NutraLab Canada Ltd.

Vertically integrated private label supplement manufacturing in Toronto
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Forrest Lancaster

The $3-billion-a-year nutraceuticals-supplement industry is one of the top-performing sectors in Canada. This major growth spurt has been sparked by consumers who are self-educating and carefully examining their diets and nutrient intakes, taking health into their own hands. As the Canadian and global supplements industry grows, the demand for expert contract manufacturing is more prominent. In Toronto, NutraLab Canada Ltd. is meeting this burgeoning demand as a one-stop shop for full service private-label manufacturing for nutraceuticals, sports nutrition and a range of dietary supplement products.

The company offers everything a product needs to hit the shelves in-house: raw material supply to product development, analytic testing to production, packaging, warehouse and inventory control, even in-house graphic design and marketing support in product launch. NutraLab’s in-house brands, Maple Life and Dr. Nutrition, can also be found in select grocery chains, online and in nutritional supplement stores throughout Ontario.

NutraLab’s state-of-the-art manufacturing and clean room facilities meet and exceed the latest good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards set by Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the highly vertically integrated company has positioned itself at the forefront of the Canadian and global supplements market.

As a subsidiary of Honson Pharmatech Group, NutraLab has three facilities in Ontario, including a centralized state-of-the-art site as the hub of operations in Toronto. The company currently employs 70 people working across several divisions.

Building a foundation in raw material supply

NutraLab is now one of the largest contract supplement manufacturers in Canada, however, the company started relatively small in 1995 with founder Dr. Peter Ou, CEO and chief scientific officer of NutraLab. Dr. Ou came to Toronto from the U.K., where he received his Ph.D. and started in the raw material supply end of the natural health products market.

“I use my scientific training and background in natural health obtained from my Ph.D. to launch the raw materials supply business, which remains a huge facet of NutraLab today,” he says. “Using rigorous testing, NutraLab has expanded to other areas such as private-label manufacturing and global distribution of our own brand products.”

With an inventory that includes amino acids, essential oils, fine chemicals, nutraceuticals, herbal extracts, powder and more, the company’s foundation in raw material supply has helped NutraLab build customer confidence through its expansion. “People know we have the experience with more than 20 years in the business,” says Ou.

“We also have all types of in-house packaging such as capsules, soft gels, powder and liquids,” he continues. “Most other companies outsource this to a third party, but we do not need to because we are vertically integrated.”

The single-source solution

From initial concept to product launch, NutraLab’s expertise and pursuit of perfection sets the company apart from others in the industry. Starting with the most reliable and high-quality raw materials, NutraLab provides a one-stop service and support team for product formulation, regulatory compliance and product design.

The company’s advanced operation facilities are equipped with: complete GMP-certified SOP systems and advanced nutraceuticals operations systems, small to large batch vitamin production, in-house microbial and heavy metal analytical lab for processing quality control, independent, third-party lab for final finished product testing and potency validation, and production equipment for various dosages such as hard capsules, soft gels, tablets and coating. The company’s fully automated bottling and labeling line offers solid dosage packaging, blister packaging and liquid filling.

Ensuring purity and potency

NutraLab boasts an award-winning testing facility in Toronto, performing rigorous studies on product potency and purity, something that has been in the industry spotlight as the sector grows. A Natural Product Number (NPN), an eight-digit number proving the product has been assessed by Health Canada and deemed to be safe, effective and of high quality can now be found on all natural health products (NHPs) in Canada. NPN enforcement initiated in September 2014, and no product without an NPN has been allowed in the NHP market since.

From the moment ingredients arrive at NutraLab, the record-keeping process begins and details of all batch files are tested for any microbial, heavy metal or other possible contamination. This detailed record keeping is essential in NPN verification.

“For the long term, the NPN system is beneficial to the industry and adds a new level of quality control,” says Ou. “While it may be a hurdle at times, the regulation of materials and ingredients used in Canadian manufactured product aids the public by supporting quality and innovation. Some companies have in-house regulatory teams to obtain NPNs for private label brands – NutraLab also has a qualified team of experts on hand to assist with client applications. Currently we hold more than 400 NPNs with additional formulas in the application process.”

With stringent in-house quality control and comprehensive concept-to-completion service, NutraLab Canada Ltd. has already developed a strong reputation globally with exports accounting for more than 40 percent of sales. Despite this international growth, NutraLab Canada Ltd. remains deeply committed to supporting the health of North Americans and local Canadian businesses and communities.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
TD Commercial Banking