COVID-19 and the Dietary Supplement Supply Chain

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By Jennifer Grebow

April 28, 2020

One of the first disruptions dietary supplement ingredient suppliers experienced at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic involved logistics—specifically, transportation. Not only was labor not available to transport goods, but companies faced severely spiked transportation costs.

Nutritional Outlook hosted a webcast on April 16th featuring several ingredient suppliers from various countries, as well as other industry experts, to learn about the challenges companies are facing as a result of the pandemic.

Transportation Troubles

Dietary supplement businesses, including retailers, manufacturers, and raw material suppliers, remain operational in many parts of the world today. Consumers, it turns out, regard supplements as essential during a pandemic, as skyrocketing sales indicate. While demand for supplements is growing, the initial disruptions caused by lockdowns and social distancing requirements definitely upended the industry’s supply chain.

In the early days of the lockdown in India where his company is headquartered, it was difficult to secure transportation and labor, said webcast panelist Shaheen Majeed, president worldwide of ingredients supplier Sabinsa (East Windsor, NJ).

“While we are 100% operational, there have been operational challenges with regard to staff transportation and shipping logistics,” said Majeed. “In many cases, we’ve been moving materials using our own transport and providing our own staff or labor. Labor was just not available—for example, unloading and loading of goods at docks and warehousing.” Despite these challenges, Majeed said Sabinsa continues to be able to transport its goods to its customers...

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