By Sherree DeCovny, Co-Founder and Research Principal
About 25 years ago dietary supplements was a $4 billion industry comprising about 4,000 unique products. Today, it’s worth more than $40 billion, and there are more than 50,000 products, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The industry is much bigger when you add natural foods and beverages as well as cannabis products into the mix. Despite the exponential growth, companies’ operations tend to be immature when it comes to working closely with supplier networks and establishing track and trace capabilities.
To illustrate, it takes months for some types of plants to grow from seed to full maturity, and spikes in demand can result in supply shortages. A few years ago, some smart marketing and branding fueled a huge demand for Garcinia Cambogia, a tropical fruit that became popular as a weight-loss supplement. Faced with shortages, suppliers began fulfilling orders with counterfeit product. More recently, there has been strong demand for turmeric because it’s being marketed as a natural way to alleviate conditions including arthritis pain and depression, and supply has come under pressure.