Supply Chain Update -- Not looking good

What the supplement industry is facing:

INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT: Freight costs internationally have worsened in August. The cost of shipping a container from China to the U.S. has increased 4-7 times since pre-covid numbers, depending on ports. The U.S. and global demand continue to outpace capacity causing wait times in excess of 4 weeks and container cost increases of $1000 every 2 weeks. We’re now running into the holiday season where companies will be increasing inventories which will further exacerbate the problems.

A container from Shanghai to LA has increased from $2,350 to $14,100 with spot purchases in excess of $30,000 per container. The cause: surging global demand, shortage of containers, the Suez Canal blockage, the closing of the Yantian port, COVID issues, lack of employees at ports, shortage of trucks and the increasing trade imbalance.

Most analysts are predicting it will be between mid-2022 and the end of 2022 before we see any relief. The general consensus is that after the market normalizes, freight will not return to where it was. Higher freight costs will be the new norm.

DOMESTIC FREIGHT: Domestic freight has increased 80-85% in the first 6 months of 2021 compares the same period in 2020.
WHEY PROTEIN: Whey protein presents the most serious of problem for our industry right now. Pricing is rising with no answer in sight as to when it will stop. Whey Concentrate (WPC80) has gone up almost 150% in the last few months and Whey Isolate (WPI90) has almost doubled in the same period.

Manufacturers are getting hit hard and passing price increases on to brands who are in turn seeing a $5 to $10 increase in the cost of their 2 pound tubs. That’s only the increase from the CMO to the brand, add to that the markup from the brand to the store, and then from the store to the consumer. Dairy manufacturers might be pricing themselves out of the industry soon, because whey protein products will be hitting a retail price point that consumers are just not willing to pay. This will cause consumers to look for alternative protein sources.

Because of existing inventory and dairy contracts, many brands have not yet increased their price, but it is inevitable. So far we’ve seen only a handful of brands increase their pricing so it hasn’t yet fully trickled down to the consumer. But give it 30 to 60 more days and the **** will hit the fan. There will be a consumer revolt that will affect all whey goods including: protein powders, weight gainers, protein blends and meal replacements. My biggest fear is what could happen to product quality. We will certainly see a resurgence of protein spiking, WPC34 bait and switch and many other scams.

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE: Availability continues to be a disaster. Supply is extremely tight and shows no sign of improving in the near future . Factories are still producing very little material and are not honoring their contracts so may brands are subsequently finding CMOs cancelling their commitments, delaying shipment and increasing prices. Creatine is currently 3-4 times higher in cost than it was 6 months ago but even if you are willing to pay the price, good luck finding it.

Yogan and Baosui are rationing their outputs to the entire market while Taiking is fully booked through the end of October. The cause continues to be a shortage of the raw materials needed to manufacture creatine. Yongan, one of the main manufacturers of creatine, controls the supply of HAN (hydroxy acetonitrile). HAN is produced from natural gas which creates excessive pollution so the Chinese Government has demanded a reduction in the manufacture of it. Hengkang controls cyanimide also needed for the production of creatine. Calcium carbide used to manufacture cyanimide is in short supply because it too is a heavy pollutant and utilizes extensive amounts of energy, so China has reduced its production as well. To worsen matters, calcium carbide is a key component used in the manufacture of PVC. PVC production is at an all-time high which further tightens the supply of calcium carbide.

CITRULLINE & CITRULLINE MALATE: Pricing for both of these has hit an all-time high, up about 60% in the last few months, and it continues to rise. Currently, supply is extremely tight and very hard to find. CJ, the most significant player in the citrulline market, closed their Haide plant in China and will continue production only out of Indonesia, but that will not be enough to fill the void because the factory has limited capacity. Currently, there is no solution for CM until maybe the 2nd to 3rd quarter 2022.

ALBION MINERALS: Albion has experienced problems keeping up with demand for a few months now. Sales of their key minerals have grown dramatically and they currently do not have the manufacturing capacity to meet the demand. Their warehouse shelves are bare and all incoming supply is already spoken for through end of year. Current commitments of some ingredients are being rationed off. Purchase orders placed now will not be available for delivery until 1st quarter 2020 on most products.

VEGETARIAN CAPSULES: Capsugel and Caps Canada have zero stock with little or no information as to when they can supply. Caps Canada might have seriously screwed their future business because they shut down all communication with customers. They gave no advance warnings of supply problems, are not giving out estimated times, and didn’t take or return calls. Customers understand the current issues but what is unforgivable is lack of communications and disregard for years of loyal business. Gelatin capsules so far are stable.

CAFFEINE ANHYDROUS: Caffeine took a big hit this year after China shut down production. The material became scarce and the price skyrocketed. Currently, the price is about 12-18% higher than the norm. It seems China has reopened factories so hopefully, we’ll see a return to normal.
AMINO ACIDS: Aminos overall have increased from 5% to 25%. BCAAs, arginine and glutamine are on the rise. NAC is stable, probably because of lower demand due to the crackdown by Amazon, which removed all NAC products. Tyrosine needs to be watched because supply is getting tight. Carnitines are getting tight and price is on the rice due to some manufacturing plant shut downs. Alanine, taurine, and cysteine are stable.
VITAMINS: Vitamin price and supply is stable for the time being. Folic acid supply is getting tight because p-aminobenzoyl glutamic acid, used in manufacturing, is in short supply. Inositol price is on the rise. Natural Vitamin E is the one watch here as supply is limited and price is on the rise. Synthetic Vitamin E so far is stable.

As you can see prices are up, supply is short, and demand is high.
Per Mark Glazier off FB


I’ve said it a couple times now… And I’m not bragging the least bit: I couldn’t be more grateful as a supplement consumer that I managed to find some of the products that I did (cost and availability alike) and load up while all of this chaos is happening.

It’s insane that we’ll see this continue for no less than a calendar year.

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You best believe I put in some orders today and yesterday for some essential products before we see them OOS or prices go sky high.


Appreciate the update. I’ll be stocking up as well

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Least I can do @Anthony. We are all consumers, and I would rather you know what lies ahead then roll the dice and run out of things you like to take daily.


Glazier from Nutrabio told me today

WPC has gone up $2.85 per pound. Nutrabio pays an additional $137,000 per truck load.

That is INSANE.

I’m waiting on him to respond to my IG comment. Glazier and Dan both posted a Pic of the Creapure shipment. I asked if he switched to Creapure out of necessity since he was previously bringing in Pharmapure.

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Core Nutritionals has done its best to swallow the additional costs and still make the supplements as reasonable and affordable as possible. The products that will be affected are Core Pro, Core ISO, and the more advanced protein formulas, Core MRP and Core Post. To give you an idea of the new pricing, Core Pro, for example, is going up to $44.99 for its 2lb tub size and $84.99 for the larger and still more cost-effective 5lber.

Core Nutritionals won’t be the only one doing this, regardless of whether or not others come out and openly announce the increase like Core. It is worth noting there will be no change to the reputable brand’s plant-based, vegan-friendly protein powder Core Vegan, although even after the increase, Core Pro is going to remain the more cost-effective option.

The changes are coming into effect on the 1st of September


Mark bringing creatine to the people

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Core has inventory at Amazon for some of the better regular pricing shipped… I’m wondering if the increase will kick in there too

The cinnamon bun Core Iso I’ve been wanting to try and so few retailers keep that flavor.

Sept 1 price increase.

Since those items are likely sold by third party retailers, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the Amazon prices.

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The question begs.

Supply Chain update: The cost to ship a container from China to the U.S. is out of control. I was just quoted $56,000 to ship 2 containers of empty bottles to the U.S. That’s $28,000 per container. 6 months ago that same container cost me less than $3,000. 3 weeks ago it cost $21,000. So it rose $7,000 per container in just a few weeks. The cost has risen 930% this year. This cost will be passed on to thousands of products that we purchase every day. Get ready for some tough times folks.


here is a major issue that everyone should plan for that will exacerbate the problems we’re all currently experiencing. The Chinese New Year is right around the corner. During Thanksgiving here in the U.S., 50 million Americans will migrate across the country for a weekend. For the Chinese New Year, 385 million workers will travel home for weeks. Most Chinese factories will close down for 2-4 weeks so if you think price and availability of raw ingredients are bad now, just you wait.

If you are an experienced importer you know what that means, start planning in August so your business in not disrupted in February. But this year, it’s a lot more difficult to plan because raw material availability is already stretched paper thin. So expect the worst and plan for it.

Maltodextrin: supply is extremely tight and the price is going up.

Dextrose: supply is non-existent, if you don’t have any now you won’t for a while.

Fructose: Almost as bad as dextrose. Price is up and supply is gone.

Flavors: Lead times are increasing drastically and price is on the rise. Maltodextrin is a major carrier for flavor systems so with supply of malto tight, flavors are following.

Citric and malic acid continue to be short with price double what it was last year.

Labels: paper is in short supply so labels price is on the rise. Expect and extra 2-3 weeks lead time.

Plastics: Lead times are still bad and price is getting worse for both imported and domestic bottles. I paid and extra $0.50 per 100mm cap this week just so I could keep product stocked for my customers. If you are using glass you are f*ck’d

I’ve been warning about citrulline for a while, well it looks like it’s hitting critical mass now as the price is drastically on the rise and supply is very spotty. Quotes coming in for October are 40-50% higher than current pricing which is already at a high.

Whey is getting worse and might continue this way through Q2. WPI contracts are $1.50 more per pound than last month and no one is quoting past December. That’s $75,000 more for a truckload than last month and $200,000 more than Q1. WPC is no better. It’s the wild west for whey protein. The problem with whey is fourfold: China continues to buy up U.S. whey to feed their pigs, cheese manufacturing is down so whey follows, freight is through the roof and packaging is headed towards an all-time high.

As sourcing whey protein becomes more difficult and the price continues to skyrocket, the cheaters will start popping up again. Protein spiking and diluting will no doubt be on the rise. But even the cheaters will have problem this time around as there is no dextrose or malto to dilute their protein with. Creatine is so expensive they can’t use it for amino spiking as are many aminos. Blend it down with cheaper WPC, not worth it, it’s not that much cheaper. Even the cheaters are having a tough time right now. But if you are a consumer buying protein at retail during these times, you should definitely be checking the protein ratio before purchasing. It’s getting harder to spike and dilute but cheaters will always fine away


I’m stocked up for months in the whey Iso / post-workout category. But I could stand to come by some more WPC for the long haul. Til then I’ve been eating accordingly to keep my whey scoops down.

Rookie :stuck_out_tongue:

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The more things continue to develop, I’m not really sure this situation will ever get “resolved” in the sense most would have in mind.

US-China relations aren’t getting better any time soon, and we may well be looking at a scenario where supply chains and manufacturing bases will have to change drastically – localizing, 100%, to the U.S., or at least North America – in order to fill enough supply for demand. That’s… maybe 5 years :neutral_face:.


That’s not a brag in the least bit… Months is just a technicality because it’s more than one :grin: