Back in 1972, company founder Gene Hughes had been suffering from a stomach condition, and began taking cayenne pepper at the suggestion of a friend. While the herb provided relief, it was difficult to ingest by the spoonful. Gene’s wife, Kristine, suggested putting the powder into capsules, which at the time was a revolutionary idea.
Today, while herbal products remain a staple of the company, Nature’s Sunshine offers more than 600 natural and nutraceutical products in the U.S. and over 2,700 individual products globally. The company markets and distributes two brands, Nature’s Sunshine and Synergy Worldwide, through a global direct sales force of more than 500,000 active, independent managers, distributors, and customers in more than 40 countries. The company manufactures most of its products through its own state-of-the-art facilities to ensure quality, safety, and efficacy.
“Nature’s Sunshine has grown and maintained its relevance because of its commitment to its core values of innovation, quality, service, integrity, and community,” said Nature’s Sunshine Chairman and CEO Gregory L. Probert. “These principles guide everything we do as we strive to become the world’s premier health, wellness, and lifestyle company.”
News & Notes
Nature’s Sunshine opened the Hughes Center for Research and Innovation in 2015. Named for company founders, the Hughes Center is “a cutting-edge research laboratory dedicated to unlocking the power of natural ingredients to develop proprietary health solutions,” said Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Staci Glovsky. “Equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and multiple laboratories, including a clinical space, it is the hub of new product development. The Hughes Center is staffed with accomplished scientists, researchers, and medical professionals. These individuals work together with Nature’s Sunshine’s global Medical and Scientific Advisory Board (MSAB) to unlock nature’s secrets and create safe and effective health-promoting products.”
Since opening, the Hughes Center has conducted 11 clinical studies resulting in 12 patent applications, she added.
Nature’s Sunshine’s innovations extend beyond the Hughes Center to its international business operations. In 2014, the company entered into a joint venture with Fosun Pharma, a healthcare company in the People’s Republic of China. Known as Nature’s Sunshine Hong Kong Limited, the joint venture opened four offices in mainland China (headquarters in Shanghai and three branch offices in Nanjing, Hang Zhou, and Qingdao), hired local staff, developed infrastructure to support business operations, and received a direct selling license in May.
“There are tremendous opportunities in China,” said Mr. Probert. “It is the second largest VMS market and the fastest growing direct selling market in the world.”
This past April, Nature’s Sunshine, the first direct selling company in Utah, celebrated 45 years of business with the help of Utah Governor Gary Herbert, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, and Founder and President of the United Natural Products Alliance Loren Israelsen. Company founders, executives and top distributors were on hand to join in the celebration.
Looking at the overall health and wellness industry, Mr. Probert said the market has grown significantly since the company’s founding, and Nature’s Sunshine has evolved with it, developing and adopting best practices, testing procedures, and increased quality controls to help drive that growth. “Today, Nature’s Sunshine is advancing the science of feeling better through proprietary products and programs that promote optimal metabolic function and total health.”
The company also supports health and wellness for children around the world through its partnership with the Sunshine Heroes Foundation, which has a singular mission to improve the lives of children around the world through clean water, education, and health.
Advancing Gut Health
With a portfolio of over 600 products in the U.S. alone, Nature’s Sunshine offers wellness solutions for nearly every health concern. However, approximately a quarter of sales are in the digestive health category, according to Ms. Glovsky.
In 2016 Nature’s Sunshine launched the clinically studied IN.FORM program in the U.S., which utilizes the potential of the microbiome to support healthy metabolic function. “It is a proprietary, clinically studied program that combines positive lifestyle changes with cutting-edge supplements and education,” she said. “By supporting a healthy gut microbiome, the IN.FORM program offers a path to healthy metabolic age and function by supporting healthy body composition, weight management, and cardiovascular function all in one easy-to-follow program.”
The IN.FORM System is based on science-based, clinically validated, proprietary products and programs that holistically support total health and are designed to empower consumers to unlock their true potential.
“Nature’s Sunshine will continue to focus on advancing the science of feeling better through clinically studied products and programs that optimize metabolic function and health through the microbiome,” said Ms. Glovsky.
Longevity & Transformation
With 45 years of experience, Nature’s Sunshine has witnessed the evolution and maturation of the supplement market. In general, the industry continues to be in a healthy position and future forecasts are promising, according to Mr. Probert. Despite recent criticism of herbal supplements from regulators, congressional leaders, and others, the recently appointed FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, stated he is committed to enforcing the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which shows “renewed support of the dietary supplement industry and contributes to our optimism about the future,” said Mr. Probert.
At a fundamental level, quality is a top priority as the company evaluates potential business partners. “For Nature’s Sunshine, quality is not just a word. It is the most important ingredient in our products and success. In addition, we value service, integrity, and innovation. We look to collaborate with any company that can offer all of these traits,” Mr. Probert said.
Ultimately, Nature’s Sunshine is in the business of “life transformation.”
“We believe that natural health and wellness has the power to change lives; and through our products, our people and our business opportunity, we work to make it a reality every day,” said Mr. Probert. “Our longevity is proof of our stability and wise business management; our broad stable of products points to our commitment to innovation and relevance; and our rigorous testing, exacting quality control, and self-manufacturing set the highest standards in the industry. Proven quality, expertise and results are why we are trusted and recommended by natural health practitioners and customers around the world. So while transformation is a bold promise to make, we do so with confidence. Nature’s Sunshine brings health and wellness to millions of customers every day. And when people are healthier, lives are truly transformed.”