Wiley’s Finest CEO on surging sales, the supply chain, and being ahead of the curve with innovative digital platforms

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags omega-3 Dietary supplements coronavirus Supply chain management

NutraIngredients-USA spoke to Sam Wiley, CEO of Wiley's Finest, about the company's exceptional March (35% year-on-year growth), their strong oil stocks (but consumer goods bottles "cannot be found for any amount of money"), and why he expects much more emphasis on digital for sales.

Supplement oils sales are up about 17% compared to the previous year (period ending March 22), Wiley told us this week. “That’s pretty significant for supplement oils,”​ he said. “That category has really ballooned over the past ten years. It used to be mostly fish oils with some healthy fats but it now includes CBD.

“When we look at consumption off-shelf, Wiley’s Finest data, us and one other top brand grew about 35% year-on-year in omegas. When you look at that detail you see several prominent CBD brands going backwards, so a lot of the omega brands are up.

“If you look broader at VMS category, it was up 200% in a single week in March over the prior year.  Immunity is off the charts. Fish oil is not off the charts, but it’s strong.”

Supply chain

Wiley’s Finest products are made from the family’s AlaskOmega-branded pollock oil. The Alaska Pollock fishery is the largest fishery in North America.

“What AlaskOmega is seeing is that we have good stocks of oil,” ​said Wiley. “We don’t have the import risk that other brands in the omega-3 space have, and the Alaskan fishing suppliers have really been aggressive in locking down their operations. The American seafood, and the Alaskan seafood supply chain is pretty safe.

“We’re almost the wrong company to ask how the omega-3 space is handling the situation because we don’t have these long international supply chains for omega-3s,” ​added Wiley.  

But while oil stocks may be good, there are challenges around inputs like ethanol and isopropyl alcohol, which are commonly used in sterilization. Also, there are issues around the availability of bottles for consumer goods that hold liquids from two ounces up to a liter. “Those kinds of packaging supplies cannot be found for any amount of money,”​ said Wiley. “They’re like the toilet paper of industrial supply.”

Digital

Wiley added that he expects much more emphasis on digital for sales. “Our sales reps have been recording video and sending new product introduction videos saying, ‘I’m not able to visit you, but watch the minute and half video I recorded for the store’.

“I think us and a couple of other supplement brands have certainly been ahead of the curve with working with digital platforms like ExpertVoice​, so store staff can take a training about a new product, answer a few questions, get a free product. Those tools have been really valuable.”

Watch the full video for more insights from Sam Wiley.

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