The supplements you’re buying could be marked up 1,600% or more

SupplementSales50billionWhen it comes to buying supplements from your local supermarket or pharmacy, you’re likely paying more for marketing than manufacturing.

According to the market research company Euromonitor International, sales of dietary supplements now total more than $50 billion globally. What you can’t tell from these types of reports, though, is how much of the $50 billion that is paid on the retail level represents the actual cost of ingredients.

If serious research was ever conducted, and the results were widely distributed, it would be a doomsday for many supplement manufacturers. This is because their customers would be up in arms when they discovered the actual cost of the beneficial nutrients in their product was only a tenth—or even a twentieth—of the retail price they pay!

Unfortunately it’s a little-known aspect of the dietary supplement industry. And it’s even more unfortunate for the reputable supplement manufuacturers when widely publicized media reports correctly claim there is little value in these cheaply-made produts.

A quick search on the internet will reveal that the actual manufacturing cost for most of the products we think of as “nationally recognized name brands” are quite low.

Anyone who can invest in the upfront cost of buying a 1,000 bottles of product can become a “supplement manufacturer” overnight. Websites that connect entrepreneurs with Chinese manufacturers will even spit out a quote for the budding supplement manufacturer within hours—provided you’re buying chemical-based “supplements.”

BottleGraphArt_AverageAnd, since most of the big-name products don’t involve extensive formulas with real food-based nutrients, it’s easy to duplicate the few chemical-based ingredients they contain through a big manufacturing company. They are junk, of course; however, the novice would be astonished at the surprisingly-low price that the cheapo one-a-day type supplements could be duplicated for. 

A single-nutrient product can cost just 30 to 40 cents to make; while a product with a half-dozen synthetic vitamins and minerals will cost only 70 or 80 cents to manufacture. Yet these products are sold for $5 to $15 at the retail level in the big-box stores.

In short, the price the customers pay at the retail level is typically in the neighborhood of a 1,000% increase over the actual cost of assembling and bottling the ingredients (manufacturing).

This is especially true of supplements sold in the national chain big-box retailers. Name recognition is vital in this game, and the manufacturers spend millions in advertising to make this happen.

In addition, most supplements are distributed through middle-men, or distributors, who have to make a profit too. And let’s not forget the retailer, who has to make a profit.

There’s nothing wrong with making a profit–we all have to make a living. But, in the typical supplement distribution scenario, there are three or four entities “making a profit” before it gets to the consumer.

Moreover, if the supplement company is a large company with shareholders, they expect REAL profits. And real profits don’t come by assembling an extensive formula of expensive ingredients that cost $20 to put together…then selling it for $25.

The big profits for shareholders come by manufacturing a product cheaply, marketing it as “cutting edge,” and then selling it with a 15-fold markup over cost.

BottleGraphArt_WFMCThis “manufacturing cheaply” goal may be easier to accomplish than most consumers imagine.

Take calcium for example. The most common type of calcium you will see in a big-box “discount” store is calcium carbonate. You can verify this for yourself easy enough the next time you visit a big retailer.

There’s a reason for this: Calcium carbonate is one of the most abundant materials on earth. It can be found everywhere–in limestone, chalk, marble, travertine and other types of rocks. It’s very cheap. And, according to Wikipedia, calcium carbonate sources (mines) can be up to 99.2% pure naturally. So, with a little chemical “purifying” treatment, it is quickly and easily turned into a dietary supplement.

Since it is cheap and abundant and widely accepted, it is very attractive to the average supplement manufacturer. Even a “small time” manufacturer could make it for pennies a bottle. (This scenario presumes it is not being used as a base to create a more expensive and usable form of calcium.)

Large-scale “name brand” companies can accomplish their manufacturing for even less due to the quantities they purchase. Several well-known international companies do just that. And, after the products are plugged in numerous television and magazine ads—with a celebrity or two paraded out to trumpet its benefits—suddenly something that took just pennies to make is being sold for $20.

But is the discount store’s low price as good a value as it appears? If you are a person who believes it is a good deal to pay $20 for what is essentially 40 cents worth of ingredients, then yes.

But most people would agree that paying $40 for a product that cost a full $20 to make (because it contains a wide array of beneficial ingredients) is the better deal. This is the case with whole-food supplements like Whole Food Multi Complete, which actually contains dozens of real foods. Foods that are easily-recognizable on the label. In the case of a supplement like this, you are paying for real ingredients—not t.v. advertising.

WFMCwShad&Star_175Another tactic the “big names” use to deliver cheap supplements via the big-box distribution system is to use foreign manufacturing almost exclusively. Everything is cheaper this way. Not only the “acquisition” of the raw ingredients, but also the actual manufacturing of the supplement, the bottling, the labeling… right down to the cotton stuffed in the top of the bottle!

According to Epoch Times, the vast majority of vitamins sold in America today come from China. In fact, an astounding 90% of vitamin C—the most common vitamin used in America—comes from China. (You may be astounded to learn what is classified as vitamin C, but that’s another article.)

This is not to argue that everything coming out of China is garbage. China has a rich tradition in natural medicine, and members of the Whole Food Multi Complete team have actually traveled widely in China to research herbs and traditional remedies.

However, when it comes to contracting with China for manufacturing supplements, American corporations are looking for “cheapness”… as in chemical compounds. They are not looking for expensive herbs and other traditional nutrients; instead, they are plugging-in to China’s voluminous chemical factories.

And “cheapness” is probably not what most of us want when it comes to nutrients that we plan to ingest.

It goes without saying that not all companies work with the “make cheaply and mark up 1,000%” philosophy.

Some products—especially ones that involve an extensive proprietary formula and are manufactured in the U.S.—can be costly to make. And there are many highly-beneficial products available in the marketplace today offered by trusted supplement companies.

Most, if not all, of these involve small manufacturers, not big box retailers. And it’s a real shame that these effective supplements frequently get thrown into the same category as cheap-chemical-inorganic-synthetic supplements every time the mainstream media cites a report that certain nutrients do not have any health benefits. The fact is that there is a big difference in real-food supplements and the supposed chemical equivalents. But these differences are seldom highlighted by the media.

In short, don’t waste your money on the cheap supermarket supplements. Instead, choose a product like Whole Food Multi Complete, a food-based product that comes direct to you from a GMP-certified U.S. manufacturer.

With Whole Food Multi Complete you can be assured you are not buying a product that cost just a few cents to make. In fact, the base manufacturing cost is 40 to 50 times greater than your supermarket cheapos.

And the benefits are 40 to 50 times greater too.

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