Natural Food Merchandiser has always recognized the best and the brightest in the naturals industry and this year was no exception. But instead of the traditional Natural Legacy Award, NFM created a new award and for the first time, a sampling of the many who are showing new and innovative ways to take the industry into the future were honored with the first Industry Innovator Awards Thursday night at the 2009 Natural Products Expo East in Boston.NFM also recognized the best in organic with the Spirit of Organic Awards.
Jim Hoagland of Nuevo Latino Natural Foods received the Industry Innovator award for his product Tambobamba, a line of natural ethnic dishes geared toward the mainstream.
Michael Bylinkin of Hero Nutritionals was recognized with the Industry Innovator award for his company's adult gummy vitamins.
(L-R) Mattie Kahn, Judi Shils, Erin Schrode and Jennifer deVito of Teens Turning Green, a network of teen advocates that provide safe, natural beauty products to young people, won the Industry Innovator for their work in the youth market.
Pamela Giusto-Sorrells of Pamela's Products won the Industry Innovator award for being one of the pioneers of the gluten free movement with her gluten-free cookies.
Severine Von Tscharner Fleming was recognized with the Spirit of Organic award for her work as an activist farmer. Her nonprofit, Greenhorns, supports young farmers.
Jack Kittredge of Northeast Organic Farming Association received the Spirit of Organic award for his work with Natural Farmers Newspaper.
Nick Maravell of Nick's Organic Farm has been active in organic policy issues at the national and state level in Maryland.
Innovator winners not pictured are Brian Rohter of New Seasons Market in Portland, Ore., where his supermarket opened in a food-desert area, and Timothy Childs of Cabaret Chocolates, which are single-orgin, TCHO products.