“Building brand awareness with consumer is very difficult, but we were hoping to see a return on our brand-building investments. We were ecstatic to discover EpiCor brand awareness was better than expected,” said Paul Faganel, Embria president.
The company’s brand-building efforts have included web videos, consumer social marketing campaigns, working with a celebrity endorser (Christie Rampone, 3-time gold medlaist, Captain of the US Women’s Soccer team and Mom-on-the-go), focusing on retailer and consumer advertising online and in print, and many others.
A survey of 1019 adult respondents (72% women and 28% men living in the USA) found that, when asked the question “Which health ingredients have you heard of before?”, EpiCor was known by 16.8% of immune supplement users, 9.81% of dietary supplement users, and 8.44% of the general population.
“These results show investments in brand-awareness can, and do pay off,” said Faganel. “We are thankful for our customers and glad that we can support them by helping to create consumer demand for products containing EpiCor.”
Other aspects of the survey was to learn user behavior towards taking immune products. When dietary supplement users were asked: “When are you MOST likely to take a supplement to support your immune health?” 48% selected “Every day to keep me healthy,” while only 5% chose, “After I’m already sick.”
“These results confirm that supplement and functional food marketers need to change they way they look at every day immune support and focus on the benefit of ‘staying healthy’,” said Faganel. “Of course, they’ll need the science to substantiate those sorts of claims.”
EpiCor and Embria were born out of observations that the culture could have other uses following farmers' reports that their animals were not getting sick.
Moreover, in 2004 insurance adjusters noticed that Diamond V, Embria's parent company, employees had far lower sick rates than other workplaces. The company thought the culture could be boosting the immune systems of workers who handled it.
Despite being technically ‘grandfathered in’ as a dietary ingredient safe for use in supplements under the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act, the company submitted EpiCor to the new dietary ingredient (NDI) process, and received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. EpiCor received self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in May 2006.