The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal regulatory agency with the primary responsibility of enforcing the statutes and regulations governing the manufacturing, packing, labeling and distribution of products in the food, beverage, dietary supplement and cosmetics industries. Whether it is conducting inspections to ascertain compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), reviewing labeling or striving to ensure the safety of products, the FDA looms as an ever-present monitor of companies in the aforementioned industries.

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They understand more than ever what their nutrition needs are, yet they can’t always easily find the time, or spend the money, to bridge the gap from knowing what’s healthy to practicing it in their diet. Because of these factors, consumers keep turning to food products with healthy ingredients added in as bonus nutrition. Certain functional ingredients are especially popular already, while others are climbing the ladder of consumer awareness.

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With all of the effort and investment that goes into developing a product, it may be easy to become excited at the end of the process and say, “Let’s throw it on the shelf, already!” But for any product or product line, from dietary supplements to cosmetics, manufacturers would do well not to overlook the crucial last step in bringing something to market: designing the product’s home, its packaging.

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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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