Morinda is a multilevel marketing company that is almost wholly focused on one product—Tahitian noni fruit juice. The company has also branched out into other products like essential oils and body care products, but the noni fruit continues to be the focus of their business model.
Interest in the brand has been stable over time. According to search engine trends, searches for “Morinda” have been essentially flat for several years, neither tracking up nor down.
Did I get on board? This explains everything:
This can be misleading, however, since “morinda” is also the scientific name for the plant which produces the noni fruit. Interest in noni fruit in particular as a search term has been historically stable, but trends noted a sharp uptick in search traffic volume in early 2017, indicating that noni fruit may be a new hot commodity in the health and supplement world.
News reports are fairly sparse about this fruit, though it’s being investigated for its cancer-treatment potential at the University of Hawaii. This could indicate a market opportunity—if noni fruit does become a new must-have supplement, being a position to be able to distribute it could be a lucrative endeavor.
The Tahitian noni fruit, despite the name, occurs all throughout Southeast Asia. It is a large tree that produces a pungent, bitter fruit—the noni fruit. Given the bitterness of the fruit, it should not be a surprise to learn that Morinda’s Tahitian Noni Juice is actually mostly a blend of grape juice and blueberry juice, with a some noni fruit puree added to the blend.
The potential health benefits of noni fruit have been fairly widely investigated. In a 2002 research paper, researchers in Jamaica investigate the properties of a noni fruit puree much like that used in Morinda’s Tahitian Noni Juice.
In their study, they extracted noni fruit juice and tested its anti-inflammatory properties in rats injected with a proinflammatory agent. Oral consumption of the noni fruit extract resulted in a substantial reduction of the inflammation process, indicating that noni fruit might be a useful anti-inflammatory agent for people with inflammatory health problems like colitis or arthritis.
As many anti-inflammatory agents also have antioxidant properties too, it should come as no surprise that noni juice has also been investigated for its anti-cancer properties. A 2012 review study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research by Amy Brown at the University of Hawaii investigated nineteen studies on noni juice and cancer—some in cells, some in animal models, and some in humans.
Brown’s review found that there is some evidence for a mild anti cancer activity in noni juice extract, though consumption needs to be monitored in people with kidney, liver, or heart problems, as the juice is rich in potassium (people with these sorts of problems can have issues when exposed to high potassium intakes).
As reported in 2007 by Olivier Potterat and Matthias Hamburger at the University of Basel in Switzerland, there is still a lot to be learned about noni juice. Its pharmacology and biological activity is only beginning to be uncovered.
There was a brief scare in the European Union related to its toxicity—a few case studies seemed to indicate it could cause liver damage, but a later investigation found that these were more likely the result of pre-existing health problems. So far, at least, the safety record of noni juice looks good, and a number of clinical studies are underway.
This highlights the high-risk, high-reward aspect of noni juice—if a large-scale placebo-controlled double-blind study comes out that supports the use of noni juice for a common health issue, like preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol, or improving arthritis pain, noni juice could fly off the shelves. On the other hand, if a clinical trial is stopped because of adverse side effects, it could be a business dead-end.
Because the scientific research is so preliminary, there’s no evidence that the dosage is correct either. Even if noni juice does have beneficial health effects, the proper dosing and frequency you should take it still needs to be established. So Morinda’s supplement may or may not be effective even if you assume the efficacy of the plant itself.
In addition to the high-risk, high-reward nature of the product, the compensation plan for Morinda assumes a strong business growth model. You need to pay $35 to become an affiliate, and you have to sign up for a substantial monthly auto-ship to be eligible for most of the company’s bonuses.
In 2015, almost 60% of active affiliates didn’t earn any money—this doesn’t count the numerous inactive affiliates or sellers who left the program. These details are included on Morinda’s income statement, which highlights the earnings of top sellers prominently, but discloses the bad news at the bottom.
Worse, there aren’t substantial wholesale ordering discounts; most of the revenue you can generate comes only from commissions on the distributors below you. And this is contingent on moving a lot of product every month, even though there’s little incentive to do so in terms of direct profits.
Independent of the compensation plan, the science on noni juice is promising, but in the early stages. Depending on whether or not things take a turn for the better or for the worse when more research comes out, noni juice could be the next big thing in health and nutrition, or a complete dud.
This risky business plan might be worth a try if the compensation plan were better, but it’s not particularly attractive. The mostly recruitment-based compensation model is at odds with the inherently high risk associated with a niche market focus, especially on a product whose future is anything but certain.
So if you’re doing it for the money, just know there are much better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced juice to your family and friends.