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When a well-known club brands its own supplements, its name recognition can help the company reach beyond its members either through sales in retail shops or online.
Although the primary customer base for Cooper’s supplements is the company’s clinic patients, distribution via the Internet and retail shops, such as Whole Foods, has attracted customers in all 50 states, Whitthorne says.
Some doctors and independent health clubs also carry the Cooper supplements, but they are not sold in big club chains. Whitthorne says that is because so many supplement manufacturers are willing to brand a product for chains, which allows the chains to achieve sales margins of 60 percent to 80 percent.
For the smaller independent clubs that carry the Cooper products, supplements generally are not their core specialty, which means it’s important to educate employees about supplements if those clubs want to make money selling supplements, Whitthorne says.
Cooper formulates its own products through its scientific advisory board, which includes doctors from Harvard and Tufts universities. Most of Cooper’s products are manufactured by Douglas Labs in Pittsburgh; its omega-3 products are made by Ocean Nutrition in Canada.
Life Time develops its products inhouse with its registered dietitian team consulting with its manufacturer’s staff doctors on formulations, Nikkola says. The company also partners with LaValle Metabolic Institute, Cincinnati, to formulate its line.
“Once designed, we use a best-in-class manufacturer following good manufacturing practices to ensure that applicable formulations and manufacturing regulations are being adhered to in the manufacturing of products,” Nikkola says, “and we feel that these measures greatly reduce the liability inherent in branding a product with our name on the label.”
Bally has an internal team that works closely with food scientists and registered dietitians at its manufacturers to continue to develop and test new products based on the latest scientific information and consumer trends, Marino says.
“All of our products are developed to offer our members the best products with the highest quality ingredients at an affordable price,” he says.