Demand for reference standards sends signal about industry's commitment to quality, exec says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Demand for reference standards sends signal about industry's commitment to quality, exec says

Related tags Dietary supplement

The growth in demand for reference standards is a sign that the industry is gradually upping its quality game, a ChromaDex executive says.

Will Black, vice president of sales and marketing at ChromaDex, spoke with NutraIngredients-USA at this week’s SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, NV. Black said he believes that the dietary supplement industry is finally stepping up to the quality bar via more coordinated self regulation efforts.

“It’s wasn’t that long ago that we were worried about bad actors.  We didn’t have a lot of coordination within the industry.  Over the past couple of years and leading up to today I feel more positive and I get a more positive vibe.  There are more coordinated efforts like the Supplement OWL database that I think have helped turned the curve on consumer skepticism,” ​Black said.

ChromaDex recently sold its analytical testing arm, which was based in Boulder, CO, to Covance​.  But the company retains a fully equipped lab in Longmont, CO, where it continues to develop botanical reference standards as well as other laboratory services including reference libraries. While not a headline-making part of the business like the company’s ingredient development efforts, it has been a steady performer. 

More demand for testing materials means better compliance

Black said that the increase in demand for ChromaDex’s reference standards is a sign that the industry overall is trying to come into better compliance with GMP requirements.  More companies are aware of the need for more robust testing of incoming raw material.  And bigger retailers like GNC are starting to require more documentation of raw material verification.

“If you assume the overall dietary supplement sector is growing at about 6% a year, the demand for our reference standards is growing somewhat faster than that,”​ he said. “The standards business is part of foundation that underlies compliance validation.” 

Black said that building the lab in Longmont was part of the company’s long term plan to build up the reference standards part of the business. It’s part of the company’s DNA that he said ChromaDex intends to hold on to.

“We are going to be putting a renewed focus on that space and we think we can be an industry leader in that space. Along with the standards, the reference libraries that we build point to forward-looking innovation, to help companies that are seeking out new actives,” ​he said.

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