Choosing an Ingredient Supplier for Supplements: The Ultimate Guide

Choosing an Ingredient Supplier for Supplements:  The Ultimate Guide

Choosing an Ingredient Supplier for Supplements: The Ultimate Guide

Picture this. It’s a Thursday afternoon; you receive a call from your largest client. They want you to test out a new product; a ready-to-consume sports bar to boost stamina and endurance for their latest target audience – athletes. 

They also tell you that they have a budget to meet, but they want this product to be extremely effective. 

After ideation, research and planning, your product development team begins gathering the necessary ingredients needed from their stock of currently approved suppliers. They have all the ingredients they need for the prototype, except for the main one; a dietary supplement to boost stamina. 

Post extensive research on these supplements, the purchasing team has the task of obtaining them quickly. 

But a problem arises. The product should meet quality norms, be reasonably priced, and has to be approved by all teams in the company.

So, how does the purchasing team find a reputable ingredient supplier for this specific ingredient? 

Read ahead to find out. 

Questions to Ask While Choosing a Reputable Ingredient Supplier

Do They Meet the Basic Quality Standards?

The ingredient supplier of your choice must meet several criteria as established by the product development, quality assurance, manufacturing and sales and marketing departments. 

  • Manufacturing will require the dietary supplement to be packaged in containers or sachets for ease of use and production. 
  • Sales and marketing will dictate the range of costs for a product that is acceptable to the client. 
  • Quality assurance will have a list of criteria that have to be met for quality control and food safety.  

An ingredient supplier should have a history of supplying acceptable products and services, as indicated by the number of years in business, customers’ reviews, financial stability and audit results. A reputable supplier business should also meet regulatory requirements and industry standards.

Do They Meet the Minimum Certification Requirements?

  1. Registration with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and a number or signed letter stating that they are registered and comply with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002. 
  2. A signed letter of guarantee ensuring that they supply products that are unadulterated and safe within the meaning of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as amended.
  3. A certificate of insurance, naming the company as additionally insured. 
  4. A copy of the latest food and beverage safety and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) audit report they have received within the previous year.
  5. A copy of their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program.
  6. A materials safety data sheet specifying all chemical ingredients used.
  7. An emergency information sheet listing the person(s) responsible for emergency responses.
  8. A specification sheet for the ingredients to be supplied, containing the following:-
  • An ingredient statement with all information on the allergens present 
  • The nutrition facts label
  • The shelf life of the product and storage conditions 
  • Packaging information
  • A traceability code and an explanation on how to understand it
  • A description of the product

Are They Certified by Local Bodies?

A Certificate of Free Sale from the state in which the company operates should be asked for to ensure that the supplier is in good standing with the state’s regulatory agencies. Any potential food ingredient supplier unable to obtain a Certificate of Free Sale should not be taken into consideration. 

After obtaining the necessary documents, reviewing them for completeness and accuracy is necessary. The product development team should analyze specification tolerances, while quality assurance ensures quality control. This step in the supplier evaluation process should not be overlooked.

Are Their Samples Clinically Approved?

It is essential to ask potential suppliers for product samples. If after review, these samples are found to be unacceptable, it is safe to assume that the final products delivered will be the same. 

Once samples are satisfactory, it is up to the purchasing team to select and approve first and second choice ingredient suppliers.

Can They Add Value to Your Business?

A key criterion for selecting the right supplier is value. Cost should not be the lone factor. Instead, the supplier’s capabilities and total cost of ownership should be looked at. This includes:

  • Customer Service
  • Delivery Commitments 
  • Readability & Responsiveness 
  • Corrective Action
  • Resource Savings

Do They Understand the Key Metrics of Their Business?

It is essential to ensure that suppliers have an in-depth understanding of their operations. Therefore, self-assessment questionnaires can be utilized to identify any performance gaps. 

It is also crucial for the research team to monitor informative metrics that direct value to the business and business practices. Examples of these metrics include rejected lots, perfect shipments and documentation errors, which should measure the total cost of ownership and improve performance to ensure quality finished products.

Are They Looking to Create Long-Term Relationships?

In the end, manufacturer and ingredient supplier relationships are at their best when a strategic alliance is formed, allowing complete knowledge of the source of materials and ensuring high quality. 

When choosing a supplier, it is essential to select one with which you can create strong business partnerships. When these relationships are established, a supplier is more likely to:

  • Anticipate what is needed from manufacturers and undertake the leadership role in communication.
  • Notify the manufacturer if problems occur that limit production availability, or if a quality issue is identified.
  • Communicate production delays when downtime or maintenance is necessary .
  • Improve overall supplier performance.

Establishing a mutual partnership, even before selecting the supplier allows for increased understanding and mutually beneficial supplier management. 

Other Necessary Questions to Ask:

  • What is the variety of ingredients they can provide?
  • Where do they source ingredients from?
  • What is the delivery time?
  • What is the price range of products?
  • Who are the other clients? What do they say about the vendors?
  • Is the ingredient tested and are there clinical studies to support claims?

Choosing the right ingredient supplier may seem complicated, but it is crucial to ensure the success of the final product in terms of both quality and safety. To minimize the risk to your company, choose the ingredient source wisely. Then, confirm this source when it arrives and test the product to verify that it meets expectations and is safe to use. Finally, document all these steps to validate your commitment to product quality and safety.

At Enovate Biolife, we supply scientifically proven ingredients that are unparalleled to the market. Our customers are constantly provided with an array of products that boost stamina and improve overall health. 

To learn more about the products we offer, email us at

What are you waiting for? Add the missing ingredient to your product now.