Supplement maker iHerb tries out Russian labelling scheme

International dietary and herbal supplement manufacturer iHerb has agreed to start applying Russia's track-and-trace labels to its products as part of a pilot study.

The US-headquartered company – which a few months ago announced a $100m investment in the Russian market over the next two years – will take part in Russia's Chestny ZNAK scheme by affixing codes to products that are registered for sale in Russia.

The announcement of the pilot came as the Centre for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT) that operates the Chestny ZNAK scheme agreed to work with Russia's Union of Nutritional Supplements Manufacturers on implementing the programme in the dietary supplement area.

Russia's intention is eventually to make every single consumer good traded in the domestic market – including imported goods – digitally traceable at the unit level. Specific requirements vary by industry, but key elements include 2D datamatrix codes, serialisation and aggregation, crypto codes, and electronic reporting.

It wants goods to be trackable and verifiable as they make their way down the supply chain from the point of manufacture to the consumer, who can verify purchases using their smartphone.

iHerb's pilot comes during the rollout of the pilot phase for biologically-active food additives, which is due to take place between April this year and March 2022.

Although trends towards healthy nutrition, active lifestyle and natural ingredients are gaining ground in Russia, most products positioned as health and wellness products remain niche, according to iHerb.

"iHerb is one of the largest marketplaces on the dietary supplements market [and] its assistance in conducting an experiment on labelling this product group will help us understand the intricacies of the market and develop effective solutions for manufacturers and suppliers of dietary supplements that connect to the system," commented Mikhail Dubin, chairman of the CRPT.

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