Resetting the Meaning of Branded Ingredients

In a society that loves to use buzzwords, terms can become so overused they lose their meaning. But key words like “transparency,” “sustainability” and “quality” should be more than their meanings – they are the pillars of trust that drive the engine of product development and consumer loyalty. Manufacturers often turn to branded ingredients to demonstrate these qualities to consumers in the hopes of building trust and loyalty.

In the supply side however, it’s no longer enough to just provide branded ingredients. While the term “brand” has cache and imparts the concept of something special or extra, it does not necessarily mean consistency or transparency, just as “natural” does not always automatically mean sustainable. Words and the values they convey matter to consumers who rely on CPG companies to have their backs when it comes to safety and consistency.

According to a 2019 survey by Trust Transparency Center, consumers are not gullible and will do their research: they want access to reliable knowledge they can trust to choose products and brands that align with their values. Glucosamine, one of the world’s most popular and well-known supplements, is a keen example:

  • 49% of people who regularly use glucosamine are influenced by sustainability concerns1
  • 83% of Millennials say it’s important to buy from companies whose values align with theirs 2
  • 40% of people who take glucosamine don’t know how it is sourced and/or processed 1


Studies show that consumers who take supplements want to know where the ingredients come from. Those same studies however show a gap between their desire and their actual understanding of what this process involves. The industry treats many supplement ingredients as commodities and the supply chain is usually a web of traders, brokers, exporters, importers and distributors. Each step adds complexity and makes the origins harder to trace. Regulations require traceability in the form of documents, but these are not readily available to consumers, making this trail difficult to follow.

The idea of traceability is further compromised when supplement makers use branded ingredients to give the illusion of transparency. Many brands are simply just created for marketing purposes, and the actual ingredients are made by unknown third parties who are often selected strictly on price.

TSI Group has always made transparency a core principle. Our leading branded ingredient – GlucosaGreen® – is manufactured, imported, and distributed by TSI. There are no third-party manufacturers, traders or brokers. The product is made in the same factory to the same exacting standards lot after lot.

Further, our website is published specifically for consumers, giving them direct access to the actual ingredient manufacturer. This is the only way to give them the assurance of consistent quality and the confidence that they are truly buying a product that is aligned with their values.


When it comes to sustainability, consumers clearly want to buy products that come from companies who share their values. For example, more than 60% of people worldwide who regularly use glucosamine are willing to pay a price premium for an environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced product.4

GlucosaGreen® is sustainable as it is not dependent on the supply of crustacean shells but instead from non-GMO corn. Additionally GlucosaGreen® produces only 2% of the waste compared to shellfish glucosamine and reduces waste water discharge by an incredible 99.6%. TSI is continuing to work to eliminate all waste water discharge from our GlucosaGreen® production.

This is also great news for pet supplement brands – 84% of dog owners surveyed would pay more for pet supplements that have ingredients that are made through a “green” process. 3


When it comes to how the raw materials come together to make a finished product, consistency is the key. Whether that is in tablet size, quality, taste, color, dosage, or any other criteria, brands that meet customer expectations every time will thrive.

Getting there is not so easy however when supply chains are as complex as they are with supplement ingredients. Finished-dose producers often need to process raw materials once they are received from the manufacturer, since keeping a consistent source is often a challenge. This is especially true when making tablets or capsules. The properties of one source may differ from another, even when both meet a certain given spec. This creates the need for additional processing that adds costs in handling, additional raw materials, lower yields, and testing. That is in addition to limiting flexibility out of concern for tablet and capsule size. Eliminating most, if not all of these costs simply adds to the bottom line, and producing smaller tablets is certainly a competitive advantage.

Watch this space at for upcoming news on TSI’s exclusive OptiTab process for simply the best granule available for tableting, and more announcements offering special formulations for capsules and soft chews.

The next generation of wellness supplements isn’t in the future – it’s here now. Ensure your supplier is more than a supplier, but a partner in the formulating and production of dietary supplements that fulfill consumers’ need for quality, traceability, and sustainability. TSI Group may very well be that partner.

1 Trust Transparency Center. (2019). 2019 2nd annual Trust Transparency Center Single Ingredient Trade Association Consumer Survey

2Consumer Culture [5W PR 2020 Report]

3 Survey conducted by TSI Group November 2020, pet owners in the US

4 Trust Transparency Center. (2020). ITC Insights: Consumer Survey Glucosamine Focus




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