In a follow up to my last blog post, I thought I would expand a bit on the word "quality". As a Sport Dietitian, I am keen to the ingredients in food products that individuals are using. You see, there are many products on the market that cut corners and care more about cost and profit margins than using ingredients that are more health promoting and functional.
For example, did you know that whey protein concentrate is cheaper than whey protein isolate? The latter goes through more processes to increase the protein content and thus the consumer pays for this. Whey protein concentrate is cheaper for manufacturers, improves their bottom line and thus, you see many of these products with a lower price tag in the grocery store. Why? Simply because of ingredients.
Now, the good news is that some companies are taking a different approach and attacking the problem of poor eating habits by, let's say, "reversing" the R&D and manufacturing process. Instead of looking at ROI first, they source high quality ingredients and do their research to determine the proper physiological dose for improved health outcomes. After determining the best ingredient to health benefit ratio, it is off to the lab or kitchen to make great tasting and functional products.
Unfortunately, this isn't common practice and the culture of value and quality is lost in consumers. Let's look at a typical example: a consumer shops online or in a store for a protein powder. They want something that tastes good, provides them protein, and won't break the bank. Based on these criteria, they make a decision based on total cost instead of ingredients and proper dosages. Perhaps there are allergens in the cheaper option. Maybe there are fewer health benefits. Does the consumer know this? Most of the time, the answer is "no".
This is part of the problem I believe in today's society (one of thousands). There are many entrepreneurs who really are trying to fix problems and are genuinely concerned with creating nutrition products that have a positive impact on our health. But there are many that are in it for the exit strategy. That is, looking at the P&L statement, investor opportunities, and a fast buyout. It's very difficult for consumers to see through this with all of the slick marketing and advertising campaigns that some companies employ.
Back to my original statement of quality. Quality comes in many forms but in the nutrition world, it is all about ingredients. High quality ingredients, when paired properly in the right physiological doses, will yield fantastic, positive health benefits. For this high quality and potential health improvements comes a higher price point. Is it hard to swallow at first? Sure it is but remember, you only have one body and one lifetime to try to get as much from it as you can. Your body should be your temple.
I'm not saying you should spend all of your hard earned money on over-priced nutritional products (believe me, that is easy to do given the sheer amount that are on the market). What I am saying is be a smart consumer, read the ingredients, do a bit of research, look at a company's founders and advisory board, and determine what is best for you. Many of the companies who are producing high quality products with top-notch ingredients have a person with an extensive nutrition research background and/or a Registered Dietitian/chef as the driving force. This should tell you that there is at least a good part of them that truly cares about health and athletic performance and is not trying to run a "get rich quick" scheme.
As always, I would love to hear your feedback and comments. Feel free to email me.