Welcome to the “In Deep with Danica Cullins” blog series, in which individuals from across job function and business type offer their perspective on a sequence of questions. Personally, I find it interesting to expose how the views differ—and correspond—from, say, an R&D scientist at a large established company, to the president of start-up market disrupter, to an industry legislator or a sales executive at an ingredient supplier, in response to the same questions…
This time, I’ll be presenting the perspective and insight of David Hart, director of marketing at Qualitas Health. Hart has nearly a decade of experience of marketing nutrition ingredients, dietary supplements and functional foods. He has knowledge in international marketing, branding and sales of both ingredients (B2B) and consumer packaged goods (B2C).
Danica Cullins: What is the biggest challenge facing the ingredient supply chain?
David Hart: To meet the growing demand for omega-3s without depleting marine populations, cultivation of renewable, sustainable sources of omega-3s are needed. Recent studies show there are not enough fish in the seas to meet growing worldwide omega-3 demand in the near-term future. This also brings with it associated price volatility and increases, with rising demand, and the dynamic and unpredictable nature of fisheries.
Algae are the most promising source of the important long-chain poly unsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The development of sustainable microalgae farming and harvesting methods that effectively use non-marine resources are crucial to preserve and create a stable and sustainable supply of omega-3s.
Danica Cullins: What has had the greatest effect on your business in the last three years?
David Hart: The omega-3 market has gone mainstream and is maturing—with omega-3 products as one of the top 5 supplement categories. Omega-3s are a multi-billion dollar global market, which according to Natural Products Insider, is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6 percent from 2012-2016.
To help meet this demand, our founder and CTO, Isaac Berzin, Ph.D., has led Qualitas Health’s efforts toward development of a commercial manufacturing process for a natural strain of microalgae that produces a new, vegetarian, EPA-rich omega-3 LC-PUFA, launched this past year as Almega PL. Almega PL has a polar-lipid structure, with phospholipids and glycolipids, giving it similar characteristics to the premium krill oil products.
Danica Cullins: Through which channels do you see the greatest engagement with your target customers (social media, live events, web site traffic, customer service department, etc.)?
David Hart: Our marketing tactics includes the release of new research, face-to-face engagement at trade shows, summits and meetings, online and trade journal advertisements and earned media generated with public relations. Consumer outreach and education about the benefits of EPA and the sustainability of algal-based omega-3s will be a focus going forward. We definitely appreciate the incredible reach that digital marketing efforts have, and combine that with a personal touch when we can.
Danica Cullins: How did you get into the natural products industry?
David Hart: It’s mainly a function of auspicious timing. I’ve long had a passion for nutrition and health. After getting a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis, moving to Israel and a number of years working in production agriculture, I began a sales and marketing position at an ingredient company. Over the years, this has expanded to experience in nutrition ingredients, dietary supplements and functional foods. For me, this is a rewarding industry that continues to challenge my knowledge of international marketing, branding, sales of ingredients (B2B) and consumer-packaged goods (B2C).
Additional notes from Danica: Consumer demand—it’s what drives everything: innovation, supply issues, sustainability concerns, product development, better health, scientific advancement. The market for omega-3s is ripe with demand, as Hart explained and we can all see in massive consumer messaging and product sales. While revenues and markets are continuing to increase at strong rates, the results are not just as simple as suppliers grabbing more profit. Supply becomes a huge concern, and has largely driven the movement for new forms of omega-3, from algae to krill. As scientific evidence mounts in support of alternate forms of omega-3, it’s natural that “premium forms” may take shape, noted as a significant opportunity by Hart. While these issues of supply and sustainability are serious, I find it exciting to see innovation continue in established markets. It’s what Natural Products INSIDER loves to bring to its audience. Deep appreciation goes to David Hart for his time in talking through these questions.
Danica Cullins, Natural Products Insider
View original article at: In Deep with Danica Cullins Perspective from David Hart, Director of Marketing at Qualitas