Amongst the current economic turmoil that’s been affecting everyone and everything, you may have noticed that creatine prices have been consistently on the rise. The quick and short is that there’s a shortage in supply. Simple economic theory suggests that with limited supply will come an equal or greater increase in demand, as well as price. But for the average consumer who just wants to stack on more gains, sticker shock becomes a real thing.
Creatine Price Increases
Prior to the pandemic commodity products like creatine and whey protein had consistent and steady growth at around 5% per year. However, during the pandemic consumer spending increased nearly 50% in the same time compared to the year before.
Higher consumer demand, places a higher strain on production and supply chain, thus creating a shortage, stretching production hours and increase labor demands. Supply shortages in supplements also create an additional problem – inferior products.
Mark Glazier, CEO of NutraBio, stated that creatine prices are up nearly 800% for raw materials, and that when tested for specification raw ingredients are being cut with maltodextrin. Quality manufacturers and brands will test for content to ensure these products do not come to market, however suppliers and manufacturers of raw ingredients are starting to cut with cheaper ingredients to drive prices down.
The quality of creatine products however manufactured in the US are not effected by the ingredient shortages. Manufacturers are obligated to test raw materials and to follow good manufacturing principles (cGMP) enforced by the food and drug administration (FDA).
High traffic at ports stuffed with shipping containers have also become a symptom and contributor to the global supply chain issue. With increased demand, it leaves a shortage of containers which has sent price of shipping and container shipping through the roof. Not to mention, strikes of 22,000 dock workers at 29 west coast ports, which account for nearly 10% of the US gross domestic product can also be a contributing factor. Between the dock workers union and shipping companies, negotiations for higher wages with stagflation in the works, is mounting to high tensions and delays in shipping.
Product scarcity has contributed to the surge of inflated cost, which produces a domino effect from manufacturers, to brands, all the way to the end-consumer. Raw material prices have risen from an average of five dollars to nearly fifty dollars per kilogram, with end consumers seeing anywhere from 20-200% increases.
Geopolitical issues are also a large contributing factor to the creatine crisis. A large majority of the world’s creatine is synthesized and created in China. Pandemic related restrictions as well as political tumult regarding international trade narrow availability for brands in the US.
All of these issues stacked on top of one another creates a big shit sandwich for lack of a better phrase. You can still get creatine from some brands now, however, don’t expect prices to go down any time soon and availability to get any better. You may experience some sticker shock, since creatine was consistently one o the cheapest supplements on the market. You can check out the best creatine products over at Barbend.com
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