John Weeks’ Integrative Medicine, Complementary Alternative Medicine and Health Round-up #54: April 2012 on Natural Products

Proctor & Gamble buys herb company New Chapter

“Our shared mantra is acquisition, not assimilation,” wrote the former owners of the Brattleboro, Vermont-based New Chapter in a letter to their employees that provided details about their purchase by the world’s largest consumer products firm Proctor & Gamble according to a story on the acquisition posted by the American Botanical Council (ABC). New Chapter’s founders, Barbi and Paul Schulick state: “Our culture, guiding principles, and credo will not change and will only be buoyed by the superlative values gleaned from Procter & Gamble’s resources and experience.” The firm, founded in 1982, had a history of partnering with significant institutions for research on its products. States ABC founder Mark Blumenthal: “There’s probably no better evidence of mainstream consumer acceptance of the benefits of herbal dietary supplements than P&G’s acquisition of New Chapter. Obviously, Procter & Gamble has done a significant amount of due diligence in researching not only New Chapter’s history and product quality but also in determining the future growth potential for New Chapter’s herbal and other dietary supplement products. A company like P&G doesn’t make such a strategic move into a new area like dietary supplements without a considerable level of research.” No price was disclosed.

Comment: The first phase of complementary and alternative medicine integration, in the late 1990s, saw a rash of ventures by big pharma into the botanical trade. This is the first significant re-entry in some time. New Chapter is distinctive in its combination of Vermont back-to-land herbalism and research savvy.