Supplement Industry Rant by Owner Chris Mason

Someone posted today on Facebook about certain CrossFit affiliates (gyms) deciding to severely undercut the usual monthly fees that most affiliates charge.  They were commenting on the fact other affiliates were upset by this and how that fact (them being upset) goes against capitalism etc.  I will spare you my argument on the matter, but it got me thinking about my own slice of the fitness industry, supplements.

If you were to survey a hundred people about quality and efficacy vs. pricing you would find that the vast majority would tell you that within reasonable limits a product’s quality and efficacy outweigh pricing.  In other words, they are willing to pay a bit more for a quality product.  This is an ideal shared by most Americans and people in general.  The problem with this relative to the supplement industry is that MOST consumers are truly ignorant to the facts relating to supplement ingredients and manufacturing.  They rely solely on claims made by the manufacturers/retailers of the products and or “endorsements” they see from others.

This phenomenon occurring in a relatively unregulated industry has resulted in one in which the companies with the largest ad budgets are winners REGARDLESS of actual product quality/efficacy.  For example, with protein products the winners are, with the caveat the product tastes good and mixes reasonably well, those companies that spend the most money advertising their wares in magazines, at expos, and so on.  The consumer might see the product is “100% whey” and assume that it is just as good as any other whey product on the market.  In fact, with the right marketing, they will truly believe it is the best.  The TRUTH is that these products are usually of INFERIOR quality.

Companies with large ad budgets have those budgets because they are highly profitable and or they are well bankrolled with investment capital (which is a result of expected high profitability).  There is certainly NOTHING wrong with profit, but you have to consider something, if you are running a business which is allowed to make rather fantastical claims about your products, of which most people are ignorant to the facts, and with which advertising means more than the product itself, what is the incentive to include higher quality ingredients?  For instance, whey protein concentrate can contain anywhere from the low 60% range all the way up to just over 80% protein by weight.  If you can get the low 60% form (or 70% etc.) for much less money and it will be listed exactly the same way on the product label what compels a business owner/management to put anything but the cheaper version in their product?  This conundrum is the supplement industry in a nutshell.  It is a dirty industry driven solely by profitability.  Yes, there are exceptions, but they are rare.

Of course, this coming from a supplement company owner certainly would seem biased to many.  I understand.  I would feel the same way.  All I can tell you is this, I want to make a living with my business, I want to be profitable, but I will NOT do it at the expense of the consumer OR my personal values.  If I sell something I make it the best I possibly can and that is on every level starting with the ingredients.  I will pay more to get the best ingredients even when counseled not to do so.  I pay more to produce a product and make less than I can for the simple reason I believe that I should offer the absolute best product possible at a reasonable price.  I promise you that makes me, and therefore my company, the exception in the supplement industry.

I am 100% approachable.   You can interact with me directly on Facebook, my website Wannabebig.com, Twitter (@atlargenut), and on various other websites like the CrossFit.com forums.  I would go so far as to say I am the most accessible supplement company owner in the entire industry.  My reputation is important to me.   I don’t sit in an ivory tower relying on the impunity of anonymity like most supplement company owners.  THAT very fact as well as the above is why you should do business with AtLarge Nutrition.  We are real.  We care.  We sell damn good stuff!

AtLarge Nutrition owner Chris Mason

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