Leading supplement retailer General Nutrition Companies (GNC) has signed an agreement with NSF International which will see its entire range of own-label products assessed under NSF's safety and quality verification program.
GNC is the first retailer to have its whole range evaluated by the certification program. The products will carry the mark for the American National Standard for dietary supplements, NSF/ANSI Standard 173: Dietary Supplements.
"As a pioneer in the industry, GNC has a long-standing commitment to proactively offering our customers the safest, most effective products on the market, while providing them with the information they need to make intelligent choices," said Lou Mancini, GNC president and chief executive officer.
"We are proud to be the first national retailer to fully pursue the NSF certification, which will provide our customers with assurance that the products they purchase adhere to the strictest standards of quality."
NSF operates the only dietary supplement certification program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). The program is designed to protect consumers by testing for contaminants and verifying that NSF-certified supplements contain the ingredients stated on the label.
Products bearing the NSF Mark are scheduled to appear in GNC stores nationwide early next year. GNC has more than 5,300 retail outlets throughout the United States, including 1,360 domestic franchise locations, and 33 foreign markets including Canada and Mexico.
NSF accreditation for all GNC-brand products should give the company a significant commercial advantage over rivals which do not carry the same quality and safety guarantee: the company cited the Natural Marketing Institute's 2003 Health and Wellness Trend Report, which said that 52.3 per cent of the general population are more likely to buy a supplement with a certification seal.
"Featuring the NSF Mark on GNC's dietary supplements will send a clear message to health-conscious consumers that the products they are using have been independently evaluated, certified and accurately labeled," said Kevan P. Lawlor, president and CEO of NSF International.
"In this case, GNC's commitment goes beyond product certification, because they are also committed to educating customers about the importance of seeking out NSF-certified products when they make buying decisions."