On February 21, 2017, Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, launched four supplement products under its private label brand, Amazon Elements. This new product line adheres to Amazon Elements’ commitment to transparency, which is increasingly important to consumers who buy supplements and functional foods.
The four supplements and vitamins that have been initially launched are turmeric root extract, calcium complex, vitamin D and vitamin K2, and are currently available by invitation to Amazon’s Prime members. They each feature QR product labeling and an online platform with in-depth information available to the consumer.
According to a 2016 KPMG online article that focuses on the rise of “clean label” and “free from” trends:
“Consumers increasingly want to know the provenance of their food; clean labelling is fast becoming the norm. The demand for products containing only a few, more recognizable, ingredients – and without additives or preservatives – is likely to contribute to an increase in products that are natural and unprocessed.
The requirement for information about both the contents and origins of products will necessitate greater transparency within the wellness industry on supplement development and formulation. The normalization of dietary supplements should lead to an increase in innovation, with a particular emphasis on vitamins, minerals and amino acids found in plant compounds, reflecting the overarching trend for natural, clean ingredients”.
This is at the core of the Amazon Elements brand, which Amazon launched in 2014. In its introductory press release, the brand is described as “premium, everyday essentials with transparent origins.” (NOTE: Initially, Amazon Elements offered diapers and baby wipes, but the brand was not very well known, did not take off and the diaper line was discontinued in 2015.)
In keeping with its mission, the Amazon Elements brand offers consumers an “unprecedented level of information.” Each Amazon Elements product includes a unique code on its packaging that consumers can also access through the Amazon app. This allows the purchaser to learn “when and where items were made, why each ingredient was included, where the ingredients were sourced, etc.
For each product, Amazon Elements makes information transparent, such as:
This breadth of information and ease of accessibility address the increased demands for transparency in the supplements category.
Amazon Elements also offer information on specific testing for each product—including what’s being tested (potency, purity, microbial contamination, pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides and heavy metals). The website and app also shows charts of these test results.
People in the supplement business are taking note as Amazon’s disclosures raise the bar to a new level of transparency. This can no longer be viewed as a trend but as an important mainstay in the industry.
In addition to its commitment to transparency, Amazon Elements’ supplements are derived from plant-based sources and are vegan, another industry trend. It is also worth noting that three out of the four supplements are single ingredients, another trend in the supplement marketplace.