HEALTH

Consumer group finds several Ginkgo biloba products don’t meet standards

BY Michael Johnsen

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Recent tests performed by ConsumerLab.com of Ginkgo biloba supplements found that few products meet quality standards. Among the products selected for review, two appeared to contain adulterated material and two others contained less ginkgo than claimed on their labels.

A fifth product failed to identify the part of the ginkgo plant used, a Food and Drug Administration labeling requirement.

Only three ginkgo supplements passed ConsumerLab.com’s tests, the company reported Tuesday.

The results were reported today in ConsumerLab.com’s Product Review of Supplements for Memory & Cognition Enhancement which focuses on three ingredients that have shown some promise in improving memory – Ginkgo biloba, huperzine A and acetyl-L-carnitine. Among the huperzine products selected, two passed testing while a third provided only 14 percent of its claimed amount of the ingredient. All five acetyl-L-carnitine supplements passed testing.

“Ginkgo extract is a moderately expensive ingredient. Some companies put less of it in their products than they claim or use ingredient that has been adulterated with inexpensive material that can fool non-specific tests,” charged William Obermeyer, ConsumerLab.com’s vice president for research. “Highly specific test methods, such as HPLC, reveal these shortcomings, allowing us to direct consumers toward products of better quality.”

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Homeolab approaches children’s cough-cold market with addition of Kids 0-9

BY Michael Johnsen

BUFFALO, N.Y. Homeopathic manufactuer Homeolab USA is taking a direct shot at all the consternation surrounding kids cough-cold this season with the launch of a new line of cough and cold products branded Kids 0-9, that, as its brand name suggests, is recommended for use in children under one year through age nine.

“The Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s announcement last month that allopathic medicines should not be used for children under the age of four has left parents scrambling for other options to treat their children during this years cough and cold season,” the company stated in a press release issued Friday. “Homeolab USA offers a safe alternative with their Kids 0-9 cough and cold syrup, an all-natural homeopathic formula that helps eliminate symptoms associated with a cold by getting to the source of the problem.”

In addition to Cough & Cold, the product line includes formulas for colic, earache, teething and calm.

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Nielsen report shows more consumers switching to private label products

BY Michael Johnsen

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. Once considered a lower-price, lower-quality substitute for name brands, private label products, or store brands, are viewed positively by the majority of U.S. consumers, according to a new survey by The Nielsen Company. As many as 72 percent of consumers believe store brands are good alternatives to name brands and 62 percent of consumers report they consider store brands to be as good as name brands, up three points since 2005.

“While private label products continue to follow the success of consumer packaged goods manufacturers’ name brand  introductions, more CPG retailers are making private label a priority with messages on quality as strong as messages on value,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president of Consumer & Shopper Insights for the Nielsen Company.  

According to Nielsen’s survey, price and value are paramount, especially in today’s market. Three out of four consumers believed it is important to get the best price on a product. More than two-thirds 67 percent) of consumers agreed that store brands usually provide “extremely good value” for the money while 35 percent of consumers are willing to pay the same or more for store brands if they like it.

Conversely, only one out of every four consumers believed that name brand products are worth the extra price. “In today’s economy, consumers are looking for ways to save money and for many of them, that means taking a new look at private label products,” Hale said.  “With more retailers offering satisfaction guarantees on private label purchases and even serving up blind taste testing and trial programs, consumers’ exposure to private label products has never been greater.”

Private label products account for more than $81 billion in the United States, up 10.2 percent over the past year, Nielsen reported.

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