How We Make Our Products: The Herbalife Nutrition Quality Story
by Dave Pezzullo, executive vice president, Worldwide Operations, Herbalife
February 9, 2017
By any measure, an increase from less than 5% to 70% is significant. For a global corporation, an increase that dramatic takes strategic vision and the commitment of people, technology and resources over a number of years. Since 2009, Herbalife Nutrition has invested $250 million in vertical manufacturing and quality control laboratories and infrastructure to take the in-house manufacturing of our key product units produced up to 70%.
We refer to this investment as our Seed to Feed commitment. Through Seed to Feed, we have established Herbalife Nutrition as “best in class” when it comes to product excellence. Seed to Feed starts with the process that a product goes through to become part of our worldwide portfolio. We use a stage-gated product development process with hundreds of steps and more than 60 sign-offs along the way to ensure that every aspect of the product, from quality assurance, safety, science and regulatory to sensory and label design, conforms to our specifications. This exhaustive process can take up to 18 months to complete, and the more than 300 technical employees with science degrees (over 10% of which are Ph.D.s) we have on-staff are essential to making it work. We use an electronic product lifecycle management tool called Agile (by Oracle) to track each new product through this process and also to ultimately hold all of the data and specifications of each product. We require nothing but the best and we use this process and these tools to ensure this mission for hundreds of product launches across 90-plus markets worldwide.
In 2016, the company opened its newest Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing (H.I.M.) facility in Nanjing, China, making finished products for the Chinese market. The other company-owned H.I.M. plants in Lake Forest, CA, Winston-Salem, NC and Suzhou and Changsha, China are advanced facilities for manufacturing and quality testing. All of our company-owned and partner manufacturing facilities conform to current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs), which are the regulations set by governing agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and which lay out, in great detail, how a production facility in the areas of foods, dietary supplements and acidified foods must operate.
We conduct 98% of our quality assurance testing in-house in any one of our world-class laboratories. All of our labs have achieved the highest level of accreditation, ISO 17025, reflecting our commitment to industry-leading standards.
We make our best-selling products, like Herbalife Formula 1 meal replacement shakes, Herbal Tea Concentrate and Herbal Aloe Concentrate, at our own state of the art facilities. Our 2016 product output numbers are evidence of our strengthening, company-owned supply chain:
- 69.5 million shake canisters sold
- 4.32 million shakes served each day
- 1.57 billion servings of Herbalife Formula 1 shakes served worldwide
- 22.9 million total product units sold per month
Consumers are demanding more transparency in their nutrition products and Herbalife Nutrition has been a proponent of the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s dietary supplement product registry, or Supplement OWL (Online Wellness Library). We are also an industry leader in quality control, science and particularly in the area of botanical identification. We continue to lead the way as we expand and improve our program to include new advances in science such as DNA technology.
To make our products more available to our millions of members worldwide, we have thousands of product access points. We manage the product integrity all the way through this chain by controlling the shipping methods and the climate conditions in which they are shipped and stored.
Finally, after doing everything possible to ensure a high-quality product experience, we do the most important thing of all … we listen! Our post-market surveillance system allows us to get feedback on any of the hundreds of millions of units sold each year to determine where we can do better. If there is an issue with a product, our quality assurance team investigates each and every issue to see if we can do better.