Readership split on need for new trade association

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Question

Readership split on need for new trade association
NutraIngredients-USA’s readership is torn over the issue of whether the dietary supplements industry needs a new trade association, according to results of a recent poll.

Last week we polled readers on their opinions over the Dietary Supplements Manufacturers and Marketers Association (DSMMA) proposed by Jarrow Rogovin, founder and president of Jarrow Formulas.

Please click here to read our initial coverage of that announcement​.

In our poll, we asked readers for their opinion on this issue. The options were: “Well done, Mr Rogovin: I support the initiative”; “I'm curious, but it's too early to judge DSMMA: Actions speak louder than words”; “There is no need: The existing trade associations are doing a great job”; and “It's a bad decision: Another association will weaken the industry's voice”.

Before we start, it is important to note that this was a basic poll and our sample size was small.

As shown in the chart below, opinion was split on the subject: 39% of respondents thought that another association will weaken the industry's voice, while 31% voted in favor of the new association. Eighteen percent said they were “curious, but it's too early to judge DSMMA”. Only 12% said “There is no need: The existing trade associations are doing a great job”

NIU DSMMA Poll

Members or non-members?

When asked about their allegiances, 63% said that they were, or the company they worked for was a member of an existing association; while 32% were not members (5% did not answer this question).

Interestingly, of the non-trade association members, 53% supported the DSMMA initiative and 32% said they were curious.

On the flip side, of the trade association members, 54% voted that DSMMA was a bad decision, while 21% supported the DSMMA initiative and 8% said they were curious.

Encouraging

In an email to NutraIngredients-USA, Mr Rogovin said the poll is "encouraging given that the current trade associations for the most part have kept the industry in the dark about the NDI Guidance and, in particular, what the trade associations are doing and not doing, it is significant that so many people see the need for the formation of the DSMMA.

"What also needs to be asked are: How aware are you of the NDI Draft Guidance? How much do you know about what the current trade associations are doing? Do you think that companies and the public should be excluded from the Comment Process to the FDA? Do you support the basic principal of DSMMA that comment from the industry as well as the public are critical to the process?"

Commenting on the poll itself, he added that the responses depend on how the questions are asked, "and I think the questions left too much out"​.

Voice of reason

Commenting on the results, Harry Rice, PhD, director of regulatory & scientific affairs for the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) told NutraIngredients-USA: “That the majority of existing trade association members think that another trade association is a bad idea because it will weaken the industry’s voice suggests to me that the trades are doing a good job of representing its members' interests.

“With respect to another association weakening the industry's voice, if it's a voice of reason, it can only strengthen the cause. I don't believe the converse is true though. That is, an irrational voice will not weaken our efforts. Rather, an irrational voice will likely be ignored.”

Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) noted that the numbers indicate that the one-third of companies that do not join trade associations now think there is a need for a new trade association.

"But does that mean that they will join the newest association? It would have been interesting to ask this as a follow-up question, but based on the American Herbal Products Association's experience, the 'non-joiners’ are no more likely to join a new group than one of the existing organizations.

“The most disturbing number here is that 21 percent of current trade association members think a new organization is needed. If this reflects any portion of AHPA’s membership I invite any company who thinks we are not serving their interests to contact me,"​ added McGuffin.

Conclusions

We obviously cannot read too much into this (it is based on a sample of 60 respondent), but it appears that the majority of existing trade association members think that another trade association is a bad idea because it will weaken the industry’s voice, while the majority of non-trade association members supported the DSMMA initiative.

This last result begs the question: Are these respondents non-members because they are not happy with the current trade associations, or because they do not generally join trade associations?

Related topics: Suppliers, NDI draft guidance

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