Organic & Natural Health Association hosted its 8th Annual Conference in Cape Coral, Florida. Several topics were covered, including:
Keynote speakers Dan Lifton, CEO of Quality of Life Labs, and Dan Richard, Sales Manager at NOW, started off the conference discussions with talks around “The Amazon Factor” and how fraudulent supplement products are making their way onto the platform. Lifton talked about Amazon’s current APEX program and how the intent is great, but the execution has not been as successful. He proposed a new program to pitch to Amazon called NCEP that will prevent sellers from mislabeling their products in terms of potency or dose. Richards followed up with the tests that NOW Foods has conducted, measuring the potency of quality supplements against the fraudulent products being sold on the Amazon platform.
During the Amazon panel, Elan Sudberg, CEO of Alkemist Labs, began with the role that testing labs can play in the supplement industry’s efforts to get Amazon to clean up their marketplace and remove the fraudulent products. Todd Harrison, partner at Venable LLP, spoke on the legal side of this issue, bringing up the fact that companies should trust but verify everything that their manufacturers are doing. Ryan Boland, Chief Business Officer at Mercola, gave a personal anecdote about how these fraudulent products affect legitimate businesses that sell quality products to consumers. Chris Burkhart, SVP of Global Sales at Nutrasource, ended the discussion by proposing that there needs to be a clear label for approved supplement products to ensure consumers are guaranteed quality products.
The panelists on the regenerative innovation panel discussed the ways that brands are being innovative in the natural products industry. Jordan Wood, CEO of RedLeaf Biologics, spoke on how RedLeaf is harnessing unique plant varieties as ingredients in the nutraceutical industry. Terence Welby, Global Sales Director at Botalys, touched on how Botalys is growing healthy, herbal roots indoors to prevent pests and keep everything in a controlled environment. Tess Barr, co-owner of Bright Pharma Ingredients, talked about using all organic and natural ingredients in supplement capsules. The conversation was moderated by Brian Wickert at EZ Farming, to discuss regenerative agriculture and how it is important to consider now more than ever.
Sandra Lee, CEO at NJ Labs, started off the recruitment and retention strategies by discussing leadership communication styles and how each and every employee needs to be able to listen and communicate effectively. She also talked about how valuable long-term employees are and how to retain those valuable employees.
During the transparency in the supply chain panel, Anand Swaroop, Founder and President of Cepham, brought up the concept of blockchain and how one solution that works for one person may not work for another. Sandra Lee discussed the importance of testing, and that because of supply issues, there is an overall increased cost of business. Salma Fathalla, Senior Director of Quality and Regulatory at JDS Therapeutics, represented healthcare practitioners and recommended that a good first step to expanding the supplement industry to practitioners would be by attending conferences with those niche practitioners that are interested in recommending supplements to their patients.
Continuing on with the recruitment and retention topic, Amy Summers, Founder and President at Pitch Publicity, shared her insight on going 100% remote in the workplace. She shared insights on how it has created efficiency and productivity for her team at Pitch Publicity and the importance of promoting your company culture on social media to recruit talented and motivated team members.
Heather Grantato, VP of partnerships & sustainability at INFORMA and President of WIN gave a brief introduction to WIN and all that the organization has accomplished so far.
Panelists Charlie Brown, Founder and President at World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, Todd Harrison, Karen Howard, Executive Director at Organic & Natural Health Association, Debra Short, Executive Director at SENPA, and moderator Alan Lewis, VP of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs at Natural Grocers, spoke about the peaks and valleys of the current state of politics and what they think moving forward.
Tom Aarts, founder and managing director at Nutrition Business Advisors, gave an update on the natural products industry from 2022 as well as market projections for this year. Elisa Turner, founder at Impakt IQ and Lauren Puffer, director of sustainability banking at Cowen spoke on the importance that ESG has on the financial side of businesses, with companies being 30% more profitable when following ESG standards. Ernesto Carrizosa, executive managing director and partner at WM Partners, LP talked about examples of how businesses are beginning to adapt to ESG standards in order to continue being competitive and signaled a warning that all companies will eventually be required to comply with ESG. Alan Lewis moderated the panel and facilitated a great discussion on ESG.
Karen Howard wrapped up the recruitment and retention sessions by speaking on the difference between a demand and a request. She recommended how to go about correcting the instinct to demand something rather than requesting it for better negotiation tactics.
Panelists John Fagan, chairman and chief scientific officer at HRI Labs, Renee Wicklund, co-founder at Richman Law & Policy, Debra Short and Amy Summers discussed the topic of synthetic biology through the lenses of the science behind it, the law, and the retailer and consumer perspective. The conversation was moderated by Alan Lewis to discuss challenges and obstacles the industry will face and the urgency of the issue for both people and the planet.
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