Proprietary ("prop") blends refer to supplement recipes and formulas that do not reveal their specific doses to prevent competitors from copying them. The practice of prop blends is legal under common labeling and packaging laws, but is it fair to the consumer? Right now a debate is raging over a recent incident that has brought the issue firmly into the spotlight.
When our CEO and formulator, Terry Katz, first produced Platinum Labs products he used a prop blend because he wanted to protect what was one of the best formulas in the industry. It took another year of business for him to realize two distinct problems with this practice:
- Once you understand formulating and the cost of raw materials you can work out the dosages
- There isn’t anything new or inventive in the dosage of a supplement. If your blend is 10mgdifferent to other products, it’s unlikely to set you apart. In this highly competitive market, it’s very likely that other formulators have tried your formulation already.
We realized that customers were beginning to associate prop blends with “hiding something” and we wanted no part of that. We had nothing to hide; in fact, we didn’t need to change a single thing in the formula, it was already producing results and loved by our customers.
With this in mind, we decided to officially move to the “full disclosure” model that we have today.
"I challenge any company to give a solid reason for hiding dosages behind such an archaic legal loophole."
We can't control the entire industry but we can control the transparency of our own products and this is something that we are incredibly proud of. As my experience has grown in the industry I find myself detesting the prop blend more every day. I challenge any company to give a solid reason for hiding dosages behind such an archaic legal loophole.The truth is there is no reason; except to scam the customer and hide weak dosages. – CEO, Terry Katz
How is it a scam?
Just like anything in this world, different ingredients (or “raws”) have different prices. Usually, the more common the ingredient, the cheaper it is. For instance, common ingredients like Caffeine, Beta Alanine,and Taurine are incredibly cheap, while exotic ingredients such as Higenamine, Lotus extract, trademarked ingredients are much more expensive. However, it’s usually these exotics or trademarked ingredients that savvy consumers are looking for. Do you bother checking if your pre-workout caffeine? Probably not.
The fact is that a company can list an extract regardless of the amount in the formula. A good example of this is the world of homeopathic medicine, where some labels will proudly list caffeine at a dosage of6C (or 1:1012), which means that it is unlikely that a single molecule is found in the dosage.
While most supplement companies will not go this far, they will put a tiny amount of an ingredient in just so that it can be seen on the label. This is dishonest marketing and undermines the entire industry.
What can you do?
In the end, by not choosing prop blend products, consumers can send the message that all companies should offer full disclosure of their product ingredients.
Supplement companies should not be able to hide behind the ‘but our formula is revolutionary and should be protected’ excuse. Public opinion convinced us to change to full disclosure and it boosted our brands' popularity ten-fold because we had a solid formula.
The sad truth is that 90% of prop blends are only made to hide the under-dosing of key ingredients. So check your supplement cupboard and take to social media. Let these companies know that you won’t stand for dirty tricks and hidden blends anymore. If they back their products then they will have no issue with revealing exactly what makes them so good.