A Line in the Sand

As I sit in my seat on yet another cross- country flight from sunny Venice beach to my beloved Philadelphia I finally find the time to clear my head and place my life into typed words. I hope you find it enlightening, enriching and although you may not agree, thought provoking.

I read just yesterday that a certain sports nutrition provider has been purchased for a enormous sum by a company that seems to be one of the big entities swallowing up more and more brands. I really am perplexed and have been at the state of affairs with the supplement industry as a whole- both health & fitness and natural channels alike.
There are several distinct dynamics at work that I will outline and then explain. I hope to also give a formed opinion on evolution and how the empowered , high level industry visionaries can take back the reigns and ultimately how you can make this a reality- yes YOU. The secret that every formulator, entrepreneur, executive, sales director ect ect know that maybe you do not is simply this ” consumer demand is the only constant that grants opportunity, placement, industry status”

You are the motivating force. Without the consumer, all of these “geniuses” are “idiots”, and with consumer demand “idiots” are “geniuses”. Ironic isn’t it that while you are on a quest for whatever your goal may be that those you are listening to and believing need you way more than you truthfully need them? “Mind blowing” haha!

Ok so here is a bullet point outline and I will break each down in successive blog posts #1 being with this post.
1. Marketing “Eden” – if claims seem too good to be true they probably are.

2. The “fix is in”- do not be fooled,
3.” You’re so vain” – demand more, social media effect of dummying down information.
4. Who do you believe?
5. Not making this stressful
6. A new day is coming

1. Marketing “Eden” and all of the delights of paradise- you all know what I mean with this title. I am ultimately a consumer at heart so I understand this as a fact as well. If you read certain ads, social campaigns you will see everything you desire laid out on a beautifully adorned silver platter. The key is to understand something I learned a long long time ago. If claims seem too good to be true, they more than likely are too good to be true. Once you have managed and developed all facets of a brand as I have you understand exactly how this works. If only people realized a couple key items:
– How many brands are entirely developed, and packaged by a contract manufacturer.
-How many products in any given category are not only produced by same contract manufacturer but also are the same ” stock formula” as there competitors. Most of these brands cut back , way back on formulating cost and hiring real innovative formulators by simply ” buying in” on a stock formulas.
The reason being- it keeps minimums low, and outside requirements ie hiring a industry executive with real credentials unnecessary. They are able to significantly reduce cost and essentially create a mirage on a shoestring budget- nice! Who loses- YOU DO, THE INDUSTRY DOES.

I see it everyday- it’s always the highest margin, highest velocity items
– pre workout powders
– thermo ( diet pills)
– amino acids
– single/ combination vitamins
– proteins ( current spiking issue)

Don’t take what I’m saying as a slam on contract manufacturing. I am not trying to this. There are many great contract manufacturers worldwide.

The issue is that especially in sports there are several scumbags- always tied to criminal violations that will cut any corner and work with anything a prospective brand wants. Sometimes the brand has no idea. Most of the time I have found they do.

This is ultimately a judgement of brands that build a product and market it go the consumer and not a condemning of contract manufacturers.

You will think- how can there be a situation like this?! I don’t believe you!

Especially in health & fitness this is the norm of many of these scumbags not the rule. They create bogus labels that illustrate a superior product. They tell you exactly what you want and desire.

With current applications and software even I can create some pretty slick label designs and graphics. I can shop online for some hot packaging – maybe a amazingly eye popping package that jumps out at the consumer along with some great social media assets and a nice website that is mobile friendly with a few interns blasting out memes and graphics touching on as many “trending” topics and #NOTHINGINTHEBOTTLE is skyrocketed to elite status. Yo it’s VIP. What it is, it is Shite and you consumer gobble it up.

They price the products as if it’s really legit- who’s gonna know???

They know what you do not. The FDA is so undermanned that it will take years to catch up with them and honestly they plan on being long onto something new by then. I know it sucks but it’s true. Dig in and see how many recycled ownerships are in the industry in new corporations.
I watched 4 different brands pre workouts run off same batch yet each label somehow is very different.

I’ve been told that consumers won’t know if I had calcium casienate rather than micellar casein in a product I was attempting to formulate.

I’ve seen companies claim to use one form of vitamin C ( a trademarked 15k/ kilo) and actually use ( a junk 1k/ kilo crude Vit C).
Much of these issues arise in cutting corners dramatically and often include sourcing of heavily contaminated raws from china who will meet just about any needed price. This was the issue in past issues with amino bacteria issues and the Creatine issues of over a decade ago. All stemming from scumbags who are simply involved to make money. They don’t care about the lifestyle, physical culture means absolutely nothing to them. They have a passion to steal your money and rob you of your health.

Is it any surprise many of these executives are former drug dealers that washed there money into establishing supplement companies?
The marketing efforts show it as well as the the day to day lack of operations. Most also cut corners as noted and find no problem in lying on labels and in marketing because it’s to them no different than when the cut potency on bottles of testosterone by adding some inert oils. From there warped minds it’s no harm w maybe dumping 10 grams of taurine per 20 gram protein scoop because it’s not a drug.

Many of these upstarts have no industry vision, knowledge or desire to increase integrity of a industry they wish to rip off for some easy money and run. They are hurting you. They are hurting executives with desire and real integrity and vision whom I call dear friends.

It is extremely un inspiring.

One thing I would recommend and review before any item you decide on is to demand and review
1. Company mission statement
2. Profiles of all executives within the company- what have they been associated with prior?
3. Do they manufacturer or contract- either is fine – do they actively partner with online reviewing bodies? The influencers that can’t be bought.
4. If pushed would they produce a assay on products.

Nothing is set in stone but this drill will at minimum teach you to not be sheep.

The reason for my stating all this? Some will say it’s in self interest. To that I happily answer : “it absolutely is” however, it is to create a shift from the current state to one where ultimately the ones who care and have the desire to do so take the lead.

It is a truly rough dilemma.

Category managers and gatekeepers are in most situations strictly gauging decisions upon consumer demand ( ie definite revenue) and not truly placing brands under the microscope as is in my belief model ” there primary responsibility “. Again, this goes back to the power you the consumer have.

Marketing , social marketing and all that is included I find to have a very similar theme – and make no mistake – I am a huge fan of properly planned and managed social marketing. However the theme I have experienced is this- even in situations of higher level social marketing generally I am amazed at the sheer lack of industry, product knowledge among these teams. I like to think on the positive with this one- social marketing, marketing are amazing vehicles and think of how unstoppable they will make a product that is rooted in innovation and proper transparency.

Well where do you go from here?
I will tell you that this is only the beginning. I will be heavily involved with a highest integrity information campaign that will be coming soon. I am going to promote and network all of you to the good guys and gals who you will want to turn to. It will be dynamic. It will be rewarding. It will be the start.

In vigorous health
Tommaso

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