Dispatches from SupplySide West

Marketing to health care professionals: The challenges and opportunities

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Health care Cognis

Using health care professionals to help promote an ingredient has obvious benefits, but convincing these professionals requires a lot of science. Kemin and Cognis talk about how to make this approach a success.

At the recent SupplySide West, Stephen Daniells caught up with Laura Troha, marketing manager for Cognis Nutrition & Health, and Corey Jansen, associate product manager from Kemin Health about the opportunities in engaging health care professionals.

Both Kemin and Cognis have extended this and are engaging health care professionals like eye doctors for Kemin’s FloraGlo lutein and cardiologists for Cognis’ Heart Choice plant sterols.

“Our message has been about the science – we want to make sure that doctors out there are aware of the science about lutein, and make sure they understand that there are essential nutrients for the eye, lutein being one of them,”​ said Jansen.

“Health care professionals are great ambassadors for our messages and consumers of course look to their physicians to give them all the information, not just from a pharmaceutical perspective but also from natural alternatives,”​ said Troha.

But could such an approach be rolled out to other ingredients? “It really does come down to credibility,”​ said Troha. “You would not expect a health care professional to promote a product where there isn’t a lot of science. To open up this sort of program, where you’re reaching directly to practitioners, wouldn’t make sense for some ingredients.”

“A certain level of science is required in order to be successful,”​ said Jansen. “I think certainly other ingredients could look to apply this approach, but one of things we have learnt from working with eye doctors is that they want to see the science and the clinical trials.”

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Nutrition Education of doctors

Posted by MM,

If industry does not go to the doctor, who will? They get drug reps going to them about medication! They need nutritional product representatives going to them about nutrition options. Especially something like probiotics which could do so much good, yet many know nothing about. As a dietitian, I get very frustrated with the many patients sent for expensive GI tests when probiotics could have taken care of their diarrhea easily. If only someone had gone to them with info about probiotics! (as just one example)

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Makes good business sense if...

Posted by Fred Lacey,

the doctor is supplied training such as nutraMetrix Educational Institute's CME & Ce course "Advanced Nutrition Principles & Nutraceutical Applications for Clinical Practice".

If doctors were to survey their patients, they would find a majority of their patients already taking nutritional supplements. They should do this anyway to know of any potential interactions with prescriptions.

If they were educated on natural ingredients, studies, quality and bioavailability, then they could better assure the efficacy of the products. There are numerous studies on ingredients like pycnogenol, lutein, omega's, vitamin d, curcumin, etc...to educate the docs and their patients.

It makes sense that doctors could be a big part of getting patients using fewer drugs since patients usually do what their doctors tell them to do.

It makes sense in business to provide this cash based service to their patients instead of passing the sales to someone else.

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rather insulting

Posted by Donna F.,

Marketing nutrition and food fortification to doctors? I don't know where to begin. Doctors are just as prone to misunderstand this as the average consumer. They don't have the training. Worse, they think of nutrients like prescription drugs. But of course, that behavior plays into the purpose of the marketer's message just fine. If consumers are taking their nutrition and food advice from doctors, then they deserve what they get.

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