Why Nutritional Ingredient Supplier Vertical Integration Matters to You

The sheer bounty of dietary supplements and functional foods is a health-minded consumer’s playground. Today, we are graced with a bursting cornucopia of conditionally specific products from multivitamins to vision support to beauty from within to kickstarting your metabolism.

When you hone in on the type of supplement and the ingredients you want, you will be presented with numerous options on shelves and brand sites. You can make decisions by learning about the consumer brand and the ingredient supplier’s commitment to scientific research, good manufacturing practices, environmental stewardship, and social activism.

Another decision-making criterion is whether the consumer brand partners with a vertically integrated ingredient supplier.

What is vertical integration

Vertical integration provides consumers like you easy transparency. There is no “middleman.” It is a term more recently known as farm to table. Through controlling most or all steps in the operation -- from the source (fields and farms) through delivery to the brand, traceability is optimized and the operation is economized. This means that the consumer brand is much better positioned to control the quality and cost of the product.

An advantage of vertical integration is the ability to streamline the process of obtaining ingredients, processing and purifying them, and delivering the finished product to their customer. This allows a consumer brand to be more efficient and provide shorter turnaround times so that your retailer’s shelves are stocked. At the same time, vertical integration supports and enhances the integrity of the supply chain, minimizing and even eliminating potential disruptions, also resulting in ensuring availability for consumers.

For nutritional ingredients, which are primarily from natural sources (such as marigolds and peppers), the ability to learn where they come from, who the farmers are and how the ingredients are made can make the difference in choosing the product you trust to meet your needs. Transparency has been more important than ever because without it, safety and efficacy can be rightfully questionable.

Our vertically integrated supply chain

Omniactive, the manufacturer of Lutemax 2020, operates a vertically integrated supply chain for lutein and zeaxanthin-based products that starts with non-GMO seeds and cultivation of marigold and paprika crops with a dedicated base of farmers in India to processing them into oleoresins and finally finished goods.

OmniActive has access to more than 1,000 genetic types of marigold and paprika crops that are used in plant breeding work to develop nutrient-dense varieties for manufacturing into nutritional ingredients for supplements and functional foods. The non-GMO seeds are given to the company’s exclusive farmer partners, who then cultivate premium marigold flowers.

Our agricultural team educates the farmers on how to follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) guaranteeing that they meet consistent quality requirements to ensure safety and authenticity of the raw material before processing. Agricultural specialists continuously perform field visits, which gives the vertically integrated supplier the critical visibility on cultivation practices.

The harvested marigolds are then sent to OmniActive’s facilities where the first phase of production begins with the drying of the flowers and fruits. The water extracted from the drying process is recycled and purified, then reused by the company’s farmer partners or for processing in the facilities.

In the vertical operation, these steps matter because the consumer brand you invest in can instead choose generic ingredients obtained from a broker that may or may not know where the marigolds are grown, what species are used, the quality of the seeds, how the material was processed, or how the farmers are treated. But with an authentic vertically integrated supplier, brands will have visibility to the entire process.

A not-so-obvious benefit of a vertical supplier is its ability to work directly with the farmers and their communities and to empower them to sustainably and responsibly support their families. OmniActive partners with its farming communities to minimize the ecological footprint of its agricultural activities and empowers them through a guaranteed buy-back program that protects the farmers’ rights and their well-being.

Our Improving Life Foundation

When you purchase a product featuring Lutemax 2020, you are helping to support the health and welfare of the marigold caretakers through OmniActive’s social responsibility program, Improving Lives Foundation. As part of the Improving Lives Foundation, OmniActive focuses on improving the health and livelihood of small farming communities. The Foundation addresses some of the most pressing issues in rural India: health, environment, and education, as it engages in diverse activities including providing access to clean drinking water, eye camps, tree planting, renewable energy, education for youth and farmer development and training.

Vertical integration, in a very real sense, encompasses you, the consumer. By using products containing Lutemax 2020, you have helped provide over 2,752 eye exams, 594 cataract treatments, 879 pairs of glasses, among other initiatives that further support the health needs of farming villages in rural India.

OmniTrivia: Marigolds attract not only bees but butterflies, such as Hayhurst’s scallopwing, American painted lady, sleepy orange, red admiral and the monarch. (source)