shoulders. Before they can say “mission accomplished,” they must be sure they are investing in the right ingredients, sourcing those ingredients from the right people, testing them for quality and purity with the most stringent and up-to-date methods available, and doing it all while remaining in strict compliance with current manufacturing standards and industry regulations. Then, they have to keep their prices low enough for finished product manufacturers to be interested.

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A new report from BCC Research shows that the worldwide nanotechnology market will reach about $15.7 billion this year and will grow to $27 billion by 2015 (1).

From pharmaceuticals to certain fabrics to some sunscreens, nanotechnology is all around us. The question is, how might it affect the organic food manufacturers and suppliers?

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Valuing the Middle Man

What has changed is how the broker fits into the natural retail puzzle, and the reasons for the transformation paints an interesting picture of the industry.

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