Farm to table. Bean to cup. Bait to plate. Seed to supplement.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard at least some of these phrases as businesses and consumers put more emphasis on transparency and traceability—knowing where their products come from and how they made it to your plate, cup or supplement bottle.
“We know that food safety is a real concern of consumers, and rightly so,” says Kanan Banerjee, vice president of Amway Global Marketing, Health & Wellness. “Consumers should have the right to know the story behind their products—their personal health and the health of their families depend on the purity, safety and effectiveness of the products they buy.”
Tracing back to the source
Farm-to-table restaurants will tell you which local farms provided the items for your meal. Starbucks is working on an app feature that would allow consumers to trace their packaged coffee beans back to the farm where they were grown.
And at some seafood companies, the fish come with a resume or CV, telling consumers where the fish was hatched, what it was fed, what vaccinations it received and when it was harvested.
That traceability information helps consumers know where their products came from and how they were grown or treated along the way. But what does that mean for supplement companies?
For the Nutrilite™ brand, it means tracking where its botanical ingredients were grown, how the seeds were chosen and farmed, when they were harvested and by whom, how they were processed and manufactured and what testing for safety and quality was done along the way.
“When you hold a Nutrilite product in your hand, you can know that there have been multiple scientists behind the scenes identifying and verifying the precise botanical ingredients in it,” said Jennifer Chuang, a senior research scientist for Nutrilite. “You can also know that those ingredients have been grown, harvested and processed in a clean, safe environment.”
The team of researchers, scientists and farmers behind Nutrilite uses a detailed nine-step process that ensures purity, safety and effectiveness along each phase—from the chosen seed to the final supplement.
Want an example? Here’s what that looks like for the vitamin C used in several Nutrilite products.
Choosing the botanical, selecting the seedlings
After years of research that began with Nutrilite Founder Carl Rehnborg in the 1950s, Nutrilite scientists homed in on one of nature’s richest sources of vitamin C, the acerola cherry. They narrowed the seed stock down to five specific varieties of the cherries that would perform the best.
Choosing the farm, growing the crop
The acerola cherries used in Nutrilite products come from its own certified organic farm in Ubajara, Brazil. Its location just 3 degrees south of the equator make it ideal for acerolas.
The team on the organic farm uses only natural methods of pest and weed control and keeps the trees healthy with natural compost and biofertilizer. The selected seedlings spend a year and half in a nursery and two years in the orchard before bearing fruit.
Harvesting and extracting
Through continual monitoring and record keeping on each farm plot, the farm team knows precisely when to harvest the cherries to capture the highest possible vitamin C content and they will work through the night to meet that window. (Spoiler alert: It’s when the cherries are still green and unripe!)
Once harvested, the cherries are either processed or frozen immediately as speed is key to preserving peak nutrients. The labeling they leave the farm with tells their story.
Manufacturing and packaging
Raw materials that enter a Nutrilite manufacturing facility, including botanical extracts from Nutrilite farms, are checked and double checked to ensure they are what the label says they are, and that they have the required level of nutrients for the product. That happens 200 times throughout the manufacturing process, with records kept each time.
When the tablets reach the bottles, the labels applied include information that can be traced back to the who, what, when, where and how of what’s inside.
Sam Kilgore, manager of Supplier Quality Development at Amway, maker of Nutrilite products, said the traceability process gives consumers confidence.
“Because of our traceability process, we can assure our customers that our supplements contain exactly what we say they do – no more, no less,” he said.
Want to know more about traceability and how it works at Nutrilite? Visit the brand’s traceability experience at NutriliteTraceability.com