Supplement fights fakes with hologram-embedded safety seal

John Giesfeldt in Anti-Counterfeiting on December 14, 2015

National Brands responds to counterfeiting of its largest-selling product with a hologram-enabled authentication solution on the packaging.


Building a brand is like raising children. You nurture and protect them because you want them to be healthy, happy and good. With brands, you can’t just leave them to their own designs as things will not simply take care of themselves.

When it comes to brand protection, brands have to take deliberate steps to ensure nothing happens to the brand equity. The one-to-one relationship with each customer has to be re-established every time a product is used.

Brand owners who care about building a healthy, happy, and good relationship with their customers ensure product quality is where it needs to be. From food to beverage, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to nutraceuticals, for products that go in or on the human body, the stakes are high.

As one of the world’s leading global nutritional companies, Nutritional Brands is dedicated to quality and purity. These core values drive the mission, which is focused on improving the lives of its customers with a natural approach to healthcare. The company is constantly expanding its global reach to ensure it has the relationships, research, and resources needed to remain a leader and an innovator in the natural health marketplace.

Unfortunately it’s this success and leadership counterfeiters have tried to take advantage of and capitalize on. This was indeed the case for the Aerobic Life MagO7 supplement.

“Aerobic Life is our largest and best selling brand,” says Danna Pratte, chief executive officer, Nutritional Brands. “It’s in the digestive health and immunity category and our number-one product is MagO7. It’s a proprietary product and literally a brand in and of itself under the Aerobic Life brand. It’s the most widely known and used digestive health and immunity supplement worldwide.

“In the supplement industry, unfortunately there are companies that try to counterfeit successful products,” Pratte notes. “We were contacted by a long-time customer of ours that had purchased a MagO7 product through a major online retailer. She called to let us know she had been purchasing for years, and that the bottle of product she received didn't look the same as what she had purchased before. The capsules were a little different. We immediately sent for the bottle, and after receiving it realized this was not our product. The unfortunate thing about it is we contacted the online retailer immediately, but it wasn't until weeks later when we got our attorneys involved that they would disclose the customer to us, and finally took action to close this customer’s storefront.”


Private labeling a factor


Another factor that let Nutritional Brands know counterfeit products were being sold under the Aerobic Life brand had to do with private labeling.

“My company was a long-time manufacturer for private label customers of MagO7,” Pratte says. “But some of these customers felt that they could produce a like product and began manufacturing and selling it under other brand names and possibly under a fake MagO7 label.”

Counterfeiting is a global problem spanning industries. According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 6% of world trade is impacted. And according to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), it’s estimated that 7% of the U.S. food supply contains fraudulent ingredients.

Becoming a negative statistic was not part of the marketing plan for Nutritional Brands. But how it chose deal with the problem of counterfeiting and brand protection was vital to ensure business success.

“In an attempt to protect our trademark and brand name, as well as the quality and integrity of our product/ingredients, we wanted to find a solution that would make it difficult for imitation products to be easily put into the marketplace,” Pratte says. “It was also important to give customers the confidence in knowing that the products they purchase are authentic.”


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