Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Products Industry Beat

Coke bubbles with interest in Honest Tea

Coca-Cola may be about to drink up yet another healthy beverage. Several published reports indicated that, at press time, the soft drink behemoth was interested in investing an undisclosed sum in Honest Tea. Bethesda, Md.-based Honest Tea produces organic teas, ades and kids' drinks with little to no sugar. In recent years, Coke has boosted its portfolio of noncarbonated, healthier- profile drinks. Last year, it purchased Glac?au, manufacturer of Vitaminwater and Smartwater products, and Fuze, which makes functional juices and teas.

Honest Tea secured $12 million in equity financing last year, with Stonyfield Farm, Inventages Venture Capital Investment and several beverage distributors as the financiers. In a January 2007 interview, an official at Inventages told the Washington Business Journal that Honest Tea anticipated sales of $100 million within three to five years. In 2006, the company posted $13.5 million in annual sales.

OTA launches new educational institute

The Organic Trade Association last month announced the establishment of the Organic Agriculture and Products Education Institute. The program's mission is to educate farmers, processors, consumers, students and academics about the attributes and benefits of organic agriculture and products. The institute also seeks to "enhance the amount of farmland under organic management and the integrity of the organic supply chain," said Caren Wilcox, executive director of Greenfield, Mass.-based OTA. Initial funding was provided by Bruce and Alissa Nierenberg. Bruce Nierenberg is president of B.I.N. Sales & Marketing. For more information about OAPEI, or to make a donation, contact [email protected]

Food Safety, Veterinary centers have new directors

Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., was named director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in January. His previous post was director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., the deputy director of CVM, assumed the directorship of CVM. Sundlof served as the director of CVM for more than a decade, and was instrumental in putting in place an animal-feed program to prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy?also called mad-cow disease?from entering the U.S. feed system. Dunham has worked with Sundlof in her role as deputy director of CVM since 2006. She has played a critical role in coordinating and establishing center policy in research, management, scientific evaluation, compliance and surveillance.—M.T.S.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 2/p. 9

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