It may not be very well known in Bledsoe County, but Life Line Foods, LLC sitting on top of Big Spring Gap Road, has quietly become a highly recognized nationwide nutritional supplements company. Life Line Foods, manufacturer of Buried Treasure Liquid Nutrients has been manufacturing liquid supplements since the mid 1990’s and has made a big impact across the country with nationwide retail chains and local family owned health markets. The Life Line Foods company has been in business for 50 years this January which many local remember as the bakery.
Buried Treasure products are sold in large health and natural products retailers like Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Fresh Thyme among other regional chains in the southeast. But what makes Buried Treasure products standout among small independent natural products retailers is their support for the locally owned and family owned stores. “The independent natural products retailers is what has made Buried Treasure products what we are today. They have supported us by believing in our products and we support them 100%”, says Lester Burks CEO of Life Line Foods, LLC.
Buried Treasure has been a sponsor and supporter of a national organization called SENPA. The SENPA organization is an advocate for product training, natural products legislation and a support system for independent retail stores. On their web site, www.senpa.org, SENPA describes themselves as a non-profit trade association protecting and advancing the natural products industry.
Life Line Foods commitment to independent natural products retailers and SENPA organization has made waves in the natural products industry. In early 2018 Life Line Foods initiated a strict minimum advertised price policy (MAP) which is virtually unheard of. “With online retailers taking sales away from the independent stores, we have seen many stores closed their doors after 25-30 years in the business. We had to do something”, says Burks. “It’s the local natural products retailer that educates the consumer on the benefits of our products. But the consumer will get on their phone and order the same product on Amazon for less. We took a stand where most manufacturers won’t and did something about it.”
According to a natural products industry publication, Life Line Foods and the Buried Treasure brand, was mentioned as a leader in MAP enforcement and pioneer in supporting the independent natural products retailer.
“Anything with 30% or more off MSRP, in our opinion is simply not honoring the partnerships with independent retailers”, says a statement from NutritionProductsInsider.com. This is a statement Burks and his marketing manager, Matthew Dell, take seriously.
“We do a lot of work to educate the consumer on the benefits of our products online, but it is the personal relationship found in the store aisles that can really benefit the consumer”, says Dell. “We spent countless hours on Amazon and other web sites finding those sellers who are below our MAP policy and have them removed from further purchasing and selling our products. Within 6 months we saw a significant decline in unauthorized sellers and a virtual no one selling our products below our MAP”.
With this commitment to the independent natural products retailer Burks and Dell spoke at several SENPA tradeshows across the southeast this summer. They teamed up with Ed Jones and Chase Ballard of Nutrition World Chattanooga. Jones and Ballard also run a web site who call out manufacturers who do not have a MAP policy or allow online retailers to sell below 30% off MSRP.
Because of his commitment this past December Lester Burks was named president of the SENPA organization. His belief in the natural products industry, commitment to the independent natural products retailers and longevity of business makes Burks a prime candidate to help lead SENPA over the next two years as president.
At the annual expo this December Matthew Dell, on behalf of Life Line Foods and Buried Treasure, received several honors for sponsorships for the SOHO Expo at the Gaylord Palms. “It’s not just about marketing, it’s a commitment to support the SENPA organization anyway we can. Our desire is to see other manufacturers follow suite to support the independent stores.”
“When we work with our online retailers and retail stores it makes for better relationships with both parties and a better consumer experience. We can’t cheapen our brand by allowing people to sell our products below MAP. We value our products and it must show in our pricing and consistent marketing strategies.”, says Dell.
You can learn more about Buried Treasure products and where to purchase on their web site, www.buriedtreasureln.com.