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AgroLabs Inc.'s products offer consumers an alternative way to get their nutritional supplementation.

"Consumers are tired of capsules and tablets," explains chief operating officer Kurt Cahill.

AgroLabs, a subsidiary of Integrated BioPharma Inc., specializes in dietary supplements in the form of liquids. The company had its start in 2002, but its executives are not newcomers to the nutritional supplements field. Cahill says he and vice president of marketing Cheryl Richitt each have about 20 years of experience in the industry, and both have seen the vitamins and nutritional supplements category rise and fall in that time.

The executives had their eyes on new product trends, including what was happening both inside the United States and in other parts of the world.

In Asia, for example, capsules and tablets are not the most popular forms of delivery for nutritional supplements, Cahill says. Instead the preference is for royal jellies and fruit extracts, and Cahill says that a few years ago that trend seemed likely to head to the U.S. Another relevant trend: noni juice, which had always been a slow-moving product in health food stores, was gaining a lot of momentum.

"We did more and more research on noni, and we realized it could represent a big opportunity in retail if the product was presented to the consumer correctly, and we could play a major role in the development of a new way that nutrition could be sold," Cahill says.

It became apparent that there was a need for a nutritional supplement that came in a liquid, rather than pill, form, Cahill adds, and it seemed clear that the product should be 100% natural. With that in mind, AgroLabs launched its 32-ounce Naturally Noni product in a wine bottle. The glass bottle made the manufacturing process more natural, Cahill says, since at the time it was impossible to have an all-natural product in a plastic bottle.

"We also wanted to make nutrition upscale and more high end," Cahill adds, "and the wine-type bottle helped convey that."

The approach worked, and just as the Naturally Noni product was enjoying success, AgroLabs launched its second product, Naturally Pomegranate, after securing an exclusive licensing agreement for a patented extract of pomegranate seeds and rind that was developed at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

"Closely following the initial two products we introduced Mangosten, an exotic fruit that was just coming into the market from Thailand."

The final superfruit supplement AgroLabs just launched is the Acai berry from Brazil.

"We took a different approach and positioned our Acai product as an energy supplement, which is what it is traditionally used for," Cahill says. AgroLabs launched Acai Extreme in a 16-ounce size also for drug retailers' shelves.

"We are in perfect position to supply retailers with superfruit products," Cahill says. "And the superfruits category is still growing."

Cahill points out that all of AgroLabs' products, which are nutritional supplements not juices, have solid research behind them and are formulated to address specific needs, such as cardiovascular health (Naturally Pomegranate) or energy (Acai Extreme). For all new superfruit research, the company utilizes Hauser CRO (Contract Research Organization) to do an analysis and determine the best way to extract the beneficial ingredients.

Hauser recently found two new compounds in the noni fruit that will form the basis of a new and improved Naturally Noni product that AgroLabs will be launching in January, for example, and is currently working on a cranberry product that is scheduled to debut at the same time.

AgroLabs' approach is to isolate and extract the most important antioxidants and other healthful ingredients from the fruit in question, which in some cases may be found in the rind or the seeds rather than in the juice. Then that standardized extract is mixed with the natural juice of the fruit, which among other things makes the extracts more bioavailable.

The result is a product that tastes good and is dense with nutrients, Cahill says.

With that in mind, AgroLabs' tagline recently has become "One ounce a day, for your health."
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Title Annotation:Who's Who in Diet & Nutrition; dietary supplements industry
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 4, 2006
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