Sourcing and processing quality ingredients post-2020

Published: 10-Mar-2023

In 2023 and for the next several years, many raw material suppliers and finished product companies will continue to deal with the supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Rob Brewster, President of Ingredients by Nature

Now, things continue to be complicated as we are amid a recession. Labour shortages, shipping delays and substantial price increases are just a few of the problems that companies are seeing, consequently making it more and more challenging to meet consumer demand and create innovative new products.

The pandemic also forced brands to re-evaluate their entire structure — from sourcing to finished product — its partnerships, both local to global, in-house versus contract and more. But despite the laundry list of hurdles, global supplement sales grew more than $10 billion in 2021 and it’s estimated that by the end of 2022, it will rise to $175.9 billion worldwide.1

Whether this boost in sales continues to grow or stays steady, finished product companies have been, or at least should be, planning for the future of their products more cautiously yet intensely. Brands must have a strong relationship with their sourcing and processing partners to better protect against possible delays. 

After 90 years in business in sourcing and providing more than 300 ingredients, Ingredients by Nature was fortunate enough to continue supplying ingredients and processing custom orders with few setbacks in 2020.

Sourcing and processing quality ingredients post-2020

For example, our citrus flavonoid extracts have been sourced from the same native areas for the past 18 years, allowing us to call on several partners to fulfil the needs of our customers in a timely manner. Having these kinds of close-knit, long-term relationships is vital to optimising output.

Once the raw materials are in hand, processing and testing are the next steps … but finding a supplier, processor and R&D team can sometimes be easier said than done.

The supply chain issues from the pandemic shutdowns brought about new areas of focus that were not previously on the radar, leaving many producers without options. So, reflecting now and planning for the future, several elements of sourcing and processing partnerships must be addressed to better plan and avoid any dreaded delays.

  • First things first, can you accommodate my Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)? Having a supplier and processing facility that can meet both small and large MOQs weighs heavily on your costs and turnaround times. 
  • How many sourcing partners do you have for my ingredient(s) and in what ways can they be shipped to me? Post-2020, this question is something that should be on everyone’s list. 
  • What are your lead times? Understanding the lead times and possible delays will allow you to better plan. It’s also important to ask if the supplier can accommodate rush orders. 
  • What certifications and traceability factors are in place? Knowing your products are from a certified facility with organic, Kosher, Halal or gluten-free options will help you to better market your products to the end consumer. 
  • Can you help with research, development and third-party testing? A “one-stop-shop” that assists in all three of these areas will be crucial for costs and lead times. 

Another vital aspect of quality control is understanding the processing facility’s capabilities. For powder processing specifically, controlling the consistency of the entire process when it’s managed in one place means a higher quality product and quicker response times.

Blending, milling, micronising, density adjustments, sterilisation and freeze-drying are just some of the capabilities your partner should have. Another question is: how focused is your processor on you and your brand? Will your supplier and manufacturer be willing and able to help when you aren’t satisfied with an outcome?

Having a partner that is highly focused on your brand’s reputation and its ability to make quick and accurate adjustments with confident traceability are critical components of a partnership. 

Today’s recipe for success is understanding the critical elements of sourcing processing partnerships, their capabilities, control and their ability to be nimble. This steadfast and communicative relationship with your ingredient supplier and processing facility will ensure a quality product time and time again. 



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