Today we’re thrilled to announce our investment in Gem, which launched today as the first FDA approved, real-food vitamin supplement that you eat like a snack. We led an investment in the company this spring and are proud to join them on their mission to make supplements more effective, transparent, and tasty.

In an industry filled with mislabeling and misinformation, Gem is a beacon for better practices and higher standards. Gem isn’t a more natural vitamin pill – it’s a superfood bite that’s nutritionally dense enough to meet women’s daily needs. Gem also has made the decision to use a nutritional label, meaning that it meets FDA standards for GRAS (generally regarded as safe) ingredients and label accuracy.

When we met Sara, Gem’s founder, several months ago, we were blown away by her product, sourcing, ability to connect with consumers, and rigorous commitment to sustainability.

We, of course, did lots of taste tests: it’s amazing how delicious and satisfying a bite made of superfoods like algae can be! Better yet, I’ve noticed a difference in my own health and energy levels since starting Gem, because it is absorbed as food and thus 100% bioavailable (able to be processed by the body) - unlike its pill based counterparts.

We’ve watched the supplements category as GNC has closed 200 stores and several new, beautiful direct-to-consumer brands have entered the scene. We’re investors in Goop, which has enjoyed great success with its own vitamin line in addition to selling supplements made by other companies that meet their strict standards. We’ve been excited to see companies pushing for more transparency about ingredients and efficacy, in addition to the companies that are personalizing vitamins for individual needs.

It’s needed. The current state of the industry, built on marketing that it makes consumers healthier, often times with no proof that this is the case, is outrageous and unacceptable. While 52%of U.S. adults use them, supplements don’t have to go through the same regulatory approval process as food products. That means they don’t have to prove their products are safe or to verify claims on their labels, and a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that their nutritional data is usually highly inaccurate. Even more concerning, a 2014 study by internist Pieter Cohen discovered that many supplements (particularly for weight loss) were tainted with synthetic compounds like stimulants – including meth!, steroids, and antidepressants. Many supplements also contain petrochemically derived products and fillers, such as wheat and soy, which are not mentioned on the label.

Just like the best way to get clean food is to avoid the center of the grocery store and eat unprocessed fruits and veggies, the best way to get clean supplementary nutrition is from minimally processed food products like Gem.

It seems crazy that people make so many efforts to avoid chemicals in their food, but tolerate them in products that they take strictly for their nutritional benefit because there aren’t many healthy alternatives. We’re excited for Gem to lead the way to a healthier, better future.