From 2016-2024, the global supplement market is expected to grow at an impressive CAGR of 9.6% (1). That’s quite a lot of money and its quite evident that anybody would want a slice of that cake. But as the supplement market grows, there has been tightening of regulations, legal pressure, and scrutiny placed on supplement brands making it very difficult for brands to thrive and succeed in this market.
Having a reputable and excellent supplement contact manufacturer would undoubtedly make things a lot easier. But how do you go about it? One way is by asking a lot of questions to make sure they are reputable and dependable as well as suitable for your business. There are a lot of essential questions you need to ask, we’ve done the hard part for you and rounded the 11 most important questions you need to ask your supplement contract manufacturer
How Long Have You Been Manufacturing?
One way of thriving in this industry is by making sure that your contract manufacturer is experienced. A reputed and experienced contract manufacturer should have no problems furnishing information about their history and experience. Make sure you can find sufficient information about the manufacturer on the internet and that they have a website of their own. If they’re not on the internet, it’s a huge red flag that they might not be a legitimate supplement contract manufacturer. They might not have a good reputation or enough experience in the industry. There are numerous contract manufacturers, so it’s better that you settle for one that is legitimate and experienced.
What Certifications Do You Have?
Your supplement contract manufacturer must possess relevant certifications to prove their legitimacy. In the US, you must ensure that your manufacturer possesses Current Good Manufacturing Process(cGMP) certification, which is enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These regulations make sure that your supplement manufacturer has bona fide control over the manufacturing process (2). Putting it simply, cGMP certification means that your manufacturer meets industry standards and that their products are safe for human consumption.
Various other organizations can award these certifications, such as:
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
- Natural products Association (NPA)
- NSF International (NSF)
- Food & Drug Administration (FDA) (3).
If you’re creating your own supplements, they must be free from harmful chemicals and substances and possess the marketed benefits. Having a cGMP manufacturer ensures this criterion. In fact, one of the first steps you take should be ensuring that your manufacturer has important certifications.
What Raw Materials Do You Utilize?
When it comes to dietary supplements, raw materials are the foundation and framework, including processing aids and ingredients. They must meet safety regulations, as this ensures that they’re legal and safe for your intended usage. Passing regulatory requisites also ensures that the materials are of sound quality and are suitable for usage in dietary supplements.
The quality of the raw materials must be validated along with the following important procedures:
You mustn’t shy away from asking your prospective supplement contract manufacturer about the source and validation of their raw materials. If they’re reputed, they’ll have no problems furnishing documents about their product quality as it is an essential and good manufacturing practice (4).
Are Your Ingredients Pure?
When you’re producing supplements, you’ll certainly not want to offer products to your customers that cause adverse reactions, which can be disastrous for your brand’s reputation (5). But such incidents have happened in the past, and ingredient impurity is a significant contributor to this occurrence.
In such a competitive space, it’s indispensable that you examine and validate the purity of ingredients used by your potential supplement contract manufacturer. Manufacturers must verify their suppliers and carry out essential quality control measures to examine impurities and remove any contamination. You must ask your manufacturer what procedures or techniques they use to eliminate contamination and impurities if they are discovered.
This should be a major concern, and your manufacturer must initiate all measures to relieve your doubts.
What About Liquid Supplements? What Procedures Do You Initiate?
Compared to other forms of supplements, manufacturing liquid supplements demand more precise production and research. They require a more complicated manufacturing procedure in comparison to other supplements like capsule and tablet encapsulations.
So, if your brand is dealing with liquid supplements, ensure that your contract manufacturer has the requisite techniques and equipment’s to carry out comprehensive evaluation and do it safely. It’s also important to remember that liquids are more sensitive and vulnerable to contamination. You must choose a manufacturer that can initiate adequate measures to guarantee their safety and that they’re free from contamination if you’re dealing with liquid supplements.
Do You provide In House Lab Testing?
It’s also essential for you to make sure that your potential supplement contract manufacturer offers in house quality control lab. An excellent contract manufacturer stability testing, in-process, finished product, and raw materials faculties. These include microbiological, strength/composition, and heavy metal tests. These tests are critical to ensure that your products have been examined for contaminations, quality ingredients/raw materials and that your finished product is pure and of excellent quality. Inadequate lab testing can only result in sub-par products, which will be detrimental to your brand.
Good supplement contract manufacturers will ensure a comprehensive evaluation of materials through various manufacturing processes. Besides, they have a reputation to maintain as well, and this translates into maintaining their client’s reputation.
Do You handle Packaging and Labeling?
Contrary to popular belief, labeling and packaging of supplements don’t only deal with appealing graphics and catchy logos. Your manufacturer must also ensure that your product has a label that meets FDA requirements. For example, the supplements facts label has particular regulations on order of ingredients, font size, and many other stipulations.
If the supplement contract manufacturer is reputed and experienced, they’ll know precisely what goes on your product’s packaging and label. Packaging and labeling are not a small feature, but they can ensure that your products are compliant with regulations. Without proper packaging and labeling, you can run into legal trouble so you must select a contract manufacturer that is well-informed.
What Internal or External Audits Do You Perform?
Your supplement contract manufacturer must keep an internal audit schedule, which includes conducting unscheduled and scheduled audits to ensure compliance with all necessary regulations, product quality requisites, and the company’s internal policies and standards. These audits must assess packaging and label control, quality assurance, quality control, production, and other departments.
Additionally, you must ensure that your contract manufacturer tests the raw materials for identity, strength, and purity before they go into your supplements. Other than these internal audits, many top-tier manufacturers also carry out third party or external audits.
What About Excipients?
If you want to get a resounding response from your costumers, its important that all stages of supplement production are pure and natural. Excipients are one of the first things clients look out for which include the following ingredients:
- Silicon dioxide
- Magnesium stearate
If these ingredients are listed in your supplement label, a significant portion of potential customers will be disappointed, and you’ll end up losing a lot of customers. At times, some of these ingredients might be needed, such as excipients that assist in stabilizing active ingredients. Make sure that your manufacturer is making use of inactive ingredients adequately and not just as fillers.
Do You Have Connections With Vendors For Raw Materials?
If your contract manufacturer has been in the industry for a long time, they must have forged relationships with established vendors that they refer to continuously. Thanks to their frequent business and relationship with these vendors, your contract manufacturers should be able to negotiate reasonable rates for your raw materials and even on the packaging for your products, saving a lot of money for your business. This is why it’s critical that you seek out only experienced supplement contract manufacturers. It’s not just about the product quality, but established contract manufacturers often have links with other vendors that can provide advantages and benefits for your business.
What Is Your Company’s Communication Style?
Communication is essential in any industry, especially the supplement industry. If the supplement contract manufacturer doesn’t respond on time or doesn’t communicate with integrity, it’s better that you don’t get into business with them and find a more trustworthy company. Some companies even lie about what they put into your products. If they run out of one ingredient, they might simply replace it with another. Further, they might not even label your product correctly, causing you a lot of trouble and even run-ins with the FDA. Make sure that you choose a supplement contract manufacturer that has an exceptional communication style. You can contact their previous clients to know about their experiences.
The importance of a supplement contract manufacturer is indispensable. You should be able to trust your chosen manufacturer to produce excellent quality products as well as save your money and time and produce products that meet your brand’s expectations in a timely and efficient manner. These are some essential questions that you can ask to make sure that the contract manufacturer is reputed. However, these are not the only questions you can ask, and its recommended that you ask all your doubts before you engage in business with any supplement contract manufacturer.