The High Cost of Consumer Confusion: An Elderberry Case Study

The High Cost of Consumer Confusion: An Elderberry Case Study

Careful consideration must be paid to ingredient form, how it was processed, level of bioactives, and whether it has been scientifically substantiated.

By Melanie Bush, Artemis International VP of Science & Research

The supplement industry has come a long way. Formulations based solely on anecdotal evidence have given way to ingredients that are scientifically substantiated by human clinical trials. The industry is more regulated and policed than ever before as the FDA and FTC work to keep inflated disease claims off product packaging and marketing materials.

Meanwhile, year-over-year growth continues, thanks to a new generation of consumers who recognize the concept of food as medicine and prioritize self-care. While there are still some skeptics, botanical ingredients by and large have rightfully earned respect.

Still, there is room for industry-wide improvement. Anyone trying to shop for immune-supporting elderberry gummies faces inherent inconsistencies. Cost-cutting mandates abound, education about the differences between ingredient sources is lacking, and ingredient types are inconsistently defined. “Creative” marketing strategies on elderberry product offerings sell the consumer short on expected health benefits.

Once consumer trust in a product or an ingredient is lost, it can negatively impact the entire supplement industry. If we are not careful, we run the risk of diluting the market—an ingredient here, a product there—until a cloud of doubt hovers over the entire industry. Consumers lose the confidence we have collectively fought to earn. Now is the time to identify shortcomings, offer solutions, and come together as an industry to self-govern and do better to serve consumers.

Read the full article in Nutraceuticals World.

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