Called the Clean Label Alliance, the effort formally launched on Friday at a breakfast meeting associated with the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas.
The initiative is a cooperative venture of several companies, spearheaded by rice bran ingredients supplier RIBUS, which offers a variety of organic and natural alternatives to common excipients, such as magnesium stearate or silicon dioxide.
Joining RIBUS in the effort are the Swiss nutritional and pharmaceutical giant Lonza, which owns the leading capsule maker Capsugel. Also cooperating are German industrial products company Bosch, which is a top manufacturer of capsule filling machines, and American tablet press manufacturer Natoli. Rounding out the ‘team’ is Biogrund, a German company with expertise in powder blends as well as coatings and colors.
RIBUS president Steve Peirce said in his contacts with industry he often talks to companies that know how to make supplements the traditional way, but sometimes have challenges making the transition to clean label.
He said the new alliance will function as a one stop shop to take the guesswork out of the process, and offer clean label alternatives in an integrated way.
“Clean label is an umbrella in which consumers can identify what they’re seeking. They want things like non GMO ingredients and ingredients with pronounceable names. And they want to know where those ingredients come from, they want to know they are sustainable, etc.,” Peirce told NutraIngredients-USA.
Peirce said the alliance is a business-to-business operation, and that idea is encapsulated in its very name. In his view, ‘clean label’ is an organizing principle for industry, and is not something that consumers are demanding per se. Rather, it’s a way to address in a holistic fashion a host of things that they are seeking.
“Consumers don’t use the words ‘clean label.’ Brands or contract manufacturers may have challenges fitting into one of the categories identified above. When they have a challenge, the alliance is there to offer tech support to the manufacturers, so they can efficiently produce the supplement that the consumer is requesting,” Peirce said.
Manufacturers of dietary supplements or the contract manufacturers they are working with may often be operating on margins thin enough that it makes it hard to switch en masse to new techniques or excipients. Peirce said the new alliance is a cost-free way to get information and technical support on making the switch.
“Supplement manufacturers might not know what excipient options exist. And they don’t know how these options might function against the traditional ‘chemistry lab’ sounding ingredients. And they may not have time or resources to do the testing,” he said.
Peirce said interest in the concept was high at the show. More than 100 people attended the launch presentation of the alliance.