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The Ins and Outs of Nutraceutical Fulfillment Feature

The Ins and Outs of Nutraceutical Fulfillment 

Roughly 84 percent of Americans consume vitamins, nutritional or dietary supplements daily, industries that process nutraceutical fulfillmen...
Alana Wilson
October 16, 2019

Roughly 84 percent of Americans consume vitamins, nutritional or dietary supplements daily, industries that process nutraceutical fulfillments have great responsibility across the globe. Health is a prioritized industry across the nation, with the high demand, it’s important for companies to have these products in warehouses ready to be processed. 

When looking for nutraceutical fulfillment services, it’s important to ensure compliance with important standards. The warehouse where the services take place must follow CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices). These practices are established and enforced by the FDA. It’s also important to look for an FDA Food Grade facility. 

Finding a fulfillment company that meets these standards and your unique needs is a required step to success.

 What Is Nutraceutical Fulfillment?What Is Nutraceutical Fulfillment

Nutraceuticals are a pharmaceutical substitution claiming to endorse basic human life, more specifically these products and foods claim to promote one’s health. With a wide array of products, this is a difficult industry to monitor. 

Inventory levels fluctuate based on consumption, but there will always be a demand for nutraceuticals. In fact, consumption is expected to hit an all-time high in 2020. Warehousing and distribution centers that offer fulfillment services should be extremely organized and proactive to prepare for shifting demands. 

The Nutraceutical industry developed in the 1990’s and didn’t become popular until the downfall of the economy almost 20 years later. It was then that nutraceutical and nutra weight vitamins became a doctor-recommended means of boosting one’s health

With the recent health craze, manufacturers have had to adjust some of their products to include non-genetically modified ingredients. Preferred nutraceuticals are those made with only natural and organic elements. 

Since 2010, most people have incorporated at least one nutraceutical product into their daily lives. In 2021, the industry should see an increase of about $100 billion. Even pets have joined the trend, as there is merchandise available to maintain an animal's health. 

The United States dominates the nutraceutical industry with a 39.6 percent market share in this area. In 2015, the country brought in roughly $64.8 billion in nutraceutical revenue, that number is expected to nearly double to $102.6 billion within the next five years. 

New Years Day ignites the sales of nutraceuticals with 45 percent of New Year's resolutions being health-related, these products should maintain a booming industry for as long as they exist. In fact, many companies are expected to expand to other parts of the world, such as Brazil, China, and India. By 2030, China is anticipating surpassing the U.S. in demand for nutraceuticals. 

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Nutraceutical order processing at fulfillment companies include inventory such as:

  • Energy drinks
  • Energy bars
  • Skincare products
  • Some cosmetics
  • Pet treatments and health supplements
  • Herbal compounds
  • Gluten-free products
  • Bodybuilding and fitness products
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Supplements    

Energy Drinks and BarsEnergy Drinks and Bars

While the main ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, some drinks like Monster are mandated as a nutraceutical according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A recent study mentioned more than 65 million millennials have flocked to energy drinks, giving them a powerful share in this market. 

Millennials are also keen on drinks that optimize hydration, including plant-based and coconut-based drinks that are dairy-free, as well as beverages with probiotics.

Skincare Products and Cosmetics

A category that attracts women of all ages, skincare products, and cosmetics in the nutraceuticals family include those that consumers apply topically or consume. For example, vitamins listed as improving healthier skin, hair, and nails. 

A 2018 study revealed nutraceutical products for cosmetics contain natural ingredients, which can improve skin aging and potentially decrease the chance of some diseases. 

Pet Treatments and Health Supplements

Many people provide their pets with nutraceuticals on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep them healthy and to protect them from diseases. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) mentions the following as common ingredients in pet nutraceutical products:

  • Probiotics
  • Prebiotics 
  • Omega-3-fatty acids 
  • Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM, a type of organic sulfur compound that can decrease the chance of osteoarthritis
  • Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, both of which may help with arthritic symptoms
  • Lipoic acid 
  • S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) 
  • Milk thistle 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Taurine, which allows for dilated cardiomyopathy and retinal degeneration in cats and so they can digest amino acids
  • Inulin, which promotes digestion and acts like fiber
  • Green-lipped mussels, which contain polysaccharides and glycosaminoglycans, both of which can keep pet joints healthier
  • Vegetables and fruits, especially tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, cranberries, carrots, and blueberries, often for their antioxidant qualities
  • Essential fatty acids such as sunflower, flaxseed, and fish oils
  • Collagen, which can alleviate pain from osteoarthritis, especially for dogs

The concern of our own health encouraged individuals to take an interest in the wellness of their pets as well. Sometimes, people are actually more wary of their animal's health than their own. This is another section that greatly adds to the popularity of nutraceuticals. 

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Herbal Compounds

Herbal compounds are used primarily for preventative measures, including: 

  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Immune diseases
  • Eye disease
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Allergies

Individuals across the globe obsess over their health to prevent unfortunate outcomes like the ones listed above. Although there are treatments for many of these diseases, a lot of the times it is not completely curable. People are urged to take medicinal and herbal compounds to prevent these diseases before they become a factor. A variety of nutraceutical products fall into this bracket. 

Gluten-Free Products

The gluten-free food trend has seen substantial, exponential growth in the past several years. 20 percent of consumers have either cut down or eliminated gluten from their diets in the last few years. Up to 29 percent of them prefer to buy beverages and foods labeled as gluten-free for dietary reasons.

This gluten-free frenzy is not necessarily because of an allergy, either. Gluten-free items are a preference 35 percent of the time, simply because the label creates a healthier perception. Other reasons for requesting gluten-free items include digestive health, weight loss, inflammation, gluten sensitivities, and transitioning to gluten for a loved one with the allergy known as celiac disease. 

Bodybuilding and Fitness ProductsBodybuilding and Fitness Products

Bodybuilding and fitness nutraceuticals are top sellers. In 2017, the global fitness and sports nutrition industry raked in  over $28 billion. As the health and fitness sectors continue to expand, the revenue is also expected to rise to a whopping $45.27 billion. 

Bodybuilding products fluctuate in demand because of the negativity surrounding them, steroids for example. However, protein drinks and bars continue to flourish in the industry. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Aside from the fact that doctors recommend taking daily doses of vitamins, it is ingrained in many of us as children. This carries over to our children and continues down the line. In fact, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH), states multivitamin/mineral supplements are rooted in American lifestyles. 

Of all the minerals and vitamins sales in the US, 40 percent of them are multivitamin/mineral supplements. In 2014, these products brought in $5.7 billion in revenue. 

Consumption of vitamins has a roller coaster structure, young children, especially those aged four through eight, will likely consume multivitamins. This isn’t of their own volition, of course, but rather that of their parents. 

As the teenage years come around there is a decrease in intake, but that number will rise again once they are adults. The numbers begin to peak for adults aged 71 and older. These individuals rely heavily on multivitamins for all areas of their health.

The top-selling nutraceutical is liquid prenatal vitamins. Nearly all women who are expecting are advised by a doctor to take some form of prenatal vitamins. These help the energy and hormonal levels before, during and after pregnancy. 

Supplements

Dietary supplements are the most popular nutraceuticals. These nutraceuticals have a high reputation, 87 percent of people believe in the supplement’s effectiveness, quality, and safety standards. 

Many individuals live life on the go and their health takes the negative impact, but dietary supplements offer those who are constantly traveling through the ropes of life another option. These nutraceuticals are sold in many stores across the nation for easy access. 
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Shipping Nutraceutical ProductsShipping Nutraceutical Products

Fulfillment solutions consist of a variety of methods in order to gain customer loyalty. Depending on the products being shipped, a few services can be offered: 

Kitting and assembly - Warehouses use kitting and assembly procedures when an order has more than one product. For example, if a buyer purchases a subscription box with supplements, it would require a warehouse employee to sort through multiple products and piece together a single box to be shipped out. 

Auto-ship - Auto shipments are generally performed in correlation with a form of automatic payments. Once the invoice has been paid, the warehouse will receive a notification to pack and ship the item. Creating an “automatic” system for the buyer. The transaction is usually processed with stored information so the customer does not have to go in every month and purchase the same materials. 

Flexible order - Warehouse employees select the flexible order option for customers who purchase a subscription but with no commitment. They are able to select auto-ship but opt-out the week before the box is supposed to ship. In that case, warehouses cross the name of that buyer off and they won’t receive a package for that week.  

Pick and Pack - Very similar to kitting and assembly, the pick and pack process is for subscription services that are not standard, meaning customers get to choose five of ten listed items for their subscription box. In this case, a warehouse employee sorts through and “picks” the items to “pack.” 

The most efficient warehouses perform multiple procedures to ensure quality and speed are of their top priorities. These processes vary for each purchase or service a customer requests. It is also recommended that warehouses acquire warehouse management systems to keep track of products through each step in the supply chain. 

In order to process shipping for nutraceuticals, warehouses and manufacturers must follow the FDA guidelines. For domestic shipping or exporting, these guidance documents are recommended: 

  • Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) - Sets a guideline for manufacturers to follow the current good manufacturing practice to assure the quality of the product is maintained throughout the process. This practice also entails appropriate labeling of the package. Also, any dietary ingredient must be tested and proof of testing should be listed. 
  • Warning Letters & Safety Alerts - Safety disclaimers should be present on the packaging for the consumer. Some dietary nutraceuticals have dangers associated with them and those should be explicitly stated. Along with disclaimers, FDA warning letters should also be visible. 
  • Labeling and Regulation - There are a variety of labeling guidelines for the vast amount of drugs monitored by the FDA. Manufacturers must select the one that closely matches their product. Labels are mandatory. 
  • Correspondence, Statements, and Agreements Related to Policy - Statements released by the FDA or manufacturer to note correspondence with policies. 
  • Health Claims - Up to date concepts of the scientific method related to health claims for health claim petitioners. 
  • Qualified Health Claims - Procedures for qualified health claims submitted to the FDA 
  • Adverse Events Reporting - Reveals the minimum amount of information required for maintaining detailed reports. 
  • General Compliance and Inspection Information for Industry - Mandatory documents to show the up to date inspections, compliance records, and any recalls. 
  • Codex Activities - ensure fair trade between countries, following food standards to protect consumers. 

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What Makes Nutraceutical Fulfillment Challenging?

Nutraceutical fulfillment is a beneficial process considering the right employees are assigned the task. However, there are a few challenges that come with these procedures. Learning these complications now can help your business avoid mistakes in the future. 

Selecting an ideal warehouse is the first thing a company should cross off the list. You need a storing facility that guarantees your product will be delivered to customers in a timely manner. Majority of people who use nutraceuticals rely on them to some degree. If a customer is expecting a package, they have to trust your business will bring it to them. 

Fulfillment Pricing

The first hurdle a logistics company may face with nutraceutical fulfillment is facing the costs of this process.

Creating a supply chain for nutraceutical fulfillment doesn’t necessarily cost much right out of the gate. However, mismanagement can drive up costs if you’re not careful. 

You have to determine the cost of nutraceutical transportation, packaging and following all regulations set forth by the FDA. Fines can be easy to accumulate if you aren’t careful with the transportation process. This is important for both storage facilities and manufacturers.

Item Transportation

Finding the perfect warehouse can be challenging for companies. Some nutraceuticals require very specific temperatures and storing methods to maintain product integrity. While fulfillment is a great option for manufacturers to save time and money, it is crucial to select a warehouse with experience. Damages to products can be a huge loss for all parties involved, including the consumer.

These warehouses are usually offered through third-party logistics companies (3PL).  3PL warehousing can occasionally provide multiple steps in the transportation process including moving products to the site, storing, processing orders, shipping, and handling returns. 

3PL warehouse use management system techniques like zone skipping, orders are processed and shipped out together (usually enough to fill a truckload). Because these facilities are proactive they can manage this process and still get orders out on time. Another strategy is drop shipping, this process takes the item directly from the distribution center to the customer, eliminating the number of hands on the item potentially eliminating error. 

Fulfilling Orders

Depending on where the order’s going, the methods of fulfillment might differ. For instance, if an order goes straight to the customer, more standard packaging and shipping tactics typically apply. However, once you begin packing up orders for doctor’s offices or retailers, you might have to alter or expand your fulfillment practices. 

Knowing the demand for your product will benefit your company. Nutraceutical products are booming but, due to the long list of subcategories, it can be difficult to determine how much of one product you need. 

Labeling and PackagingLabeling and Packaging

Fulfillment warehouses should stock an assortment of packaging materials, nutraceuticals that require set temperatures should be packaged appropriately. Safe packaging should be a necessity for warehouses. Tamper-resistant packaging will keep the nutraceuticals and supplements safe if jostled.

Sometimes the packaging is more important than the product itself. Warehouses should consider customer preferred packing. If a customer orders green products or organic nutraceuticals, they would expect eco-friendly packaging to resemble the product being purchased. Popular environmentally-friendly packaging is materials that are biodegradable, reusable, and/or recyclable.

If your products have temperature requirements, expiration dates, or other sensitive but vital information, your warehouse inventory staff should apply the right labels on the packaging. Following this FDA requirement prevents confusion and allows orders to get to the customer or retailer in the best pristine condition.

Choosing a Supplier

You have to do your homework, just as you would before starting any other business relationship. Remember that partnering with vitamin supplement fulfillment facilities should be a long-term arrangement. Selling your product is your end goal, having the ideal supplier could be the determining factor for your customers’ loyalty. 

A supplier should understand the challenges associated with fulfillment distribution and the regulations behind nutraceuticals. They should also understand FDA requirements including temperature control and special handling instructions. The supplier’s goal should be to get the product to the consumer in the same condition it was received in. 

Finding a Nutraceutical Fulfillment CompanyFinding A Nutraceutical Fulfillment Company

Logistics companies face many challenges during nutraceutical fulfillment processes. Finding a 3PL that is organized can overcome those obstacles and provide you and your customers the best service possible. 

There are many options for selecting a nutraceutical fulfillment company but you should search for one with great management systems. 

Freight Handling

When a customer places an order for a nutraceutical, that product gets sent to a warehouse where it is then packaged and sent out. This is the basic supply chain method, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Every section within the supply chain must ensure freight handling methods are top of the line.

You want carriers who are well-versed in handling products, especially nutraceuticals. It can be beneficial to add insurance to freight, per pound, nutraceuticals tend to surpass the liability limitations some carriers offer. Handling products with extreme care should be a top objective for your supplier. Nutraceuticals that turn up broken or damaged can cost your company money. 

While the freight handlers should work carefully, they need to move swiftly as well. That’s because many vitamins and other nutraceuticals have strict expiration dates. That’s less true with cosmetics and skincare products, but even these don’t last forever. Your carriers should move with a speed that gives your warehouse plenty of time to work and ship out the order.
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Order DeliveryOrder Delivery

If you have a great logistics partner who is experienced in working with nutraceuticals, then you shouldn’t run into issues with delivery.

Your nutraceutical fulfillment center needs a specific delivery process in place to ensure the quality of the product. An area should be reserved for safely loading items and then transferring them to the warehouse floor. Those items that expire first should receive priority they can get shipped out right away, this is known as the first-in, first-out strategy (FIFO).

Lot Control System

Organization plays a huge part in logistics and reverse logistics warehouses when it comes to a lot control system. Lots refer to the order batches your warehouse receives from the freight carrier. Lot control systems go hand in hand with inventory control, organizing your stock makes assortment and distribution much simpler. 

Lot numbers and organized stock is critical for many reasons including issues with the product. Almost any item runs the risk of requiring a recall, perhaps they used a bad ingredient or some contaminant got mixed in. Either way, having a well-arranged warehouse allows for easy access to remove the contaminated product. 

Besides occasional recalls, a lot control system also helps to differentiate between the same products. Brand differentiation is recognized through lot control systems, energy bars are made by several different companies but at the end of the day, it’s the same product. You can have hundreds of the same product but different lot numbers. A product differentiation method lets you determine looks, color, and other subtle changes that may indicate important messages for shippers. 

Having lot control systems makes it easier for employers to sift through stock getting lots that expire first out first, so they never expire before they get into the hands of your customers. Organization can make or break a distribution center. This is one of the most crucial aspects of selecting an efficient warehouse. 

Climate-Controlled Storage Solution

While room temperature suffices for most nutraceutical products, others require cold storage and transportation. 

To ensure your nutraceutical products always stay at the right temperature, look for facilities that have climate-controlled storage solution as part of their nutraceutical fulfillment services. Whether configuring a limited zone or an entire room, those temperature-dependent products must be stored accordingly. 

Not only are labels required by the FDA but they are extremely important for storing methods as well. The labels signal whether they need to be stored in a climate-controlled area or room temperature area. Storing items appropriately helps to avoid damage, having a good system is cost-effective for the distributor and consumer. 

Order Bundling and Other Fulfillment

Zone shipping is a process used by multiple warehouses and manufacturers to get the most for their money. Bundling orders with similar items in one truck makes it easier for employees ensuring everything is out on time. 

However, some items can not be bundled and it is important to know the difference. For example, if one product has temperature requirements but the other doesn’t, it’s better to ship out both products separately. The temperature-dependent product has different needs and could accrue damage with regular shipping means.

Shipping

With the orders organized, labeled, and packaged, it’s time to ship them out. Monitoring delivery time is pivotal for nutraceuticals. Many 3PL’s offer call centers so consumers or manufacturers can receive stats on the order. Another option is to watch the delivery in real-time, usually through an application. This allows shippers and consumers to keep a close eye on their goods. 

Shipping Nutraceuticals with R+L Global LogisticsShipping Nutraceuticals With RLG

Nutraceutical fulfillment involves shipping out vitamins, supplements, pet treatments, skincare, cosmetics, and edible fitness products. While your logistics company might want to add nutraceutical fulfillment to its list of services, it takes excessive efforts to perfect this meticulous process. 

R+L Global Logistics is a skilled logistics partner that can help push your business to the top of the line. We specialize in superior logistics and transportation services. Our multilingual customer service team can be flexible to meet your needs. We understand the challenges associated with nutraceuticals, but with our real-time freight visibility and 99.5% on-time delivery rate we will get your products to its final destination in the time slot provided. 

We are also able to provide Food Grade FDA facilities that follow CGMP’s. These facilities help the distribution process flow much smoother, because it signals to the FDA that your products are following the mandatory guidelines. 

Having a smooth logistics service is something we pride ourselves on, we could easily and efficiently process nutraceutical fulfillment orders. R+L Global Logistics warehouse storing including controlled warehousing, pick and pack services, kitting and assembly, reverse logistics, expiring product fulfillment and more. Contact us today at (866) 989-3082 to receive your free quote. 
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