As the company prepares for its exhibition at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim in early March, Will Black, vice president of sales and marketing, spoke with NutraIngredients-USA about the company’s latest initiatives. In particular, Black outlined how ChormaDex intends to deal with the increasing scrutiny the industry has come under.
As far as transparency is concerned, Black said that the company intends to place renewed emphasis on the source of its ingredients. ChromaDex has long been a proponent of chemical synthesis of dietary ingredients, and pioneered a synthesized form of pterostilbene a number of years ago under the brand name of pTeroPure. The company has opened itself to criticism in the past for appearing to be somewhat coy about the ingredient’s family history, so to speak. While when pressed, the company always would admit to the ingredient’s chemical source, the marketing of the ingredient has always relied heavily on images of and associations with blueberries. Black likens the use of blueberries to the use of images of fruits and vegetables in the marketing of chemically synthesized vitamins, which are ubiquitous on the market.
Matter of familiarity
“The use of blueberries is just a matter of familiarity,” Black said. “We like to use associations to help educate the public and we use something that’s familiar to describe the nutrient. We use blueberries because it’s a familiar and more easily understood association for the consumer. No way are we attempting to say that our pTeroPure ingredient is extracted from kilos and kilos of blueberries.”
ChromaDex makes a case for the high purity and consistency of the ingredient that results from the chemical process. In addition, there is an argument to be made for the fact that as pterostilbene is usually present in only very small quantities in botanical sources, it saves the extraction of tons of material to get grams of output.
“That has been the strategy of communication. We can tell consumers that a dose of our ingredient is equivalent to eating 25 cups of blueberries,” he said.
Black said ChromaDex is also placing renewed emphasis on its standards and consulting business. Supplying cost effective testing standards and services will enable more companies to come into full compliance with GMPs, he said.
“That’s a part of our business that has gotten somewhat overshadowed with the development of interesting ingredients like pTeroPure or Niagen (the company’s branded form of nicotinamide riboside, also referred to as NR). It is still a very important part of our business. In particular, we are highlighting our Comply ID program that provides customers with a fast and reliable method of third party ID and verification of incoming raw materials,” he said.
More R&D space
As far as Niagen is concerned, Black said the company is in further development of new delivery modes for the ingredient, particularly for its extension into the RTD beverage category.
“Niagen by its nature is highly soluble, but also by its nature it can become somewhat unstable in aqueous solutions. In a powered beverage mix that is hydrated at the time of consumption NR has been shown to be highly stable. In aqueous solutions we think there is great opportunity but I would say we have more application work to do there,” Black said.
One of the places that application work will take place is at ChromaDex’s recently opened R&D facility in Longmont, CO. The $1 million investment will free up space at the company’s existing analytical lab in nearby Boulder, which can now be expanded to do more testing for clients, Black said.
“The construction and opening of the Longmont R&D facility marks an important growth milestone for ChromaDex. This facility is a critical asset that will enable us to acquire additional ingredient intellectual property, and continue our leadership in the identification and development of additional NAD+ metabolites,” said COO Troy Rhonemus.