B&D Nutritional Ingredients was founded in Carlsbad, California in 1993. Since then, the company has attracted and maintained several long standing relationships, including ADM, Cargill and Ingredion, to name a few.
Reflecting on the past three decades, Bill Van Dyke, president of B&D, one of the most striking differences is the number of companies that have entered the nutraceutical space.
“Back in ‘93, there were probably 10 significant companies in the supplement space, and if you had a good year, you sold to six of them. It was just a vastly, vastly different business–we didn't have Chinese imports, it was all pretty much a very domestic type of a business. So that's the biggest thing, this industry has just had just such growth over the years. And as you probably know, there's never been a down year in like the last 30 years, this industry just thrives no matter what the economic times are,” Van Dyke said.
Van Dyke was on the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Board of Directors for 18 years and is also the former Chairman of the Board. He still remembers a time when the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 didn’t exist.
“I was very much involved with CRN and back in the DSHEA times. So I lived through all that stuff and was very engaged in it. Prior to DSHEA, you could definitely say that the industry was not regulated– and we still have people believing the industry is still not regulated, when in fact we are. I would say it was very much kind of the Wild West before DSHEA. Back then, people could say a lot more things about products, but you didn't have the clinical data that we have on so many ingredients now. There were very, very few commodities back 30 years ago. It was very standard stuff, like multivitamins, single forms of vitamin E or C, the product lines were just very crude back in those days,” he said.
Surviving bad headlines
Another change that Van Dyke has witnessed first hand is the power of the media and how its influence has evolved in the age of tech.
“The media had much more influence back 30 years ago than they do today,” Van Dyke reflected. “The media still has influence, but you could turn a market back in the early days on a bad press release. I'll never forget this. ‘Vitamin E Will Kill You,’ was the headline. I think it was November of ‘94. I've sold vitamin E for 35-plus years and our sales of vitamin E based on IRI data and whatever other data we had back in that day dropped like 45% overnight. And today, if you got a headline that ‘Vitamin E Can Kill You,’ the industry would take a hit, but we wouldn't take a 45% hit. I mean, the consumers are much more savvy now and they're much more educated.”
A committed industry
Van Dyke credits his success to the partnerships he’s built over the decades, including long standing vendor relations. He added that he’s enjoyed watching so many people enter the space and remain fully committed to its success over the years.
“I think in any industry, a business that can stay in business for 30 years is a huge achievement. Without a doubt, I'm super proud that I've been able to manage and stay in this industry through economic downturns, COVID, to be a big part of the industry, as I said, I was on the CRN Board for 18 years, so I personally participated in the growth of the industry,” he said.
“My plan is to stay on board for several more years because I just enjoy it so much. I'm just having the time of my life right now with the team and just seeing the industry and our company continue to grow. So I'm looking forward to the next few years.”
While Van Dyke acknowledges he won’t be here for the next 30 years, has three sons he works with who will carry on the legacy he first built back in 1993.
“I'm very proud of that as well, and there’s just nothing more gratifying than to work with your kids.”