Dietary Supplement Supply Chain Update: Prices soar, plan or die.

Recently I've been mentioning how upside down the supply chain is in the supplement industry. Raw ingredients prices are skyrocketing, and the ingredients themselves are hard to come by. Delivery dates have increased by months. Bottles and caps have grown to 2- to 3-month lead times instead of 2 to 4 weeks. Last month there wasn't a 45cc cap in the country. In fact, lead times across the board no longer mean much; if a vendor promises 6 weeks, we're lucky to get the order in 12. Lead times have become more wishful thinking than anything else.

Freight for a truckload of empty bottles from CA to NJ used to cost about $2500, but now it’s anywhere from $8500 to $12,000. Creatine has increased 110% to 130%, if you can find it. Caffeine is up 50%. Cluster dextrin and aminos are becoming scarcer by the day.

Here is a new one I haven't experienced before: Whey protein concentrate (WPC80) is now more expensive than whey protein isolate (WPI90). Imagine that. But don't worry—as soon as the WPI manufacturers catch on, they will increase the price of WPI and cash in.

If you’re a brand owner, now is the time to look forward and plan for inventory shortages. Contract manufacturer lead times will get longer as raw ingredients become tighter. Expect 20-40% increases in prices over the next 6 months. If you manufacture supplements, consider building up stock of raw ingredients. Grab as much whey protein and creatine as you can and try to lock in orders through end of year and maybe as far out as Q1 2022.

The problems causing this situation are many. COVID has shut down factories around the world. Likewise, because the ports are under-staffed, cargo ships have been anchored out at sea for weeks and months at a time, with thousands of freight containers held hostage. This is causing a huge shortage of containers around the world. Italy hasn't been able to ship anything recently because they have no containers. Many resources such as bottle manufacturers have switched to manufacturing COVID products and PPE. And on and on. This is obviously oversimplifying the situation, but it at least gives you an idea of what's happening.

Contract manufacturers, which we don’t use, are quoting 20-plus weeks. In 25 years in this industry, I have never seen the supply chain anywhere near as bad as it is right now. We're all in for a wild ride. It is not just in our industry but across the board. Interestingly, I haven't seen a word about this in the media yet.

To my own NutaBio customers, please be patient with us. We are doing everything we can to ensure we get your supplements out in as timely a manner as possible. We will not cave in and use inferior raw ingredients, I PROMISE you. We have not increased our prices because we understand the suffering and financial hardships many of you have gone through this past year. Our team is working overtime to do everything we possibly can to battle this problem and get you what you need. Weekends, late nights, whatever it takes, we will be there supporting you.