The sale was part of a corporate strategy to develop demand for the main ingredient in the line—pTeroPure, Chromadex’s branded form of synthetically-produced pterostilbene.
“The consumer product was more about driving awareness to the ingredient, pTeroPure. It was an experiment that we did that sort of ran out of control a little bit,” Chromadex CEO Frank Jaksch told NutraIngredients-USA.
“The intention from the beginning was to kick start the thing and then sell the brand,” Jaksch said.
Since launching the brand, it has since expanded to the point that it can now be found in more than 15,000 retail outlets. NeutriSCi will take over that retail foot print, Jaksch said.
“We are excited to have found a strategic partner with strong nutraceutical consumer product marketing expertise to take the BluScience brand to the next level,” he said.
"We are pleased and excited that we were able to find such a strong strategic partner as ChromaDex. We feel ChromaDex has built a brand in BluScience that offers what consumers require –a clinically proven product line backed by strong scientific research and development,” said Keith Bushfield , NeutriSci President and CEO. Bushfield said the intent was to introduce the BluScience line into NeutriSci’s existing marketing networks in Southeast Asia.
‘Not a consumer products company’
In addition to ingredient development, Chromadex also has a thriving testing and consulting business, which it has bolstered with several recent deals, including the acquisition of Spherix Consulting. The two sides of the business complement each other, but that synergy doesn’t extend to retail rollout of a finished product, Jaksch said.
“Chromadex is not a consumer products company. We are a chemistry and ingredient innovation company,” Jaksch said.
Taking BluScience from a concept to a finished product was a learning experience, Jaksch said. The company will use the lessons learned to fine tune the strategy of popularizing ingredients in the future, he said.
“I think you will see us employ a similar strategy in the future where we create a brand from a conceptual standpoint like we did with BluScience around other new ingredients we have. But we’ll never launch our own product again. What we will do is take these conceptual brands and find partners at the early stage rather than take it the whole way like we did with BluScience,” Jaksch said.
In the case of pterostilbene, a powerful antioxidant that can be found at low levels in blueberries and other plant sources, Jaksch said the ingredient was still unfamiliar in the marketplace when Chromadex began working on the BluScience concept.
“It was very new as an ingredient. We already had this brand concept for a long time. It was about getting the experience of being out there in our customers’ world. We never anticipated that it would have the success that it did,” Jaksch said.
Supplier, or competitor?
Selling the brand alleviates one of the issues that crop up when a company known as an ingredient supplier decides to venture into the finished product realm. Their potential customers now become potential retail-level competitors, muddying the water for both.
Choosing NeutriSci was a lengthy process, Jaksch said. After reviewing a number of potential candidates, Chromadex chose the smaller Canadian firm as the best fit.
“We could have gone to a larger company and this would have become one of the hundreds products they have and you’re not sure it is going to get the focus it deserves,” Jaksch said.
The BluScience line now consists of five SKUs, targeting healthy aging, cognitive support, immune support, cardiovascular health and healthy energy.