The Future of Dietary Supplements

Jun 4, 2024

By Carey Allen, Vice President of SQFI Business Development and Strategy

The marketplace of dietary supplement products has exploded with a flood of new brands and availability on numerous e-commerce platforms and traditional nutritional and natural foods stores, as well as national retail getting into the field with private label products.

Reports of adulterants and adverse events have increased in this market, and the consumer is demanding confirmation of the safety and integrity of these products. Government also takes notice, seeing the need to enhance oversight of the industry as it gains influence and impact on public health and safety. This scrutiny drives more attention by retailers to ensure the safety and integrity of products they sell.

SQFI, as a leader in third-party food safety certification, understands the value of independent expert confirmation of safety of food product manufacturing. Retailers build trust with consumers when there is assurance of competent oversight of the safety of products in the store. This is no less important for non-food products found in the personal care section of the store, like dietary supplements.

Amazon and Kroger are examples of major retailers who rely on SQFI’s certification program for the assurance of supplements sold through e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. The solution for dietary supplement assurance is the SQF Food Safety Code for the Manufacture of Dietary Supplements, benchmarked by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) since 2008. SQFI’s Edition 9 code is up-to-date with FSMA regulations and the expectations of retailers and brand owners for assurance of product safety.

The FDA FSMA regulation addresses dietary supplement good manufacturing practices and labeling, however there is no regulation around the surety of safety or efficacy regarding the action of the active ingredients on the human body, or companion animals for that matter. The market of supplements for pets is growing exponentially as more consumers take their pet’s health more seriously than their own.

The Canadian regulatory authority, CFIA, exercises stricter oversight and guidance to the industry on safety in manufacturing processes. Natural health products, as they are known in Canada, must be reviewed and licensed by the government, demonstrating safety, efficacy, and quality.

The National Institute of Health, a US government scientific research agency, published a study on the global market for dietary supplements in 2023. They found that the market increased globally by 50% between 2018 and 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic creating a purchase driver. Ranging from common multi-vitamins to botanical homeopathic products to athletic performance supplements, the supplements industry is as diverse as its consumer base and does not fit easily into any one regulatory framework. Individual countries are managing compliance with laws governing labeling, manufacturing, and import requirements, but are not all in agreement as to the degree of evaluation of safety.

Global independent standards established to provide a common baseline to facilitate trade are an attractive solution to retailers striving to ensure products available on store shelves are safe and effective. Ingredient suppliers and finished product manufacturers who achieve certification to the SQF Food Safety and Quality Codes demonstrate their commitment to product safety, integrity, and quality, providing market access and increased brand awareness among consumers. The SQF Quality Shield mark is a visible indicator of assurance for the consumer as they make their purchase decision.

SQF certification is an affordable, accessible, and approachable system, supported by many resources and tools to guide implementation and successful certification. The network of available certification bodies, consultants, trainers, and auditors makes it possible to achieve certification on your timeline. The SQF Food Safety Code for Dietary Supplements is benchmarked by GFSI and recognized by major retailers and brand owners as a rigorous standard of product safety management. SQFI, in operation since the 1990’s, is the program the industry relies on for consistency and reliability of product safety assurance. 

For more information about how the SQF code for dietary supplements can help you exceed expectations of major retailers and meet Amazon’s new requirements for dietary supplements, please watch our last digital seminar, Decoding Dietary Supplements: Using SQF's Code as a Fast-track to Mainstream Retail.

Watch our Digital Seminar

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