Product Integrity – the quality of your royal jelly and bee pollen supplements
Those of you who have shopped around for bee products will know that there are a vast number of ‘similar’ products available on the market, yet at vastly different price points. You may have seen products like royal jelly capsules, or bee pollen capsules, with identical milligram content yet at prices ranging from $5 to $25 a bottle or more.
Take Walgreens for example, I’ve seen royal jelly capsules at Walgreens Pharmacy, 1000mg / 100 caps, for as low as $5.99. I’ve seen the same product online for as high as $39.95. In fact, when you buy 1000mg royal jelly from The Natural Shopper, you’ll pay around $22.95 unless you’re prepared to buy more than one bottle. [view royal jelly pricing here] And bee pollen has an even greater range of pricing, starting as low as $2.99 for 100 caps in some stores.
But what accounts for the rather drastic price variations and is it safe to just buy the cheapest?
Well, there are a few things to consider. Certainly, with larger companies who supply into places like Walgreens and Walmart, there are economies of scale. Manufacturing in larger batches results in a lower product cost and this can be passed on to the consumer. However, the main thing you should be interested in with vitamin supplements is product quality and manufacturing integrity. Often times the high-volume manufacturers have their pricing set by the large retail stores, so they are forced to manufacture to a specific price point. This often conflicts with the ideal of making a product of the highest quality. Raw ingredients are sourced at the cheapest price possible and other processing corners can be cut.
With imported products, the risks are even greater. I posted a blog a few weeks ago relating to a Chinese bee pollen manufacturer who was found to be adding banned substances to their weight loss products. Whilst this might be on the extreme end of the scale, it affected a great many consumers. There are many Asian products on the market which do not fall under the strict regulatory guidelines imposed by the FDA relating to testing. If the product arrives in the USA fully packaged for resale, it can only be tested in the event something is found to be wrong. So it’s not uncommon for these products to contains ingredients not listed on the label, and / or to NOT contain ingredients which ARE listed on the label.
So when you buy the cheaper stuff you might think your spending $10 and not $20, hence you’re saving $10. But in many cases you might be just as well off without the product, so in fact you’re wasting $10
Of course everyone will claim that their products are high quality. And it isn’t always easy to prove otherwise. If you’re dealing with a company like ours, you can request a copy of the Certificate of Analysis which will stipulate the specific tests conducted on our products ensuring they meet all applicable standards. When you buy a product off the shelf at the local vitamin store, it isn’t always easy to do this.
A company like ours will never sell their products into a chain like Walgreens. Why? Well, our manufacturing costs are too high and we couldn’t set a price that would fit their scale. Why are our costs too high? Well, mostly it’s our choice of raw materials. We work with premium grade royal jelly at between 5% and 6% 10HDA. Most royal jelly you’ll find at the local pharmacy will be 1% or 2%. We work with only the highest grade bee pollen in granule form. We grind the granules to make powder, so we know that nothing has been added to ‘stretch’ the raw ingredients. If we were to go for a contract with Walgreens we’d have to reduce our raw ingredient costs by 70%. So we’d need to source cheap, really cheap, raw materials. But what is that going to do to the quality?
If you think about prescription meds, there are generic equivalents of most brand names at a fraction of the cost. They’re every bit is potent and effective to the consumer. But with products made by Mother Nature, it’s impossible to cut corners and still end up with the same product and the same benefits. So if you want those benefits you need to be prepared to pay a little more.
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