This is precisely the reason why there tends to be such a large disparity in pricing for supplement manufacturers—sometimes as much as $10,000 from one company to the next.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Supplement Manufacturer
With this information in mind, you may be feeling a bit discouraged when it comes to finding a reputable and fair company that actually manufactures their own supplements. On the bright side, there are some specific things you can look for in a company that will set them apart (in a good way) from the rest.
1. Independent Verification
First of all, be sure to check and see if the so-called manufacturer is verified by the NPA or NSF. Specifically, these two organizations work to verify manufacturing facilities to ensure that they comply with standards and regulations set forth by the GMP, as outlined by the Federal Drug Administration.
Unfortunately, the FDA itself does not yet conduct regulatory inspections on supplements manufacturers. However, it does pass the buck off to the NPA and NSF for these responsibilities, and you can rest a little more at ease knowing that the inspections conducted by these organizations very closely mimic the guidelines already set forth by the FDA.
A good way to find out if a manufacturer has been verified by the NPA or the NSF is to check their published, up-to-date lists online. These can be found here and here. There are hundreds of different manufacturers on these lists and it can time some time to scroll through them. To speed up the process, if you already know the name of the company you’re looking for, use your browser’s “find” feature to search for the company name on each page.
If the company is listed on one or both of these lists, there’s a pretty good chance that they’re a reliable and legitimate manufacturer.
2. The Right Certifications
Of course, it never hurts to take your investigations a step further by looking into the specific certifications the company has receive as well. For example, the NSF offers three different certifications:
- a manufacturing certification
- a storage/distribution certification
- a packaging certification
The only certification you really need to concern yourself with checking for when you’re looking to hire a supplement manufacturer is the first one: the manufacturing certification. This proves that the company has passed specific criteria and regulations that allow them to manufacture supplements themselves, rather than purchase them wholesale from another manufacturer and sell them to you.
3. Reliable Communication
Even if you’re pretty sure you’re dealing with a legitimate supplement manufacturer based on the above criteria, it’s never a bad idea to strike up some form of communication with the company’s sales team. After all, even if the company has the legal certification to manufacture, you probably still don’t want to do business with them if they have poor communication skills or take too long to answer your questions and address your concerns. Take some time to learn more about the company directly before you make a decision to do business with them.
Signs of a Fraudulent Manufacturer
Just as there are specific signs you should look for in a reputable supplement manufacturer, there are also some “red flags” to look for during your search that could indicate you’re dealing with a fraudulent manufacturing company.
1. High Mark-Ups
Request a quote from the company and analyze the estimate you receive. Is the quoted price significantly higher than what you’ve received from other companies or from what you’d found to be “the norm” in the industry? If so, then this may be a sign that you’re actually dealing with a distributor and not an actual manufacturer.
More than likely, what’s happening is that the company is purchasing wholesale supplements from another manufacturer and trying to sell them to you under the guise that they were the ones that manufactured them. The end result is a substantially higher mark-up on your end. You want to avoid this at all costs.
2. Distributor Certification Only
Going back to the NSF certifications outlined above, which ones can you find for the company? If you don’t see a manufacturing certificate but you do see a storage/distribution or packaging certificate, this means that the company is either functioning as a distributor or a packager for another manufacturer. Again, this will only result in higher mark-ups for you, so it’s likely something you don’t want to deal with.
Other Important Considerations
Keep in mind that working with a distributor isn’t always a bad idea. There are situations where it may actually make sense to work with one, assuming that they’re transparent and up-front about the way they do things and don’t try to pass themselves off as a manufacturer.
For example, if you’re having a hard time finding a manufacturer to make a specific formula in your desired amount, there’s a chance that it could actually be cheaper for you to work with a distributor that can buy the formula in bulk and then split it up into smaller batches to sell to companies (like yours) at a slight mark-up.
Ultimately, the key is to make sure you’re working with a company that’s being forthright about what it has to offer, regardless of the route you end up taking. The last thing you want is to be led to believe you’re working directly with a supplement manufacturer to create a unique product for your business, only to find out that you’re really just getting a generic product with your label slapped on it.
Furthermore, if you’re considering the option to create your own customized supplement, then you will definitely need to work with a reputable and legitimate manufacturer.
Navigating the world of supplement manufacturers and distributors can be a bit stressful and confusing at times, but as long as you know what to look for, you’ll ultimately be able to make the right decision for your company. ABH Pharma, Inc. prides themselves in a transparent and leading manufacturer of quality supplements and vitamins.