In the Spotlight

While writing this issue's State of the Industry report, I recalled the parting line of my editor's page in our November/December issue last year: "Looks like we're headed into an action-packed 2010." And indeed, the dietary supplements industry has certainly seen its share of activity so far this year, positive and negative-from (for some) increasing sales and innovation to tighter regulations and media scrutiny.

Originally Published NO July/August2010

While writing this issue's State of the Industry report, I recalled the parting line of my editor's page in our November/December issue last year: "Looks like we're headed into an action-packed 2010." And indeed, the dietary supplements industry has certainly seen its share of activity so far this year, positive and negative-from (for some) increasing sales and innovation to tighter regulations and media scrutiny.

"This year has been complicated in terms of overall industry atmosphere," says Dan Alhadeff, senior vice president for Nutri-Force Nutrition. "There is definitely an underlying optimism that the worst of the economic impact is behind us and a recovery is in process. That is demonstrated by stronger performance in some sectors. Consumer demand is continuing to grow, thanks to an increase in support from the medical community and higher consumer confidence in the credibility of many supplements."

"At the same time," he says, "the more-intense auditing for the new current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) and potential involvement from Washington have given us all more opportunities-and concerns."

As it has been in the past, albeit more so today than ever before, industry is caught in the crosshairs of increasing consumer, media, and regulatory interest. As I mention in this issue's State of the Industry report, more attention can be both good and bad-a higher industry profile means more people are buying, or are interested in, supplements.

However, negative media coverage, accurate or not, also stands to hurt the industry. (The day this issue went to press, the publication Consumer Reports had just released a new article in its September issue titled, "Dangerous Supplements: What You Don't Know About These 12 Ingredients Could Hurt You." Visit the Nutritional Outlook website to stay informed as response to the article unfolds.)

Responsible members of industry have continued to focus on maintaining quality and substantiation. With cGMP requirements now in place for all dietary supplement companies as of June, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) audits moving forward, many see the new cGMP inspections as a way for industry to show naysayers that it can gladly meet the quality standards and regulations put before it. (See this issue's In Response article, written by Dean Cirotta of EAS Consulting Group, regarding specific details on how FDA inspectors will conducting cGMP audits and what those inspectors will be looking for.)

This is also our annual Supplier Profile issue-an issue in which industry suppliers, be they ingredient or packaging suppliers or contract manufacturers, can describe in detail how they maintain quality, innovation, and service.

Maintaining quality is also a first-and-foremost concern here at Nutritional Outlook. With that in mind, we have established our first editorial advisory board comprising key members of industry who will help guide and shape the direction of this publication. I very much look forward to working with these professionals in the coming year to continue to steer Nutritional Outlook in its course to provide the information our readers need to conduct growing, responsible business. See profiles on these newest members of the Nutritional Outlook family.