Trust Transparency Center has been following and reporting on the “Amazon Effect” on the dietary supplement industry since March 2017. In that time, the impacts have been numerous and far reaching. Our coverage has been primarily focused on accountability, and the fact that dietary supplements, as ingestibles, are different from hard goods and need to be treated with care and vetting. Some key contributions by Trust Transparency Center:
- TTC has created and shared a checklist of regulations and requirements unique to the manufacturing and marketing of dietary supplements.
- TTC has also demonstrated the delta of due diligence vetting performed by Amazon in comparison to other ecommerce platforms or brick and mortar retailers.
Our first foray into the Amazon analysis focused on the launch of the private brand “Amazon Elements”.(Amazon Elements Entry) Since then Amazon has launched at least seven more private label brands in the dietary supplement space:
- 365 Everyday Value
Amazon Private Label Brands as presented on Amazon.com:
Originally, Amazon was the go-to place for all things in the marketplace. The Amazon logo itself depicts the curved arrow from the A to Z to demonstrate the complete marketplace offering:
Amazon sought to offer as many supplement retailers as possible the opportunity to reach consumers. Now dietary supplement retailers are understanding they were primary test markets. In the last four months the number of Amazon brands selling dietary supplements has been cut in half. Additionally, the frequency of ads for Amazon private label products are increasing.
A search for Vitamin D receives an Amazon Choice banner offering 5 products, 3 of which are Amazon brands and one carries the “Amazon Choice” banner:
On the same page an offering of “Top rated from our brands” is provided:
The reduction of brand offerings in the recent months might have indicated Amazon was recognizing the importance of responsible manufacturing and requiring a certain standard for positioning on the website platform. That thinking must be challenged, if not eliminated, due to the continued presence of Confidence USA. Trust Transparency Center (TTC on Confidence USA) , and others (Whole Foods Magazine Article May 24, 2019 DOJ v. Confidence USA), reported in various forums that the Department of Justice had filed a complaint requiring Confidence USA to cease sale of its products, full stop. As of today, the product offered by Confidence USA remains on Amazon.com. The criteria for the removal of thousands of brands therefore would seem not to be influenced by the DOJ indictment at minimum.
Trust Transparency Center remains committed to the improvement of the industry for the right reasons and applying best practices. We are not asking for the removal of dietary supplement brands by Amazon for the purpose of market manipulation. Our request is for the imposition of requirements in place to responsibly manufacture and distribute dietary supplements. We have summarized the requirements for the entire industry in a single checklist document. Endorsement of this checklist will go a long way to improving the responsibility and trust the consumer deserves wherever they purchase dietary supplements.