• Importing Supplements from China: A Complete Guide

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    Asia Import Platform: General Products

    Planning to import supplements from China to North America, Europe or Australia? In this comprehensive guide, we cover everything importers must know when procuring the following types of supplements:

    • Vitamins
    • Minerals
    • Herbs
    • Acids
    • Dietary substances
    • Food additives
    • Protein
    This is covered
    • Part 1: Supplement Manufacturers in China
    • Part 2: Supplement Regulations in the US, EU, and Australia
    • Part 3: Ordering Process
    • Part 4: List of Supplement Manufacturers in China

    Supplement Manufacturers in China

    How do I find supplement manufacturers in China?

    Alibaba.com is the primary supplier directory for sourcing supplement suppliers in any category. More than 1900 suppliers are listed on Alibaba.com in the following supplement factories:

    • Sport Supplements
    • Protein
    • Herbal Supplements
    • Memory & Sleep Healthcare Products
    • Milk Powder
    • Antioxidant

    While most supplement suppliers listed on Alibaba.com are based in Mainland China, you’ll also find suppliers from India, Japan, Europe, and the United States.

    Where are most suppliers located?

    Supplement suppliers, including traders, can be found in most Chinese provinces. That said, many suppliers in this industry are based in Xi’an, Shaanxi province. Shandong, a coastal province, is also a production hub for supplements and food additives.

    MOQ Requirements

    The minimum order quantity requirement largely depends on the type of supplier. Some factories only produce supplement powder, while others deliver bottled and encapsulated supplements.

    Further, trading companies tend to offer lower MOQ requirements than manufacturers.

    Below follows a few examples:

    • Supplement powder (factory): 1 metric ton
    • Supplement powder (trader): 50 kilograms
    • Supplement bottles (factory): 1000 pcs
    • Supplement bottles (trader): 100 pcs

    List of Trade Shows

    Healthplex Expo (Official Website)

    Held yearly in the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, the trade show covers everything from supplements and traditional Chinese medicine to product packaging.

    Key Facts

    • 140,000 sqm Exhibition Area
    • 1,800+ Exhibitors
    • 100,000+ Buyers
    • 60+ Countries / Regions
    China International Health Industry Exhibition (Official Website)

    China International Health Industry Exhibition (CIHIE) has been held annually since 2004. Unlike most other trade shows, CIHIE is held in not only one city, but three:

    • Beijing: April
    • Shanghai: August
    • Chengdu: September

    Key Facts

    • Number of exhibitors: 1200+
    • Venue area: 50,000 square meters
    • Visitors: 64,925

    FDA label

    Supplement Regulations in the US, EU, and Australia

    Ensuring compliance when importing and selling supplements is critical. Keep in mind that regulators don’t go after foreign suppliers, but focus exclusively on domestic importers – in other words, you.

    For example, this is what the FDA states on the official website:

    Under existing law, including the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994, the FDA can take action to remove products from the market, but the agency must first establish that such products are adulterated (e.g., that the product is unsafe) or misbranded (e.g., that the labeling is false or misleading).

    Don’t expect much guidance from your supplier. Instead, you must fully understand what compliance in this industry means in practical terms.

    Substance Regulations

    Supplement regulations cover everything from the introduction of new mixes and extracts placed on the market, to heavy metals and chemical content. For example, supplements that contain excessive amounts of heavy metals are illegal to import and sell. The only way to verify that your product is compliant is by sending a substance sample to a lab.

    Labeling Requirements

    The US FDA and their counterparts in the EU and Australia are very strict when it comes to product labeling. At a minimum, you should expect to include the following information:

    • Product name
    • Net quantity
    • Nutrition (if any)
    • Ingredients list
    • Name and place of manufacturer/importer
    • Country of origin

    Don’t expect, or allow, your supplier to create the label for you. While they may have some sort of label template, you must always verify that the label is fully compliant with the requirements in your country.

    Incorrect labeling alone is a good enough reason for the customs authorities to destroy your goods, or market surveillance authorities to issue a forced recall order.

    Packaging Regulations

    Food contact materials regulations apply to all materials in contact with products made for human consumption – including supplement packaging. The only way to be sure that your packaging is compliant is by sending a packaging sample (e.g. plastic jar or aluminum bag) to a lab.

    Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

    Substance testing is not enough when importing supplements. Regulators require that you verify that the supplier applies what is called Good Manufacturing Practice. At its core, the importer should verify that the supplier’s production facility is clean and up to standard.

    It’s a complex topic, so I let this thrilling video explain what GMP is really about:

    Ordering Process

    1. Product Specification

    You always get what you specify in manufacturing, even when importing supplements. As suppliers can provide various types, qualities and mixes of a given product, you must prepare a product specification.

    Assuming I’d buy creatine, a fitness supplement, I highly could use this (overly simplified) product specification:

    Product Information

    • Product name: Micronized creatine monohydrate
    • Assay: Minimum 99.9%
    • Dosage Form: Powder

    Packaging

    • Aluminum Bag
    • Volume: 4000 grams (Powder)
    • Design: Factory Standard
    • Dimensions: Factory Standard
    • Print Front Label: Creatine-label-front.ai
    • Print Front Label: Creatine-label-back.ai

    gelatin capsules

    2. Supplier selection

    The supplements supply chain is complex and involves the following stages:

    • Farmers (Raw material)
    • Processing (Powder)
    • Supplement Encapsulation (Capsules)
    • Bottling (Final Product)

    The vast majority of suppliers don’t cover the entire supply chain, from farm to bottle. Some may only do processing, while others only encapsulant and bottle the product.

    Understanding how your supplier operates is essential when importing supplements to the US or Europe, as product compliance is based on the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Importers simply cannot afford to be left in the dark or make assumptions.

    I recommend that you filter suppliers based on these criteria:

    1. Product lab test reports

    2. ISO Certificates

    3. GMP Audit Reports / Factory Audit Report

    You should ask them the following questions

    1. Do you procure the raw material directly from the source?

    2. Do you process the raw materials in your factory?

    3. Do you encapsulate it in your factory?

    4. From which factory do you procure bottles?

    5. Do you have an in-house factory lab?

    6. Do you have a standardized testing protocol?

    The supplier should also be able to provide batch test reports covering, for example, the following*

    • Assay
    • Loss on drying
    • Sulfate
    • Bulk density
    • Heavy metals: As, Pb, Hg, Cd
    • Total plate count
    • Yeasts
    • Molds
    • E.Coli
    • Salmonella

    For obvious reasons, it’s absolutely essential that the supplier has the technical expertise and capability to run batch testing. This is one reason why I recommend that you completely avoid buying from trading companies.

    *The required tests depends on the substance

    You also need to request this information:

    • Unit price (e.g. per kilogram, capsule or bottle)
    • Sample price (e.g. per kilogram, capsule or bottle)
    • Production time
    • Sample delivery time

    3. Product sample order

    Once you’ve selected a supplier it’s time to purchase product samples. At this stage you should’ve already verified the following:

    • Unit price
    • Sample cost
    • Packaging

    If you intend to buy packaging from a separate factory, you should submit the following:

    • Packaging design (or images, if ODM)
    • Material specification
    • Compliance requirements (e.g. 21 CFR)
    • Label file

    Most supplement suppliers can provide in-stock samples within a week or two. However, the packaging might take longer in case you intend to purchase custom-designed packaging – which can take more than 60 days to deliver.

    If you’re only out to test the market, I recommend that start with standard packaging.

    4. Payment, quality check, and lab testing

    Once you’ve received the product samples it’s time to place your order. Before doing so, you need to prepare a sales agreement covering the following terms:

    • Product specifications
    • Packaging details
    • Substance regulations
    • GMP Requirements
    • Label files
    • Quality control terms
    • Lab testing terms
    • Production time
    • Shipping terms
    • Export packaging
    • IP ownership terms
    Quality Inspection

    When importing supplements, the quality checks are normally limited to the following process:

    • Weight check (e.g. X kgs per bag)
    • Quantity check (e.g. X capsules per bottle)
    • Packaging check
    • Labeling check
    • Drop tests

    However, a quality control report will not tell you what’s inside the bags or bottles.

    Material analysis and compliance tests cannot be done on-site in the factory by the quality inspection agent. But, he or she can collect batch samples for submission to the testing company.

    Lab Testing

    Lab testing is a critical part of the process when importing supplements. It’s absolutely essential to verify that your supplements batch is compliant with all applicable substance regulations.

    The only way to do so is by sending samples, collected by an independent third party, from the factory to an accredited lab testing company.

    When booking a lab test, you must confirm the following:

    • Substance composition
    • Packaging material
    • Destination market e.g. the United States)

    As hinted above, you should test both the supplement substance and capsule (if any), and the packaging material.

    After 7 to 10 days, you’ll receive a lab test report that shows whether your imported product is compliant. Hopefully, that’s going to be the case.

    List of Supplement Manufacturers in China

    In this section, we are going to introduce 7 Chinese supplement manufacturers, including a brief description of the company and a summary featuring certificates, MOQ, and other key information.

    Listed Companies

    • Zhejiang Tianhecheng Biotechnology Shares
    • Beijing Gingko Group
    • Jiangyin Tianjiang Pharmaceutical
    • Naturalin Bio-Resources
    • Nutritech Asia Group
    • BannerBio Nutraceuticals
    • Baotou Dongbao Biotechnology

    Disclaimer

    We are not affiliated with any of the companies listed in this guide. We have selected these companies based on their claimed product scope, history, certification, and capabilities.

    Zhejiang Tianhecheng Biotechnology Shares

    Zhejiang Tianhecheng Biotechnology Shares is a manufacturer of nutritional enhancers and compound colorants with a factory based in Tongxiang, Zhejiang. The company is committed to the production of Vitamin A, D, E series, DHA, ARA series, and Beta-carotene series products supplying the milk powder, health products, food, and medicine industry.

    Currently, the company has four production lines to produce micro-powder, micro-particles, and liquid vitamins, which amount to a total production capacity of more than 1,500 tons of products per year.

    At the present, Zhejiang Tianhecheng Biotechnology mainly exports its products to the US, Italy, and Brazil.

    Main Products

    • Polyunsaturated fatty acid
    • Vitamin A series
    • Vitamin E series
    • Vitamin D series
    • Carotene series

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 22000, Kosher, Halal, GMP
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No. 111, Leyuan Road, Shimen Town, Tongxiang, Zhejiang

    Beijing Gingko Group

    Beijing Gingko Group is a manufacturing and sourcing company of supplements and food products from Beijing. The company mainly produces products including fruit extract, marine botanicals, natural vitamins, and herbal extracts.

    Beijing Gingko Group currently has set up representative offices in Beijing, Tokyo in Japan, Irvine in California, and Lugano in Switzerland.

    Main Products

    • Lingonberry extract
    • Blackcurrant extract
    • Chokeberry extract
    • Elderberry extract
    • Ginkgo extract
    • Vitamin K2

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001, GMP, Halal
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: Room 1706, Tower A, Building 1, Tianzuo International Center, No.12, Zhongguancun South Avenue, Haidian District, Beijing

    Jiangyin Tianjiang Pharmaceutical

    Jiangyin Tianjiang Pharmaceutical is one of the leading companies in the nutritional supplement industry in China. The company mainly produces Chinese herbal extract in the form of powder or capsules.

    Jiangyin Tianjiang Pharmaceutical focuses on the research and development activities using traditional Chinese herbs and processing techniques to produce products to support anti-aging, cold and flu care, energy-boosting, and fertility.

    According to the information in Jiangyin Tianjiang Pharmaceutical’s official website, the company has signed 65 joint venture agreements with 55 Chinese herb planting companies in China, which enables the company to produce around 200 different types of products using more than 120 herb species.

    Currently, Jiangyin Tianjiang Pharmaceutical is a wholly subsidiary of China Traditional Chinese Medicine Holdings, which is headquartered in Hong Kong.

    Main Products

    • Astragalus extract
    • Szechuan pepper extract
    • Licorice extract
    • burdock extract
    • Hawthorn extract
    • Fresh ginger extract
    • Goji berry extract
    • Turmeric extract
    • Dong Quai extract
    • Lotus leaf extract
    • Chrysanthemum extract
    • Dendrobium extract
    • Mulberry extract
    • Barley extract

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 10012, ISO 17025, ISO 14001, GMP
    • Compliance: GB/T19001, GB/T19022, GB/T 24001
    • MOQ: 50 pcs
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: 1, Xin Sheng Road, Jiangyin, Jiangsu

    Naturalin Bio-Resources

    Naturalin was founded in 2006 as a company that engages in the research, development, production, and export of nutritional supplements made of plant extracts and other natural ingredients.

    Naturalin can customize powders, soft gels, essence oils, creams, or ingredients in other forms based on the client’s formula and requirements.

    Naturalin is especially focusing on researching and developing new products with traditional Chinese herbs and processing techniques, such as Ginseng, Dong Quai, Ginkgo, Rhodiola, Astragulus, and Chinese knotweed. These ingredients can be made customizable into food and beverage, personal care products, and animal nutrition supplements.

    Main Products

    • Plant extracts
    • Herbs and spices
    • Organic products
    • Essential oils

    Summary

    • Certification: FSC 22000, USDA Organic, GMP, ISO 9001, Hahal
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: B1-402, Lu-Valley Enterprise Square, No.27 Wenxuan Road, Lu-Valley Hi-Tech District, Changsha, Hunan

    Nutritech Asia Group

    Nutritech Asia Group has more than 20 years of experience in the industry of supplement contract manufacture. The company has an R&D and manufacturing center in Shenzhen.

    The company offers private label and custom manufacturing services for dietary supplements, sports nutrition supplements, and naturopathic medicines. These products can be made in the form of powders, soft gels, liquids, chewable tablets, and capsules.

    Nutritech Asia Group develops and manufactures products with efficacies including nutritional support for people during the teen years, the reproductive years, menopause, and for those over the age of 50 years. On their website, they claim can offer support for cardiovascular health, vision, and weight loss.

    Main Products

    • Glucosamine
    • Chondroitin
    • Multivitamins
    • Omega-3 DHA soft gels
    • Probiotics
    • Carbohydrate supplements
    • Protein supplements

    Summary

    • Certification: GMP, Halal
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No.366, Cuihu Business Center, Xueguang North Road, Longhua Street, Longhua New District, Shenzhen, Guangdong

    BannerBio Nutraceuticals

    BannerBio Nutraceuticals was founded in 2003, with the headquartered and R&D center in Shenzhen, a manufacturing site in Heyuan, and the distribution center in Los Angeles. The company focuses on making ODM and OEM nutritional products for dietary supplement, food, and beverage product companies.

    The product categories offered by BannerBio include botanical extracts, amino acids, and carotenoids. Under these categories, there are more than 40 types of nutritional supplement formulas available to be customized.

    Main Products

    • Bilberry extract
    • Broccoli seed extract
    • Citrus aurantium extract
    • Cinnamon bark extract
    • Echinacea purpurea extract
    • Elderberry extract
    • Flaxseed extract
    • Ginger extract
    • Ginkgo biloba extract
    • Ginseng root extract
    • Huperzia serrata extract
    • Passionflower extract
    • Lutein
    • Lycopene
    • Zeaxanthin
    • Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K

    Summary

    • Certification: GMP, ISO 22000, Kosher, Halal
    • Compliance: Not Mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: Sanjiao Town, Lianping, Heyuan, Guangdong

    Baotou Dongbao Biotechnology

    Baotou Dongbao Biotechnology was established in 1997 as a manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer of nutritional supplements from Inner Mongolia. The company mainly produces gelatin and collagen.

    The target audience of Baotou Dongbao Biotechnology’s products is mainly young ladies and middle-aged women who are looking for products to replenish the receding collagen for their skin.

    In recent years, the company also develops nutritional supplements used in animal feeds and plant fertilizers, including calcium phosphate.

    Main Products

    • Bovine bone collagen powder
    • Cranberry flavor collagen peptide powder
    • Peach flavor collagen peptide powder
    • Fish collagen
    • Collagen blueberry beverages
    • Calcium phosphate

    Summary

    • Certification: GMP
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No. 46, Huanghe Street, Rare Earth High-tech Development Zone, Baotou City, Inner Mongolia

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