7 Steps to Dietary Supplement Product Development
We often get asked what we think of a product concept. The thought process to develop an answer is generally similar, regardless of the type of product, and whether its a consumer packaged good (CPG) or finished product, or an ingredient or raw material.
A number of considerations go into developing and producing successful, effective, safe and compliant dietary supplements, foods, and food and dietary ingredients. These include:
- What does the product do?
- What can be claimed about the product?
- Is the evidence supporting the claims sufficient?
- How safe is the product?
- Who will benefit from the product?
- How is the dosage determined?
- Are the ingredients available at an acceptable quality, cost and volume?
The 7 Steps to Dietary Supplement Product Development
There are seven basic elements to developing a groundbreaking product:
- Begin with the finished product in mind. Determine in full detail how the product will be marketed, what the desired product claims will be, and how the product will address an unmet market need.
- Intimately understand the product value and market positioning compared to the competition. How will the product address an unmet need, or be different than what is already found on the market? How will the product be priced compared to the competition? A full competitive analysis is important to determine positioning.
- What language will be used to describe the product? (This language, found on product labels and on webpages, is considered to be part of product claims.)
- In what country(s) will the product be marketed? Regulations in different countries vary, and it is important to understand the unique requirements of each location.
- How will it be sold? Online, Amazon, Whole Foods, health food stores, clubs, MLM and practitioner channels have distinct customer needs, pricing and positioning requirements
- Evaluate the regulatory landscape. What steps need to be taken to access the market? What gaps need to be filled in order to be compliant with the regulations?
- Evaluate ingredients and suppliers. An ingredient that is processed in a way that makes it different than material used in studies will negate the supporting evidence. And, an ingredient that does not meet GMP and quality requirements under FDA is illegal to sell. Don’t go far down the path of product development without a rigorous evaluation of supply and ingredients.
Product Development Planning
Working backwards from the product claim may sound simple, but it is an analytical process that benefits greatly from industry experience and forethought. A solid plan is what separates a rocket from a dud.
Sufficient time spent in the planning phase is the difference between success and failure.
Product development plans often coordinate the knowledge of supplement consultants and experts, review regulatory status of the product and evaluate the available scientific evidence. A good development plan will identify not only opportunities, but also gaps and risks that may prevent success.