To commemorate the milestone, WholeFoods Magazine asked William Rowe, Nutrasource President, CEO, and Co-Founder, to share what makes the company a standout success. Read on for his insights.
WholeFoods Magazine: Congratulations on 20 years! Please tell us how Nutrasource got started, and how it has grown over the years.
William Rowe: Nutrasource was started originally as a diagnostic company looking to sell a test that showed omega-3 blood levels and their correlation to heart disease. The company grew over the years by expanding into clinical trials, third-party certifications, and regulatory consulting. The backbone of the company has always been the focus on teams and a team-based approach to success. Even during COVID-19, the strength of our teams helped us weather the storm and we actually grew our staff during the pandemic. The intent was and remains, to be the nutritional industry’s full solution services provider.
WF: How has the industry changed in the last 20 years, and what impact have the changes had on Nutrasource?
Rowe: The growth of the omega-3 sector, initially, and then explosion of the probiotics category along with botanicals, has fueled the need for substantiated science for market positioning and to create and enhance intellectual property. Regulatory changes with Health Canada and FDA opened up large opportunities for Nutrasource to service the global industry and gain market access for our clients in either a compliant, authorized, or approved way. Getting listed with Whole Foods Market as the only testing-based program for Non-GMO status for dietary supplements and developing a validated method for Non-GMO testing using advanced digital PCR techniques to address the needs of the nutritional community has had a major influence on the industry. On the clinical side, running pharma-quality studies in the nutritional space has really served as a trend-setting initiative, which has allowed Nutrasource to become best-in-class in this area.
WF: Tell us about some of the innovative programs and initiatives that have set Nutrasource apart, and the impact the company has had in bringing about positive change in the industry.
Rowe: Nutrasource third-party certification platform has several programs. The two most popular to date are the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) and the International GMO Evaluation and Notification (IGEN) programs. These are testing based with a focus on showcasing quality. They are established certification marks in the global retail environment. Nutrasource has also brought pharmaceutical standards to the nutritional CRO space, which has brought clinical trials in the nutritional industry to the next level of robustness.
WF: What is on the horizon for Nutrasource? What can we expect in the next year? The next five years?
Rowe: Nutrasource is rolling out its global certification standards program to cover all nutritional categories for SupplySide West 2022, and we are excited to move beyond the categories of marine oils, probiotics, and CBD to cover all areas for the global nutritional marketplace. Nutrasource has also embarked on a number of botanical drug development programs on behalf of its clients as this area continues to grow into the future.
WF: Clearly there has been a lot of success, but over the course of 20 years, there surely have been lessons learned as well. Can you share any insights gained?
Rowe: Much like any 20-year journey, there are highs and lows. A key lesson learned is that entrepreneurship is a marathon and being innovative takes time and investment. Another lesson involves having a solid team of synergistic skills sets and positive attitudes. The right and good team can pretty much accomplish anything.
The most important lesson was the lesson my mother taught me very early on in life: Get your key three things done each business day, no matter what else gets thrown at you in the course of a day. When I have strayed from that, it has not worked well. When I am disciplined with this concept, the business moves forward.
WF: What trends do you see on the horizon for the industry, and how is Nutrasource helping its partners meet consumer demand?
Rowe: Personalized nutrition. From custom formulas, point-of-care diagnostics, and consumer tailored nutritional solutions—all applications delivered—is where this industry is headed from what we can see. Additionally, the consumer is now fact-checking and researching purchases like never before and has the tools to do so. Consumers want to know the story behind the brand and to understand the company’s values, and to know if those values are aligned with their own. Areas of sustainability, community give back, and supply-chain transparency continue to grow.
WF: What else should we know about Nutrasource?
Rowe: As a company, we succeed when our clients succeed. We have built a multi-country strong team that covers clinical and regulatory from nutra to pharma. We are large enough to service, but still small enough to care. WF