How to sell a food supplement

The aim of the meeting was to consider branding as a marketing tool, along with tips and considerations for internet marketing looking at how to meet the requirements for the USA market before the break. These presentations were ably given by Kristen Brown (KLB Consulting), Mark Pickering (Hallam) and Gary Bayliss (Export Access). Kristin set the scene for brands, using water as an everyday example – covering unique, differentiation loyalty and recognition, allowing the audience to understand the definition ‘A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product/service as distinct from those of another seller’s.’

Mark Pickering shared a number of ideas for a company to consider when setting up their website and how their brand/product will be marketed. Ideas covering mobile friendly features (the balance has tipped from laptop to mobile searching for information so every website should be mobile friendly), along with how to review the search terms that people use to find you or your unique product. Essentially – it’s a complicated digital space, before you start to consider Google preferred terms and what they now favour (reviews).

The second meeting of the Food Supplement Special Interest Group of 2018, focussed on how to sell a food supplement, held at Biocity Nottingham on 12 July.

Gary Bayliss was able to bust some myths about the FDA, they ‘approve’, ‘facilities’, ‘products or require submissions of labels or an inspection before marketing products’. He gave an informed walk through how a company can apply for a food facility registration process (with renewal every two years in the last quarter) and why having a good registration agent is vital to your success. The talk covered what is required on a US based food supplement label, with a reference to what is in place in Europe. A very different approach could be seen.

After a stimulating coffee break, with lots of connections being made, Nick Bennet (IVC Brunel Healthcare) gave a view of what to look for when importing food supplements into Europe, referencing the seven ways to check a food supplement, issued by the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Nick shared an insight to why NRV has replaced RDA on supplements now sold in Europe.

After you have made and sold your product, consideration should be made for how to handle customer complaints, using a quality system as the basis for your systematic approach. Julie Walker of JW Quality Consulting Limited, provided a simple set of risk assessment tools for people to consider (be mmethodical, use the 6Ms, ask the 5 whys and brainstorm a solution as required), making the process accessible to all to ensure that safety of the consumer is not compromised.

Finally, to conclude the day, Peter Luebcke from Curapel Ltd, shared his personal experience of creating and launching their first food supplement for maintenance of healthy skin (a strong East Midlands presence was used to support them to launch). Peter shared with the group lessons learnt, and success to date, showing that an idea spun out from University of Manchester can be a real commercial opportunity with sufficient drive and belief in the product.

This meeting was supported by the INSTILs project funded by D2N2. The presenters and meeting were very well received by the audience on the day, with feedback scores >90%. Look out for our next meeting towards the end of 2018.