Want to know what really pisses me off?

There are few things that infuriate me more than seeing one of my manufacturing lines sitting idle because a vendor sent us raw ingredients that didn’t meet our quality specifications. Rejecting raw-ingredients is a regular occurrence for NutraBio because of our strict quality control specification and testing programs. But this particular case is beyond the norm and shows just how morally bankrupt some of the players in this industry can be. Here’s what happened…..

We started a project that required a new protein. After qualifying a dairy manufacturer and approving their samples and specifications, we ordered 3 truckloads of their protein. We received a truckload; what we expected was 40,000 pounds of freshly manufactured whey protein coming from a single batch. What we received was 9 different batches of protein, produced on 9 different dates spanning over a full year.

Now I don’t want to bore you with the many quality problems this causes, so I’ll focus on the most important one. The protein they delivered was between 4 and 12 months old. We expect the protein to be fresh; that means manufactured, tested and immediately shipped to our door. This protein had a 2-year shelf life on it,  of which 1 year had already passed. We can’t use this crap in NutraBio products, so we immediately rejected it.

So far this was no big deal, as we often reject ingredients from new vendors — but what happened next was outright shocking.

The vendor refused to take back the protein claiming there was no quality issue and it was within the 2-year shelf-life. My rebuttal was simple; your protein might have started with a 2 year of shelf-life, but you delivered it to us with only 1 year left, and I won’t give my customers year old protein. Their lame excuse was: “this is standard in our industry, it’s always been acceptable to our clients and has never been rejected before. We even ship protein older than 2 years and have no complaints.”  Here is where it gets really bad; this was their pathetic logic for justifying that lame excuse:

“The protein has a 2-year shelf life, so it’s still good for another year. Once you blend it with your other ingredients, you can just extend the shelf for 2 more years.”

Talk about a snake oil salesman — I couldn’t believe what I was shearing — they actually claimed that after I blend it, the expiration date would magically be extended. WTF!!!! I have the best manufacturing team in the industry here at NutraBio, but they are not fu*@king magicians; they can’t turn a pile of shit into gold!! This vendor expected me to buy into their nonsense; as if they gave me a big wink as they said it, and expected me to respond “yeh, yeh, right, now I get it.” and wink right back.

Up to this point, we hadn’t tested the protein because it was rejected at the door. At my attorney’s recommendation, I sent samples of all 9 batches out to a 3rd-party laboratory specializing in protein testing. The independent lab results came back showing that 8 of the 9 batches FAILED protein specification, and only the newest lot had passed.

Frankly, I didn’t expect any failures; the protein was not expired yet so it should have tested at 100% potency. This revealed even more quality concerns, but it didn’t matter at that point. We fought for weeks while $150K of protein sat aging in my quarantine warehouse. I refused to keep it, and they refused to take it back. Now, with the product failing assay, and independent lab results in hand, they had no choice but to finally pick up their truckload of trash and try pawning it off on someone else.

As a brand owner you make a choice; you either live by your quality promises or you don’t – there is no gray area – no in-between –  no compromising. 

The picture shown below of my protein packaging line sitting idle was taken by me, real-time, during this mess. Each day that line sat idle cost me thousands of dollars. Close to $40,000 was lost in production time because I would not compromise my standards. I’m often criticized for spending 70% of my efforts on the quality side of the business while only 30% on the marketing side. I would surely be laughed of off Shark Tank if I told them that. But my customers understand me, they get it, and that’s all I give a damn about.

46 thoughts on “Want to know what really pisses me off?

  1. Well I’m really pissed off at you Mark because you used to sell an amino acid complex that had several essential amino acids mixed together in a fantastic formula that worked great that you no longer offer. Now we are forced to buy your amino acids separate and the problem is I don’t have any of the old bottles so I don’t know which aminos to buy to make my own. Isn’t that just like this screwed up society to take something away from us that actually works great! I have bad allergies but not once did I have a bad reaction to your amino acid complex. I would come home from the gym and take the complex and by the next day I was fully recovered with no soreness. I hate you for taking that away from us.

    • Sometimes a business has to make a business decision to discontinue a product if it isn’t selling well. They can’t keep manufacturering it for just a hand full of people. Besides, I’m sure they will gladly fill you in on the missing product so that you may create your in blend. Being a business owner that uses NutraBio, I totally understand their decision.

    • Sorry Treena, we discontinued that product years ago because there just wasn’t enough demand for it from our customers. The issue was that taking aminos in capsule form required too many capsules to get an effective dosage and people just didn’t ‘t want to down 20 to 30 caps a day. Good news though – we are working o a powdered version of that product right now that we hope to launch in the next few months. It will be a full EAA formula. In the meantime, have you looked at NutraBio Intra Blast, which has 2 grams of amino including all the BCAAs, EAAs, glutamine etc. It might be a good alternative for you. You can reach out to customer service and they will get you some free samples to try. It comes in few flavors and also unflavored which is just the raw aminos. In March we will be launch Intra Blast in a natural version as well.

    • Treena, maybe you need hormone replacement to ease your PMS! Yes, it does stink when you can’t find a loved product any longer and as someone with allergies also, I can understand your frustration, but your bitch rant above is totally uncalled for. Be nice!

  2. Um Treena I think you missed the whole point of this article! If you contact customer service like a normal person they will set you straight with your BCAA’s.
    Mark, kudos to you and this amazing business you have! This is exactly why I’m a Nutrabio customer for life. No compromises and no excuses. I’ll gladly wait for my order of protein on back order while you shove your boot up the asses of these subpar vendors. Keep up the good work!!

  3. This is why we continue to promote your products in our school and with our own students. Never compromising on the quality is what we live by as instructors and we truly appreciate that Mark and his company does the same with their products. Mark’s commitment to his customers and to the quality of his ingredients in every product he sells is why this company will be around for generations to come! Thank you Mark and thank you to the NutraBio team!

  4. I don’t think it was a childish rant rant, he’s letting his customers know what’s going on. There’s too much criticism instead of reading and listening!

    • Maybe you should read better Mabel:

      Jay on February 7, 2018 at 7:08 PM said:

      Instead of leaving a childish rant, why not just email them asking for the aminos you wanted?

      Was aimed at Treena’s reply to the rant about his/her own negative experience with a discontinued product, not Mark’s blurb about quality control.

  5. I have purchased a lot of products , but the Absolute best is Nutro-bios !!! Mark even called me when I had an issue with the ingredients in one of there products….. he set-me-straight with a perfect explanation…. AND he offered to send me free products to offset my $$s on one of my here products that I didn’t ‘care’for ,,, I refused that offer because I couldn’t believe the generosity he offered , and i didn’t want to take advantage of such a great man and company !!!
    I can’t give excact details because of a Traumatic Brain Injury I have that doesn’t let me explain better , I apologize!!
    Peace to ALL the ‘good’ people

  6. A couple of years ago my NutraBio Hydrolyzed Whey Protein tasted a little bit off to me. I contacted NutraBio and they immediately ceased all shipments of that lot, opened and tested a few random containers, and had three executives taste if for themselves. One of them said he thought he knew what I was tasting, the other two did not. Their response to me was that they took my word for it because “Our customers know our product and know extremely well the products they regularly use.” They could see from their records that I had been ordering that specific product for several years. They sent me a replacement tub plus an extra one for the inconvenience. That is the epitome of quality control and customer service. Thank you, Mark for placing quality over quantity, and ethics over profit. You clearly have a well-adjusted moral compass.

    • Thanks William. I remember that well. We retested that batch and the specification tested out properly, but the taste was off. We dumped the entire batch. I appreciate you commenting on it, it reminds us why we work so hard to make sure every customer gets the respect and service they deserve. Thank you!!

  7. Great job Mark! And this is why I am proud to work for Nutrabio. I also am a consumer and will continue to be regardless.Keep up the great work and never compromise. You rock!

  8. Mark, kudos to you for not compromising! NutraBio products are the absolute best for a reason. What an example of integrity! Thanks Mark!

  9. Wow, great read and I’m glad you don’t compromise! I was taking Nutrabio Isolate for months on end and tried nearly every flavor and was always impressed with the quality and taste! I really like Alpine Vanilla but Strawberry and Cinnamon bun took the win for sure. I suppose this is one of the reasons why I was so impressed. I’m willing to spend more for a quality protein and I can definitely tell the difference! I’ve been taking Man Sports ISO for months on end now and really enjoy all the flavors I’ve tried. Man Sports ISO It’s too expensive to buy at full price but I always buy it on sale.

    It’s hard to find Nutrabio Isolate on sale but it’s still acceptable at $40 for 2lb. So, did you ever get your 150k back? Seriously sketchy suppliers out there and they expect you to play that game like it’s ok! F-ing WEAK. Great read and nice job on quality control 4 sure!

  10. Nutrabio and nutrigold are the only two companies I mostly buy from…. if either of you do not carry something, I check with Mike Adams…

    Keep up the great work…

  11. Waiting to receive my first product, the natural BCAA’s. I found Nutrabio because I don’t like sucralose or aspartame in my BCAA powder and my previous brand was discontinued. I like the transparency in this article, of course it’s good for business to show how you maintain your standards. Great job focusing on the right stuff, Mark. It will come back to you.

    • Thanks for giving NutraBio a try. We are launching our Intra Blast Aminos and our PRE in naturally flavored and sweetened version in March. 2 flavors each. Michael our flavor specialist killed it on these new supplements. Can’t wait till we get them out.

  12. Nutrabio is the best out there, i’m in Toronto Canada we have to order directly from Nutrabio or cross border to buy it from vitamin shoppe. Bodybuilding.com doesn’t carry most of their products. Nutrabio can you partner up with a nutrition store here or have a full line up of your products on bodybuilding.ca. Thanks

  13. Mark,
    Thanks to you and the Nutrabio team! Your integrity and diligence to quality is why I exclusivley use Nutrabio products and will continue to use only Nutrabio for years to come. If only all business was handeld this way…
    Thanks again Mark and to Nutrabio. Keep fighting the good fight!

  14. Love it when crooks get smashed like this … just sad to be stuck in the middle like you had to be to make that happen.

    What “pisses” me off: still no magnesium supplements ! … except for the “Reacted Calcium Magnesium Vitamin-D” which has a Ca/Mg ratio that’s totally not in favor of the Magnesium imho (i bought some a while back)
    Plans on bringing back some Mg-chelate or similar in the future, or maybe fixing that damn ratio on the RCMvD ? 🙂

    Do that + add some vitamin K2 and you got yourself the perfect osteoporosis remedy (at the right ratios) … just sayin’ 😉
    Also beware vitamin-D pulls/keeps Calcium in the blood, and that the K2 does the exact opposite, fixing/sending it into the bone matrix.

  15. Nutrabio sets the bar higher than any other supplement manufacturers for a high quality product and truthful declaration of ingredients.Mark,your products rocks!!! Keep your standards high and customers like us will always be ready to purchase your products with confidence and recommend them to others who are looking for high quality supplements.

  16. Sorry to hear your company lost money, but it is that kind of quality control that keeps your customers loyal. Thank you and keep up the good work!

  17. I was a sales manager at a national supplement company for the better part of a decade. I have seen many products come and go, and used most everything we carried at one point or the other over the years as I had access to every major brand. I had been turned on to nutriabio by a trusted mentor I knew through my local gym. This was around 2010-11. By far nutriabio is my favorite manufacturer for all my supplement needs. While Most companies skimp on clinical strength doses of active ingredients I know I can always count on getting the correct dose at the highest quality in in industry. Every since my first order, I always check to see if I can get the product I’m seeking through nutrabio before I will even look elsewhere. As while I have see & used a lot of products over the years as well as gotten feed back from thousands of guests who frequented the locations I managed, I can say for certain that I am greatful for the utmost integrity offered at nutrabio. When you need one company you can count on, who refuses to compromise quality, has great product formulas made from only the highest quality fresh ingredients that give you everything you need & nothing you don’t, look not further. As, it’s not easy to please someone like me, and I keep coming back because I won’t accept anything but but the best.

  18. Rant away Mark. We all can agree we want the best with zero compromise. That is when I called my local supplement shop for some supplements he told me they are back order. The tribulus and horny goat weed. I didn’t sweat it. I’ll wait it out.
    I was turned on to your products because a you tube video you made about protein powder and some others on the inside operation of NutraBio. Keep up the great work Mark and the rest of the NutraBio company

  19. Hi Mark,
    As a long time user of NutraBio products, I greatly appreciate your ethics and good moral values in your business and to your customers in an area of business that virtually all products have little of the active ingredients and a lot of “fillers”.

    I started using your products about age 55 to recover from a heart attack and as I have aged, I have found a product that makes a huge difference in the health and energy of an aged person. At age 78/79 I returned to work two outages at a power plant I retired from and performed the same work being done by people 20/30 years younger than I am. No one could believe that I was as old as I was.
    There has been proven research on this product (I can supply you with it) but the problem is the product is made overseas and part of the cost is in shipping and import fees. Could you look into licensing the manufacture of the products in the United States to reduce the cost to us “old folks?”

  20. Mark
    I ordered 5 pounds of chocolate whey isolate. I contacted your CS rep and he informed me that the protein was rejected and that it would be 2-3 weeks. They would change my order if needed but the vanillla was rejected also. Now I read your rant about the issue. I appreciate the fact that your team was honest, so I could wait on the right protein, not a sub-therapeutic substitute.
    Don’t set your expectations high because you will consistently be let down.
    Your team made my order right and I appreciate that.

  21. Next time specify on the PO your requirements. Any of the major companies in the wpc production will comply. If you’re ordering that much, then you know the deal. Been dealing with these mfg for a long time and not a big deal. If you’re rejecting this many raws then you need to evaluate your buying process.

    • Of course we specify all requirements on POs and in advance in writing as apart of our qualification process. Rejecting so many raw ingredients is NOT a matter of us improving upon our process it at a matter of how strict we are overall.

      NutraBio’s specifications are very stringent but agreed upon in advance. All specifications to suppliers are written and agreed upon in advance. All vendors, manufacturers, and ingredients must pass qualification prior to procurement. COA must be supplied in advance along with all quality documents (non-gmo, allergen, etc). When you approve a COA for a single lot, and then the delivery includes additional lots that were not approved for specification, you have a problem. Supplier qualification was withdrawn from this vendor. Our suppliers know that we test every batch of every raw ingredient we receive in our in-house laboratory. If passes our in-house testing we then send every batch to a 3rd-party independent lab. Every single batch must pass specification base don both in-house and independent lab testing before it is released from our quarantine warehouse. Our vendors also must agree upfront to take back all ingredients that don’t meet specification based on independent testing at their cost. There are many games played in the raw ingredient industry that we just don’t participate in.

  22. Dear Mark,
    Saw this post on linked in and had to read it. First off, I’d like to thank you for sharing this dirty little secret of our industry; this is one of many and frankly not the worse of them all. I’m a Sales Executive in the industry on the CMO side, so I can attest to the realities that we deal with daily in our industry. I’m fortunate and blessed to work for a team that does not compromise in Quality either and it all starts with the raw’s, what you allow in your facility which goes into the bottle.
    I’ve worked and resigned from companies in the past that frankly did not follow through the “Quality Promises” to the consumers. 10 years ago I learned the truth about Protein blends (90% made up for inferior Whey, less than 10% made up of Isolates) but still labels claimed Isolates as the 1st ingredient listed. So I was happy to see you doing it differently now for years, you really stood out for me (even before your now “mainstream fame”) you were already ahead of your time.

    There are a couple of things I really need to put out there, take this down if you’d like.

    Question for the readers: how can a company achieve over 70% protein concentrations per serving in a blend of (WPI, WPC & WPH) at 24g per serving where “Whey Protein Isolates” is the first ingredient on the list and still be remarkably cheaper than everyone else?

    Here’s how: ION EXCHANGE WHEY, which has on average the highest concentration of protein per serving of any other whey protein, is your main protein, followed by a little Micro-filtered Whey Iso and Concentrate with a splash of the Hydrolyzed by Enzyme Whey. Ion exchange is still “technically” an isolate, though it’s total crap for your health vs. the better micro-filtered whey isolate and even the cold filtered concentrate. But that’s how, you get the highest concentration per serving of protein to claim Isolates as your first ingredient and still be remarkably cheaper than everyone else whom are actually using a micro-filtered whey isolate as the first and main protein!

    My pet peeve has always been this; it’s not that they’re using the Ion Exchange like other companies do and specifically call that out on their label, it’s that they use it and don’t claim it, in fact they hide it under a vague “Isolates” claim – and all the consumers whom know no better, think that, “hey, this is better as the first ingredient is an Isolate, and it’s cheaper!” – That drives me crazy!
    I won’t name names, but you know who they are, if you don’t, just read the labels.

  23. Thank you Mark! As a long-time customer, I can attest to the quality control and customer service that is inherent in your entire organization. I recently had received a 5 pound weight protein isolate where the seal and That apparently popped off slightly leaving protein dust all over the container and box. I contacted customer service and they immediately replaced it with another container. And this one, as usual, arrived perfectly fine. Congratulations on running a business with such impeccable integrity!

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