CRN president hopes Supplement OWL participation will become ‘de facto requirement’ from retailers

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Steve mister

Industry reaction to the new online registry for supplement products has been positive, said Steve Mister, president and CEO of trade association Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) at the SupplySide West 2017 show in Las Vegas last week.

Over 4,700 labels are now registered and visible in the Supplement Online Wellness Library (OWL), an industry-wide, self-regulatory initiative launched by CRN.

That’s around 55% more labels since April, when the registry finally went live​ after a few months of beta testing​.

Another 3,000 labels are at various stages of being entered into the system. According to Mister, it’s a pretty good cross-section of the industry, with both big and small companies.

At Tier One of the platform, supplement makers can list data from their product labels. At Tier Two, manufacturers can go deeper by submitting third-party cGMP certifications, product specifications, documentation of supply-chain or production sustainability programs, and so forth.

Mister’s hope is that participation in the registry, especially at the Tier Two level, will become a de facto​ requirement from retailers before a manufacturer’s product can go to shelves. “Next year, we’re going to spend a lot more time getting companies onto Tier Two,” ​Mister said.

Building critical mass

In total, there are currently 71 brands represented in the registry—which still only makes up a small percentage of the industry. Hence, Building the registry is the most important priority right now, Mister said. He predicts that a lot more labels will be added before the end of 2017.

“It’s important that everyone sees the value in this—it’s not an effort that should be branded to one trade association,”​ he said. “The industry really needs to feel like this goes across big companies, small companies. And everybody should feel some ownership of it, that they have a stake in it.”

So far, the initiative has been endorsed by other trade associations like NPA​ and ABC​, as well as big industry players such as NSF International​ and Herbalife​.

When the registry starts to get critical mass—which Mister expects to be in late 2018 or 2019—efforts to make OWL consumer-facing will be ramped up.

“We don’t want to get out there too far in front of the consumer until we have a good sampling of the industry,” ​he said, adding that “we’ve always intended the registry would be consumer facing.”

Related topics: Markets, Omega-3s & Nutritional oils

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