It’s hard to believe Healthnotes is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s been quite a journey, and we wouldn’t be here without our talented team and our many valued relationships throughout the supplement industry.
My involvement in the industry began in 1974 when I worked at Better Life Foods in Fresno, CA. From there, I went on to become a Nature’s Life sales rep and was a practicing chiropractor for ten years. During that time, I called on hundreds of supplement retailers in the US and UK and was a speaker and board member in the industry. As my interest in the supplement industry grew, so did my interest in computers, and I wrote over a dozen “how-to” books on computer technology. In 1986, I began publishing a monthly syndicated newsletter called “Healthnotes” with custom branding for nearly two hundred health food stores.
With the passage of DSHEA in 1994 and the advancement of computer technology, we saw a prime opportunity for Healthnotes to provide retailers and their new websites with science-based, consumer-friendly supplement information. So, in partnership with my UK partner and friend Michael Peet, we launched Healthnotes as an electronic educational tool for retailers and their shoppers. Within a year, we had our first prototype and secured our first customers, including GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Fred Meyer, HEB, and UK retailer Holland and Barrett, along with hundreds of smaller mom-and-pop health food stores and pharmacies.
Since then, we’ve continued to look for ways to serve the industry, and in 2015 began focusing on the industry’s supply chain—specifically, the challenges supplement manufacturers face when qualifying suppliers and finding materials to meet their needs. We learned it took a lot of time to approve suppliers and that it was hard to find the specific materials needed to make differentiating product claims (e.g., organic, GMO-free, fair-trade, etc.). We also discovered it was nearly impossible for companies to keep all the data, documentation, and information up to date and compliant. Federal regulations (especially FSMA) increased the compliance and transparency burdens manufacturers faced.
Other manufacturing industries have compliance software. But for various reasons (complexity, lack of standardization, fragmentation, and slow technology adoption rates), the supplement industry had fallen through the cracks. Without compliance software, the supplement industry was relying on inefficient, non-scalable tools, like spreadsheets and email, to manage compliance and qualify suppliers and materials.
In light of this glaring need, Healthnotes developed Vitature®—the first scalable, cloud-based compliance management platform, purpose-built for the supplement industry. Our idea caught on and, just this year, we’ve licensed Vitature to Arizona Nutritional Supplements (ANS) and Nature’s Way and have registered over 300 raw material suppliers.
At Healthnotes, we are proud of our first twenty years serving the supplement industry and look forward to continuing our mission to provide the industry with tools that promote transparency, education, and compliance across the supply chain.
Dr. Skye Lininger, CEO and Co-Founder Healthnotes, Inc.