The great debate going right now about Prop Blends. Started by Joshua Schall one of the industry's brightest players. Here are my 2 cents:
The ongoing debate with prop blends is not as simplistic as many make it out to be. I have spent 2 decades studying prop blends, more than anyone in this industry. I have tested thousands (yes 1000s without exaggeration) of products on the market along the way. I have found many legit brands that use prop blends and many complete frauds. The truth is that Prop blends themselves are not inherently evil, it’s how they are used that is bad.
This problem is way deeper than most people understand. The blame doesn't go solely on a handful of shady brand owners --- it’s much more complicated... many (not all) formulators, manufacturers, ingredients suppliers are complicit. Shady brand owners wanting to save a buck always get the blame and in many cases, it’s deserved, but often they themselves were the victim. Countless DS startups over the last 2 decades began with a sincere desire to sell efficacious products but fell victim to manufacturers and formulators who misused prop blends to win the bid.
I first discovered the inherent evil of prop blends back around 1999. I had prop blends in all my products and had to threaten a lawsuit to get the formulas from the manufacturer. When I did I found out my products were under-dosed shit. By 2001 had switched NutraBio over to being the first Non-Prop Blend brand. I didn’t do it for marketing hype and it wasn’t because I got caught with shady formulas and needed to overcompensate publicly. I didn’t expose others, I exposed my own brand publicly. I showed people what was really in my own products and then threw them in the garbage, over $250,000 in the dump. I went from a 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse to a 400 sq. ft. rental bin and the only reason I didn’t go bankrupt is because I couldn’t afford to. For the 2 decades since I have studied every aspect and angle of prop blends and still remain its biggest opponent.
#1 Prop Blend Truism: Not all brands that use prop blends are bad and Not all brands with label disclosure are good. I’ve tested numerous prop blend supps that have shown to be efficacious formulas. So why don’t they go transparent? I just don’t know. On the other hand, there are shady brands that realize that consumers have no idea what the efficacious dosage of most ingredients are, so they go with disclosed labels and under-dose their products. Just because it’s not black and white doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do right by our customers.
#1 Prop Blend Myth: Prop blends are important to protect your IP from competitors! Bullshit! Trademarks and patents protect IP, prop blends cannot. The regs mandate that every active ingredient must be listed on the label, therefore a lab can test for the dosage of each ingredient. You have a big hitter, anyone willing to pay a lab can know what’s in it.
#2 Prop Blend Myth: Scam companies cheat and don’t meet label claim anyway so what good is a transparent label if the actives aren’t in there? People will always murder so why make it illegal is my usual answer. Those who cheat consumers are criminals. The rest of us have to be better than that. We need to create a more honest and efficacious industry that protects consumers which in turn builds a stronger more legitimate industry for our future.
#3 Prop Blend Myth: Other industries use prop blends, it's normal and acceptable. True, most CPG products have prop blends that really do protect some IP like, flavor, mouthfeel, etc. But we don’t sell Twinkies and Skittles we sell products with active ingredients that are supposed to change people’s lives. Pop Tarts don’t have active ingredients so who gives a fuck how much flour & lard is in them. The macros are what counts in those and they must be disclosed. We’re not selling paint for your bathroom walls, we’re selling supps that people put in their bodies to help them. They have the right to know what’s in them. Joshua Schall mentioned this in the video and I agree, we are more like pharma than food. Drugs must disclose actives and so should we. JMHO.
I could go on all night with these points. After everything I have seen in this industry, my opinion is the same today as it was 20 years ago. Consumers have the right to know what they are putting in their body and if they are getting what they were promised. Will they all care, it doesn’t matter, what does matter is that we do what’s right by them while protecting the legitimacy of the DS industry. I don’t believe in over-regulation by the government, so no laws should be passed. But we, as an industry need to self-regulate. We need to move toward a more honest and transparent relationship with our customers. Label disclosure isn’t the only answer, but it’s is a move in the right direction.