The US Department of Agriculture recently reached out to stakeholders in the dietary supplement industry to measure the toll coronavirus has taken on businesses. In response, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) surveyed their members on disruptions they may be experiencing. CRN identified a number of supply chain challenges such as shipment delays, shortages and increased pricing.
CRN gathered and summarized member responses and responded to officials at USDA and FEMA to the potential and existing supply chain disruptions related to coronavirus. According to their report, CRN members identified biotin in China in short supply, high in price and a long lead time due to the shutdown.
NutraIngredients-USA spoke with several firms in the industry, who weighed in on how their biotin supply has been impacted. The impact has affected everyone differently, ranging from little to no disruption to heavy impacts on business.
Vincent Tian, chief executive officer & founder at NutriVitaShop, didn’t go into detail, but said they are seeing a shortage of several ingredients, including biotin.
A number of companies reported that they’re seeing higher price tags, including Connie Richter, VP of purchasing for Life Extension. “Biotin supply seems to be okay for now, but the price is increasing, apparently dramatically. Since this comes from China, most of the delays, if any, are on the transportation side, not necessarily the production side. Along with manufacturer price increases, the cost of freight has increased as well.”
Rhodora Amazan-Gutierrez, Global Purchasing Manager, NOW, is also seeing higher prices. She shared that her company's biotin supply, which comes from China by way of sea, has been in short supply and at a significantly higher price. “Our purchasing team has worked to ensure that we have plenty of stock.” She said that NOW was fortune in highing inked their supply contracts before they saw prices jump.
According to Tony Xue, China General Manager at ingredientsonline.com, said the supply picture for biotin has been a chaotic one: “Biotin has been unstable for years. Sometimes production is slow, and prices are stagnant, but sometimes prices skyrocket for the same reason.” Xue added that one possible reason for this is because one of the main producers in China shut down production last year and no date to resume production has been announced.
Companies such as Lycored who rely on local ingredients may be better positioned to respond to the coronavirus situation as it evolves.
Tamie Green, Lycored’s customer experience director, reports the company has had a much different experience than many.
“We are not anticipating any issues supplying our partners with Biotin. Our supply chain is fully back integrated and we are closely monitoring our levels of raw materials to ensure timely and smooth supply. Our production facility in the US is where we manufacture our vitamins and minerals, including Biotin. It is designated as an ‘Essential Supplier’ and continues to operate in-line with personnel safety guidelines.”
While China is beginning to get back on its feet, the backlash of the pandemic may be enough to push many American companies to restructure their supply chains so that if and when, they are prepared to withstand the impact of another pandemic.