With customers seeking personalized interactions with their favorite brands, it is important for companies to dig down deep in connecting with consumers rather than the usual "brand-consumer” relationship. From start to finish, brands are expected to pull off stellar, seamless customer experiences throughout the customer journey and beyond. For consumers to have the best experience possible, there is nothing better than offering a tailor-made experience. In an era where customers are in the driver‘s seat, marketers need to engage consumers in an ongoing conversation, creating real relationships and brand loyalty. Personalized customer experience, also known as PCX, is your customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your business or brand. It is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from navigating the website to talking to customer service, as well as receiving the product they bought from you. Everything you do impacts your customers’ perception and their decision to keep coming back or not. With digital marketing invading every aspect of our lives, personalization has become the new marketing strategy. The customer is king. It’s an age-old mantra that rings especially true in this age of the “empowered” customer. Why does personalization matter? Customers today are gravitating toward brands that feel like they are listening to them, understanding their needs and paying attention to their desires. That’s where personalization comes in. It’s a way to contextualize the messages, offers and experiences they deliver according to each visitor’s unique profile. Think of it as an evolution from marketing communications to digital conversations, with data as the starting point. Collecting, analyzing and effectively using information about consumer demographics, interests and behaviors will help you create campaigns, content and experiences that resonate with your target audience. The digital age has elevated consumer expectations for relevant, contextual and convenient experiences to unprecedented heights. Put plainly, consumers have become accustomed to getting what they want, and they’re gravitating toward the brands that recognize them as individuals at every step of their journey. Meeting those expectations lands squarely on the shoulders of marketers, who must support intelligent personalization tactics if they hope to keep consumers engaged and coming back for more. Personalization is good for business If you’ve ever bought something on impulse (think 2-for-1 candy at the store checkout), you know that not every purchase decision is a rational one – our emotions play a big role, too. Emotions are personal to us. And that personal connection is something that savvy brands are leveraging via contextual marketing to create relevancy, foster loyalty and ultimately boost their bottom line. Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that know their name and purchase history and then deliver relevant communications as a result. If you’re going to do that (which you should), you need an effective way to grasp consumer data to deliver content and experiences across all channels that feel timely, in-context and personalized. There are ways to show your audience that you’ve heard their needs and understand just what they’re looking for without crossing the creep-line. When researching into consumer’s personal space, more isn’t always better. Listen intently to what your customers are saying, then use appropriate tactics to offer them personalized experiences to match. The Bottom Line Personalization might be a top priority for brands, but most haven’t achieved their ambitions. And that’s a problem because according to Gartner, the stakes are high. In a recent survey, they discovered brands are at risk of losing 38% of their customers because of poor personalization. There’s no magic button you can press to become immediately personalized. It’s a tough process that requires marketers to work closely with IT, operations and digital teams. But at the end of the day, the potential for revenue generation is huge. The science supports it and customers are asking for it. So instead of asking if you should focus on personalization, the better question is, “How can you prioritize it?”  
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PCX: What Most Customers Expect from You
There’s a longstanding belief that weather affects joint pain. In fact, many patients notice a clear connection; some are so convinced of the link, they believe they can predict the weather better than the TV meteorologists. And perhaps that is true. It’s common for people to blame increased pain on the weather, according to Robert Newlin Jamison, PhD, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School and a researcher who has studied weather’s effects on chronic pain patients. “Everyone’s got an aunt who complained that her knee or ankle would flare up. Or Uncle Charlie’s shoulder would give him trouble and he would say, ‘Oh, the weather’s changing,’” he says. But Jamison has seen patients worry about being ridiculed. “For whatever reason, people with chronic pain are real shy about saying it, because they think other people think they’re nuts,” he says. But Jamison doesn’t think so. In previous research published in the Journal Pain, Jamison looked for an association between weather and chronic pain in four cities: San Diego, Nashville, Boston, and Worcester, a Massachusetts city with much colder temperatures than Boston, he says. Among all people interviewed about their chronic pain, “Two-thirds said they were pretty sure that weather seems to affect their pain,” he says. “Most of them reported that they could actually feel the changes even before the weather changed. In other words, they could feel some increased pain the day before the storm comes.” Cloudy with a Chance of Pain A recent study, Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, is the idea of Will Dixon, PhD, a scientist at The University of Manchester and a hospital doctor at Salford Royal, where he treats patients with chronic joint pain. “In almost every clinic, one of my patients will tell me that their joints are better or worse because of the weather,” he says. “And yet researchers have never worked out whether this relationship truly exists.” According to the study, around three-quarters of people living with chronic joint pain believe their pain is affected by the weather. When the weather is cold, rainy and there is low atmospheric pressure, many report their pain is worse. Others complain the pain is made worse when it is warm and the humidity is high. Since studies have failed to research consensus in part due to their small sample sizes or durations (commonly fewer than 100 participants or one month or less); this particular study went the extra mile to implement the use of smartphone technology in order to gather necessary data from multiple patients living across the UK. Cloudy with a Chance of Pain analyzed daily data from 2,658 patients collected over a 15-month period. The analysis demonstrated significant yet modest relationships between pain and relative humidity, pressure and wind speed, with correlations remaining even when accounting for mood and physical activity. “Once the link is proven, people will have the confidence to plan their activities in accordance with the weather,” Dixon says. “In addition, understanding how weather influences pain will allow medical researchers to explore new pain interventions and treatments. Defend with NEM Dietary supplements formulated with Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM®) can help consumers with the reduction of joint pain and stiffness, as well as help protect cartilage against breakdown from exercise or overuse. The discovery of eggshell membrane as a natural source of combined glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid has prompted the evaluation of this material as a potential treatment for joint pain due to overuse. Stratum Nutrition has developed methods to efficiently and effectively separate eggshell membrane from eggshells to create a shell-free eggshell membrane. The isolated membrane is then partially hydrolyzed using a proprietary process and dry blended to produce 100% pure NEM®. Backed by Science A clinical trial was conducted on our branded eggshell membrane ingredient, NEM®, in which healthy post-menopausal women performed a low-intensity step exercise.  A once daily, 500 mg dose of NEM® rapidly reduced joint pain and stiffness resulting from the step exercise and improved recovery throughout a 12-hour post-exercise time period.  By looking at a cartilage biomarker, it was also found that NEM® protected the participant’s joint cartilage from breakdown caused by the exercise. Back-to-back, healthy population studies have evaluated whether NEM supplementation could reduce exercise-induced cartilage turnover and/or alleviate joint pain and stiffness. A previous 2018 study found that a once daily, 500 mg dose of NEM® rapidly reduced discomfort immediately following exercise and improved recovery throughout a 12-hour post-exercise time period. A substantial chondroprotective effect was also demonstrated from NEM® supplementation through a lasting decrease in the cartilage degradation biomarker, CTX-II. The studies utilized a unique, patented trial design that looks at changes in a cartilage degradation biomarker (CTX-II) in healthy exercising individuals. A reduction in urine or serum CTX-II levels provides substantiation for new joint cartilage protection claims on product labels. The design of these two clinical trials marks the first evidence suggesting the biomarker, CTX-II, can be used to evaluate the chondroprotective efficacy of joint therapeutics in healthy individuals, as well as other populations. Conclusion Although there is no full agreement among scientists that weather truly affects joint pain, but with more than a dozen published studies, they would definitely agree that there is no other eggshell membrane ingredient that is fully backed with extensive science like that of NEM. Interested in seeing the science behind NEM for your next product formulation? Let us know. By formulating your next product with NEM, you might just cause your consumers, who deal with periodic joint pain, to start relying on their local meteorologist to predict the weather. The unique ingredients and superior formulations we, here at Stratum Nutrition, use help people achieve a higher quality of life through health ingredients.      
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Cloudy with a Chance of Pain
When it comes to immunity, scientific research continues to expand consumer knowledge of the bacteria that inhabit our intestinal tract and the substantial benefits from probiotic supplementation. Consumers are now beginning to gain an understanding of the importance of the bacteria that resides in other parts of our bodies, such as the oral cavity, and how probiotic supplementation targeted to the area can play a crucial role in supporting overall health. According to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) 2019 Supplement Business Report, sales of probiotics are growing every year. With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, NBJ estimates this category’s growth may potentially reach 25% this year. With that being said, there is plenty of room for more probiotic-based products to hit the market and now is a prime time to introduce new, innovative options with ingredients such as BLIS K12™. What is BLIS K12™? “BLIS K12™ is a specific probiotic strain of Streptococcus salivarius, which is found naturally in the mouths and throats of healthy individuals,” says Alexis Collins, Product Manager at Stratum Nutrition. “BLIS scientists discovered that while Streptococcus salivarius bacteria is a common species in the mouths of health individuals and present in their oral cavity, only a very few have the specific beneficial K12 strain which is highly active against undesirable bacteria.”   BLIS probiotics are the first oral-cavity probiotics that are native to the oral cavity and naturally colonize in the oral cavity. How does BLIS K12™ support immune health?  Collins explained, “BLIS K12 activates and colonizes in the mouth, crowding out the “bad” bacteria that could negatively impact your health.  In addition to its ability to crowd out unwanted bacterial strains, BLIS K12 produces Bacteriocin-Like-Inhibitory-Substances (BLIS), which target and can help combat these undesirable bacteria.  Research shows that BLIS K12 also supports certain cells in the mouth to help boost the immune system.  While BLIS K12 is activated in the mouth, a robust number of pediatric and adult clinical studies show that BLIS K12 benefits extend to supporting ear, nose, and throat health, as well.”  The Time is Now Today’s proactive-health consumers do their homework and are less likely to be swayed by products that make outlandish, immunity claims without having the research to back them up. “There is extensive background research establishing the safety and efficacy of the BLIS K12 strain,” says Nena Dockery, Science and Regulatory Manager at Stratum Nutrition. “The number of human studies in young children make it a particularly desirable probiotic for supporting immune health in the very young. [1] [2]  As the study of the human microbiome expands along with our knowledge of the myriad of ways in which it impacts our overall health, so will the desire for appropriate probiotics to support our own body’s microbiota.” An Ingredient Partner You Can Trust When choosing an immune health ingredient, consider going with a proactive partner who is eager to share the science and efficacy behind each of their ingredients. At Stratum, we deploy our 5 “Launch” product development layers to provide you with research backed, highly effective, unique ingredients which can possess a unique formulation and market-ready approach. We act as an extension of your team. For more information about Stratum Nutrition and our branded ingredients, please contact us.        References: [1] Di Pierro F et al. (2018) Use of Streptococcus salivarius K12 to reduce the incidence of pharyngo-tonsillitis and acute otitis media in children: a retrospective analysis in not-recurrent pediatric subjects. Minerva Pediatr 70(3):240-245. [2] Marini G et al. (2019) Pilot study to explore the prophylactic efficacy of oral probiotic Streptococcus salivarius K12 in preventing recurrent pharyngo-tonsillar episodes in pediatric patients. Int J Gen Med 12:213-217.  
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Probiotics: The Time is Now
If anything, for beverage companies, 2020 has been the year to learn how to adapt to a “new normal.” Before COVID-19, there was an upward trend of consumers drinking fewer alcoholic beverages. Since the pandemic, alcohol sales have surged and beverage trends are quickly shifting to focus on the needs of the consumers, which include prioritizing health above all else, finding ways to relax, save money and escape while spending more time at home. With the pandemic of COVID-19 turning lives upside, there is a silver lining to be found in the acceleration of beverage trends that have already been set into place. Trend #1: Direct to Consumer Offerings Delivery has become a key element of new offerings and a way for existing products to retain customers. The Boston-based alcohol delivery platform Drizly saw a sales increase of 535 percent over its expectation during the week of April 13th, and each week those numbers continue to grow. More of those sales are also happening earlier in the week. Liz Paquette, the company’s head of consumer insights, says that for the most part, people are sticking to what they normally drink — red wine has always been a top seller — but that they’re opting for lower-priced bottles. They’re also experimenting with at-home cocktail making. “Where we’re seeing the craziest impact is within liqueurs, cordials, mixers, syrups, bitters, all of those elements that go into making interesting cocktails. Our hypothesis here is that more folks are experimenting at home, especially as a lot of the hospitality industry is at home themselves and doing things like DIY classes online and virtual happy hours and things like that.” Even after the “all clear” is given, interest in DIY beverages could continue. With lingering concerns of the spread of COVID-19, many will continue avoiding crowded spaces throughout the summer. Subscription boxes and restaurant carry-out options have also made it easier for consumers to drink their beloved cocktails and mocktails in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Trend #2: Increased Focus on Health and Wellness Today’s consumers are more health conscious than ever and they have been willing to try new, healthier alternatives to traditional options found on the shelves of stores and in their local bars. As the health and wellness trend continues to impact the alcohol category, more brands will introduce functional ingredients into their low or no alcoholic options. Expect to see a greater focus on familiar functional ingredients with established supply chains, like probiotics, curcumin, ahiflower and ginger for immunity and mood enhancement ingredients, such as lavender, chamomile and green tea. As the effects of COVID-19 continue to linger on, increase in beverages that support immunity, sleep and stress reduction will likely remain strong throughout the year. According to Imbibe, “Health-conscious millennials who are ‘sober curious’ will drive proliferation of high-end mocktails. Beers and cocktails enhanced with functional ingredients like turmeric, blue majik, and coconut water as well as hard kombucha will appear on more menus and start to appear on grocery shelves nationwide. Hard seltzer will also continue experiencing rapid growth and more brands will enter the category.” Trend #3: Convenience Ready-to-drink beverages (RTDs) are no longer seen as cheap, tacky and packed full of sugar. Low alcohol, low sugar and natural ingredients appeal to health-conscious consumers, and the price point of RTD cocktails can be half the cost of on-trade servings. This format appeals largely to younger consumers, who associate RTDs with convenience, innovation and a practical fit for their social activities and lifestyle.  Social connection, convenience, and style (through aesthetically pleasing packaging) are important to younger consumers, so these are factors are worth bearing in mind when marketing to this group.  Nielsen reports the RTD prepared cocktails category grew a considerable 83 percent in the off premise to $105.37 million for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2019. “We’ve been tracking a move toward ‘healthier’ drinking and this trend will continue into 2020,” says Danny Brager, senior vice president, Beverage Alcohol, Nielsen. The latest figures from Nielsen showed that off-trade total alcohol sales in the US for the week ending 4 April grew 25%, compared to the same period in 2019. Cans mainly drove the growth of the pre-mixed cocktail category, Nielsen noted. Trend #4: A Taste of Nostalgia During times of stress and panic, like we have been experiencing over the past few months, consumers tend to purchase products with flavors that evoke pleasant memories. Summer is often known as the season for nostalgic eating. Many think of eating hot dogs in the park, enjoying ice cream while sitting on the curb after waving down the truck passing through their neighborhood and snacking on popcorn and candy at the local drive-in movie theater. It makes intuitive sense that positive experiences with a given food could influence our craving for it later, but research suggest that comfort foods remind us of our social ties, which means they may help us feel less lonesome when we feel isolate. In a 2015 study, Jordan Troisi, an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee, the University of the South, and his colleagues found that people preferred the taste of comfort food when they experienced feelings of social isolation. Imbibe suggests, “Lemonade and watermelon are summertime favorites that will be used in many new launches and LTOs over the next few months. La Croix and White Claw recently added watermelon and lemon SKUs to their product lines and many other brands are expected to follow.”      
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The Acceleration of Beverage Trends Following COVID-19
May 21st, 2020 (Carthage, MO USA) Stratum Nutrition®, (a business of ESM Technologies), the sustainable supplier of world class ingredient solutions for pet and human health, announces another addition of expertise to their Operations Department. Kyle Haws joined the Stratum Nutrition® team as Regional Operations Manager on May 11th, 2020.  He is responsible for Separation and Further Processing Facilities, Inventory Management and Shipping.  Kyle joins us from ZAF Energy Systems, a battery manufacturer in Joplin, MO. “I am very excited to start with Stratum and applying my skills in lean manufacturing to a great company,” explains Kyle. “It is so great to see Stratum based in my hometown of Carthage, MO and watching small businesses and communities grow together is amazing.” “We are very pleased Kyle chose to join our growing company,” says Elaine Burr, Senior Director Operations and Finance. “Kyle’s disciplined manufacturing experience with an emphasis on continuous process improvement will provide strong operational leadership as we build for the future and move forward with new opportunities."   
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Stratum Nutrition® Welcomes Kyle Haws as Regional Operations Manager
May 21st, 2020 (Carthage, MO USA) Blis Technologies Limited and Stratum Nutrition®, the exclusive North American distributor for the Blis Technologies’ ingredients, announce the publication of two recent studies, one in vitro trial and one clinical trial, which investigated the effects of BLIS M18 on black teeth staining and found that BLIS M18 is effective in inhibiting bacteria that cause black teeth staining. Both the probiotic, BLIS M18 and its cell-free supernatant, have been shown to be effective in controlling the action of chromogenic bacteria that cause black dental stains. Present in 1-20% of children and adults, black dental stains can be removed by professional cleaning but usually recur. BLIS M18 was shown in a recent in vitro study to inhibit two of the bacterial species that cause the black stains to form on teeth. In a companion clinical trial in children, BLIS M18 was shown to discourage the recurrence of the black stains after removal of professional cleaning. Product Manager, Alexis Collins, stated, “Stratum Nutrition’s partner, BLIS Technologies, continues to produce stellar clinical research that shows the many different benefits and mechanisms of action of BLIS M18. In this most recent clinical trial, we can see how the unique bacteriocins and enzymes produced by BLIS M18 not only help prevent the formation of dental plaque, but also help prevent the activity of specific bacteria responsible for black teeth stains. There are undoubtedly more actions of BLIS M18 that benefit dental and gum health, and we are proud to be partnered with BLIS Technologies as they continue to pursue research on this unique oral-colonizing probiotic.” For more information on BLIS M18, please visit https://www.stratumnutrition.com/ingredients/human/blis-m18.
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Two New Studies Confirm BLIS M18™ Effective Against Black Teeth Staining
If you’ve been around us for a while, you’ve probably heard our mantra of refusing to compromise on quality or integrity when it comes to providing science backed, highly researched ingredients to our brand partners. One way we ensure this is by partnering with organizations like the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). "We have been active members of CRN for many years now. CRN plays an important role in our industry and we are honored to be able to participate. It is important for our industry to hold each other accountable to building a responsible nutrition industry."  -Micah Osborne Who is CRN? CRN has served the dietary supplement industry since 1973 as the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry. They offer specialized expertise in scientific, legislative, regulatory and communication disciplines in support of the industry and its consumers. CRN’s mission is to sustain and enhance a climate for our members to responsibly develop, manufacture and market dietary supplements, functional food and their nutritional ingredients. More than an Ingredient Company Most natural product brands want to have their cake and eat it too. They want unique ingredients formulated into new products with compelling, competitive advantages that introduce new customers to their brand, except - they run into issues with time and resources forcing their cool, new product to be put on hold or they rush with an ingredient supplier who can not guarantee that they will not compromise on quality or integrity. This is where we step in. Our continued growth and strong brand partner relationships are in part because of the ridiculous amount of time we save each one of them.  Our emphasis on science and regulatory compliance help alleviate any fears while providing your brand more time to focus on launching that new, amazing product you’ve been dreaming of. Need formulation help? We’re here for you. Got quotas you need to meet? We can help knock them out in a timely manner. Want unique ingredients that have your competitors salivating over your piece of cake? We’ve got you covered! Having been a finished brand product ourselves, we understand new ingredients and new formulations are no small task! In fact, we understand happy customers make happy brands. “Stratum Nutrition has been a delightful company to partner with for our raw material needs. Their transparency, product quality, and integrity transcend other companies in the nutritional supplement industry.” – Matthew Eby “Stratum is a partner — not a vendor — in helping to create life-changing products with real benefits.” - Mary Todd, Adaptive Health You can rest assured knowing that we’ll give you all the bang for your buck. Trust us when we say it’s worth every penny finding the right ingredient partner that will walk with you every step of the way to your brand’s claim to fame. We believe our success is determined by whether or not our brand partners feel less stressed, empowered and more effective. We want all of this for you. And to get you there – we will not waiver in our quality nor our integrity.    The unique ingredients and superior formulations we use help people achieve a higher quality of life through health ingredients. For more information about our ingredients, please contact us.      
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Refusing to Compromise on Quality or Integrity
There are many factors that define who we are: genetics, location, the environment we’re raised in and the people we are surrounded by. One other key factor that we cannot overlook is the generation we’re born into. For the first time in history, organizations are likely to have five different generations working together – each with their own skills, interests, priorities and expectations. Not surprisingly, this generational diversity is forcing employers to take a new approach to talent management, embracing unique challenges and opportunities of a multigenerational workforce. “We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.” – Gloria Steinem Age Groups in Today’s Workforce (Reference: Pew Research Center) Generation Z 2001- 2020 (5%)            Millennials 1980-1996 (35%)   Gen Xers 1965-1979 (33%) Baby Boomers 1946-1964 (25%) Traditionalists 1925-1945 (2%) 75% say the 2007-2009 recession is the main cause delaying retirement. – Ryan Jenkins, Next Generation Speaker First, there’s Generation Z, who are the newest members to enter the workforce and who have never known the world without the internet. Then there are millennials, the largest group in the workforce today, who bring with them a sense of “purpose” to the workforce and have high expectations for career growth and development. Next there’s Generation X. They are self-reliant and juggling their jobs, childcare and caring for their elderly parents. The baby boomers follow with a strong belief in collaboration and teamwork. And finally, the fifth and smallest group are the traditionalists, who prioritize financial security at work and are fiercely loyal to employers. These generational qualities, although broad, represent five generations of people raised in different cultures, economies and work landscapes providing a peek into the vast range of values and priorities employers are expected to satisfy today. 75% of managers agree managing multi-generational teams is a challenge. – Ryan Jenkins, Next Generation Speaker Today’s workplace is vastly different from what it was just a few decades ago. Indeed, technology has played the biggest role in shaping today’s offices: from the way we communicate with one another to the ever-growing list of distractions present on the job (hello, social media) to the rising trend of teleworking. However, the majority of people who embody the workplace – the Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers – have arguably played just as substantial a role in shaping it as well. Each generation has left its mark, and today’s emerging trends are simply a byproduct of the cultural shift created by the modern-day workforce. “The beauty of the world lies in the mixing, managing, acceptance and appreciation of generational differences.” – Ty Howard What is the Generational Gap in the Workplace? The generation gap is the difference of outlook, opinions, beliefs, skills, attitudes and behaviors among the older generations and the young generations. Business leaders today face more diversity in the workforce than ever before, particularly generational diversity. With this growing trend comes the challenge of figuring out how to create a workplace where engagement, loyalty and productivity are high, despite the differences among those demographic groups. Business leaders have an important role in creating common ground across their teams, helping them leverage their collective strengths. “Companies need to create and execute integrated talent and learning strategies to invest in, engage, retain and develop their workforce in innovative ways. It’s that simple. Though in practice, it’s much more complicated.” - Michael McGowan, BPI Group 5 Recommendations for Engaging a Multigenerational Workforce (Reference: IBM Institute for Business Value) Focus on the individual Managing a multigenerational workforce entails seeing people as individuals, not generational stereotypes. Leverage digital natives’ capabilities but be mindful of preferences and skill sets that transcend generational clichés. To recruit, retain and grow top talent, employ robust workforce analytics, policies and programs that accommodate individual career aspirations. How to get started: Map a talent strategy in phases. Assess the current state, set a baseline. Identify improvements, tools and analytics needed to execute the strategy and measure the results. Foster a collaborative culture Tomorrow’s leaders prefer collaboration, consensus building. Organizations need a collaborative work culture, incentives and collaboration technologies/tools. As the workplace becomes more vital, deploy collaboration tools that leverage the latest in cloud and mobile. How to get started: Appoint a “Collaboration Czar.” Build a team of enthusiastic employees from all parts of the business. Develop a strategy for improved collaboration and pilot new programs. Make customer experience a priority Conduct a thorough analysis of the experience customers have with your organization. Be transparent with employees about strengths and weaknesses. Work collaboratively across the business to develop solutions for improvements. How to get started: Map the customer journey from the customer’s point of view. Detail all the interactions that touch your technologies. Determine problem spots, why they exist and do a risk-benefit analysis to determine a plan of action. Get everyone on board Nearly half of respondents said they aren’t confident they understand the fundamental strategies of their business. Keep employees in the loop with easy access to company information, mentoring and collaboration tools and programs. Ensure employees understand how their job supports the organization’s mission – an engaged workforce delivers a better customer experience. How to get started: Use online survey tools to test employees’ understanding of business fundamentals; ensure anonymity. Form a task force across the organization to address weaknesses; develop pilots for improvement. Be transparent, share progress updates with employees. Look within Leaders may be overestimating how well they’re connecting with their staff. Leaders need to take an honest assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Leaders should ask themselves what they are doing personally to inspire employee confidence, show an interest in employees’ professional development and communicate with clarity and transparency. How to get started: Leaders ought to look at their calendar. In the past six months, how much time did they spend celebrating team successes, conducting roundtables or mentoring? Plan creative ways to connect more, in person and virtually. Conclusion Taking on the challenge of engaging a multigenerational workforce is certainly a difficult, critical and strategic undertaking, but it is doable. When managing multi-generational work environments, contrasting views of the different generations don’t have to result in conflict and disagreement. Fostering a work environment where differences are valued and respected instead of punished or downplayed can help to bridge the generation gap.
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Bridging the Gap in a Multigenerational Workplace
Gone are the days when consumers are left with little choice but to swallow a handful of pills in order to supplement their diets. Spawned in part by “pill fatigue” and the desire of companies to stand apart in a crowded market, nutraceutical delivery systems have evolved beyond large tablets and capsules. Contract manufacturers have been the driving force working on front lines to bring a range of options to the table, from pricing advantages, to expertise with certain market niches or dosage forms, to a reputation for top shelf life. One thing is for certain, the evolution of delivery formats began by listening. Manufacturers Listened Back in 2013, research done by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) stated the major reasons people stopped taking supplements is that they “simply got tired of taking them,” indicating an opportunity to increase compliance, or how closely consumers follow their dosing regimen. ((NMI), 2013) A 2003 online survey conducted by Harris Interactive showed results of 40% of U.S. adults experienced difficulty swallowing pills, even though most never had problems swallowing food or liquid. Of those who experienced difficulty swallowing their medications, 14% said they delayed taking doses of their medication, 8% skipped a dose and 4% discontinued using their medication. Most described the sensations as having “a pill stuck in their throat” (80%), having a “bad aftertaste in their mouth” (48%) or gagging (32%). (Carnaby-Mann G, 2005) Those seem like good reasons to “simply get tired of taking them.” Nutrition Business Journal stated in their April 2020 issue, “Consumers’ growing aversion to pills in favor of newer, more experiential delivery forms spans nearly every category, from multivitamins to sleep solutions to beauty from within.” (Juntti, 2020) According to CRN’s 2019 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, only 31% of supplement users prefer pills, only 18% being 34 and under. (Nutrition, 2019) While there are some today who still have difficulty swallowing pills, improvements in technology offer contract manufacturers a wide range of innovative dosage forms. Nutrients can be ingested as coated tablets, which are easier to swallow, capsules, softgels, time-released capsules, powders, liquids, chewable tablets, gummies, shakes, beverages and nutritional bars. This has led to contract manufacturers saying goodbye to the once common, large and chalky “horse pill” in search of more desirable delivery systems. Trending Formats Of all the delivery formats on the rise, gummies take the winning podium for most noteworthy. According to CRN’s 2019 survey, they are the most popular format among 18 to 34-year-olds. (Nutrition, 2019) “Gummies’ growth is represented in all categories, but they are capturing the largest market share in vitamins and minerals,” says Claire Morton Reynolds, NBJ senior analyst. (Juntti, 2020) Not only do gummies taste like candy, they provide a more pleasurable experience, which has been a problem for supplement companies to overcome in the past. If it is not pleasurable, consumers do not stick to the dietary regimen. Grab-and-go delivery options are moving up in sales as young consumers are seeking dietary supplements that fit within their busy lifestyles. Whether it is through a stick pack, a personalized pill pack or a nutritional bar, contract manufacturers can now create unique formulations that help consumers take their health-boosting ingredients with them on-the-go, no pill box required.   Innovation & Marketing Today Millennials and Generation Y consumers are driving transformation in dosage forms by increasingly incorporating supplements into their health regimens; and in the “Age of Me”, they are demanding convenience along with an overall pleasant experience. The one size fits all experience no longer works for the younger generations and contract manufacturers are listening, because what they want matters. Now nearing 40 years old and soon to be the largest, living adult generation, many millennials are taking charge of their health and will carry their healthy habits into their golden years. While most are beginning to feel the sense of loss when it comes to invincibility and youthfulness, this makes them a high-value demographic for supplement brands. Millennials learn about brands through a variety of social media platforms and through influencer marketing. This is much different from traditional marketing but can also be an effective way to market to all generations. Today, aesthetics and user experience play a key role in selling a product. Think about scrolling through Instagram from a dietary supplement perspective. Who wants to be sitting on their couch watching someone pop a pill? The answer: no one.   Consumers are attracted to images that are eye-catching and products with a purpose. Take for instance, Nouri’s probiotic 2-in-1 capsule. Not only is the probiotic sealed in a second protective layer surrounded by Ahiflower oil to optimize absorption while providing a daily dose of omegas, it is sustainably cultivated, fully traceable and it has a story to tell. Visually appealing dietary supplement videos, like those with the technology of VitaSperse and VitaDry, draw in the consumer. Videos that are visually appealing and engaging are considered the new wave of marketing for the dietary supplement industry. If you catch the eye of the consumer, you’re one step closer to gaining a loyal customer. More than Manufacturers It’s a crowded field with companies striving for every small advantage to catch the eye and loyalty of today’s consumer. As the dietary supplement industry continues to evolve, partnering with the right contract manufacturer can help companies develop products from infancy, through research, development and formulation, to a complete market-ready dietary supplement.      References (NMI), N. M. (2013). Nutritional Supplement/OTC/Rx Consumer Insight & Market Opportunity Report. Harleysville, PA. Carnaby-Mann G, C. M. (2005). Pill Swallowing by Adults With Dysphagia. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. . 970-975. Juntti, M. (2020, April). Chews Wisely. Nutrition Business Journal, pp. 18-20. Nutrition, C. f. (2019). 2019 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from CRN USA: www.crnusa.org/2019survey    
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Now More Options than a Pile of Pills
FOMO is real, and we see it all the time in this industry. It’s not surprising. A ‘fear of missing out’ can drive many nutraceutical manufacturers to rush their product to market without a fully thought-out strategy. The truth? Better planning makes for bigger profits—and doesn’t have to delay your product launch for months. It’s no different than taking time to type your destination into your car’s GPS before you head out versus “just winging it.” Those few minutes of preparation end up saving you a lot of costly wrong-turns and missed exits. The right partner can help reinforce all stages of your process—from research and development to marketing and sales—and help you go to market more fully prepared and in faster time. The result? The ability to drive greater revenue and profitability, faster—and act quickly on emerging trends or changes in consumer demand as they happen. The Need for Speed and Accuracy The reality is not every company has the dedicated resources to implement a complete process that ensures adherence from product ingredient selection to marketing execution. Or quite often, your resources have little extra bandwidth to rethink or enhance the current process. Because of these gaps in skill sets or availability, all too often either process speed or accuracy gets sacrificed. One option to overcome this shortfall may be to engage a service-oriented partner who understands the “commercialization” process for your products and can bridge these gaps as an extension of your team to help streamline and strengthen your workflows. The right expertise can reinforce all stages of your process—from research and development to marketing and sales—and help you go to market more fully prepared and in faster time.   The result? The ability to drive greater revenue and profitability, faster—and act quickly on emerging trends or changes in consumer demand as they happen. Partner with a Purpose Stratum Nutrition is a proven partner for innovators in the nutraceutical space—providing you with not only unique, high quality ingredients but also a complete five-point service approach to help you create, launch and successfully market purpose-driven products for demanding consumers. In Stratum, you’ll find a service-oriented partner that adds value in both the science and art of creating a stellar nutritional product, then connecting it to more of your target consumers and bigger sales. We’ll work with you to: Create a true competitive advantage with unique ingredients and superior product formulations consumers demand Focus your internal resources while ensuring both accuracy and speed in your process workflows Go to market fully prepared and in faster time to drive greater revenue and profitability, and respond to evolving trends Our purpose-driven, five-point Layers Process clearly outlines the structure and commitments of a Stratum partnership and lets you know exactly what to expect and gain from working with us: Efficacy - Generate and present undeniable evidence of efficacy for your new finished product brand. Quality - Understand and communicate quality assurance measures by providing high quality, highly effective, unique ingredients. Compliance - Easily access the verification of proper certifications, declarations and/or registrations that are critical when beginning a relationship with any ingredient manufacturer. Story – Collaborate with us on ideas for balancing product science and efficacy education with a brand story that connects with your target consumer’s perceived value and purchasing behaviors. Demand – Leverage our expertise in understanding new product, consumer and health-benefit categories to venture into based on demand and revenue potential. To discover more about Stratum Nutrition and how our unique ingredients and process can help you launch a Product with Purpose, visit us at http://stratum.managedcoder.com/company or call 1-800-970-4479.  
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Don’t Lose Profits to FOMO

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