BOULDER, Colo. – While 2009 proved to be a difficult year for business, 33 companies and individuals in the nutrition industry made significant strides that were honored by Nutrition Business Journal’s annual Business Achievement Awards.
“This year’s winners represent companies and executives who bucked the downward trend last year and proved that good things can be born amidst adversity,” said Carlotta Mast, editor of Nutrition Business Journal, one of the leading research, strategic and industry issue-focused publications for executives and decision-makers in the natural, nutrition, complementary and alternative health fields.
Recipients honored for their efforts on behalf of the nutrition industry include: Anthony Almada, founder of Experimental and Applied Sciences Inc., for his 25-plus-year career of advocating science before sales with supplements; the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) for working with U.S. regulators to ensure the safety of animal supplements and to keep these products on the market; and the International Alliance of Dietary Supplement Associations (IADSA) for bringing together supplement associations worldwide and influencing regulations to support the $77 billion global dietary supplement market.
Despite a challenging year for sales, five companies overcame that hurdle and were honored for growth, including Zevia, Azantis, Annie’s Inc., Living Essentials (5-Hour Energy) and Europa Sports Products.
Cardiokinase by Pure Prescriptions and Soléo Organics by Skin Elements USA both received product merit honors, while Fast-C by Scientific Food Solutions and USANA Health Sciences received awards for scientific achievement.
Ten companies were recognized for being involved with the most pivotal nutrition industry deals of 2009. The deals were: Alticor’s partnership with Metagenics; Atrium Innovations’ acquisition of Garden of Life for $35 million; Vitamin Shoppe’s favorable initial public offering (IPO), the first by a retailer in nearly two years; GF Capital Private Equity Fund’s purchase of Airborne Inc.; Mead Johnson Nutritionals’ IPO for $720 million during one of the worst stages of the global recession; Coca-Cola Co.’s minority stake of $15 million in coconut beverage company Zico Beverages and PepsiCo.’s acquisition of Brazil’s largest coconut water company, Amacoco; Nestle Waters North America’s $16.5 million investment in Sweet Leaf Tea Co.; Herbalife’s purchase of Micelle Laboratories; the $54 million acquisition of Natraceutical Group’s ingredient division by botanical extract supplier Naturex; and Vitacost.com’s September 2009 IPO of its common stock at $12 per share, raising $132 million.
Acknowledged for their positive stock performance and growth on the heels of the economic downturn were stock performance leader NBTY, which grew its share price 178 percent in 2009; Whole Foods Market, which recouped much of its 2008 stock losses last year; and Nu Skin Enterprises, which used its new patented ageLOC technology to help increase its profile on Wall Street.
Fortitech Inc., a large multinational company, received an award for its management performance and for giving back to employees, the industry and community. The company helped launch the World Initiative for Nutrition program to help solve global malnutrition through tailored nutritional food fortification.
Investment in the Future Award went to NOW Foods for its expansion of four new technologically advanced, in-house laboratories allowing for real-time capabilities. The expansion increases the company’s research and development capabilities, improves its manufacturing processes, and supports its green building initiatives.
Two companies were recognized by NBJ for their environmental and sustainability impact. Lotus Foods was honored for leading the way in SRI, or System of Rice Intensification, allowing disadvantaged farmers to double or triple rice yields and raise their product’s market value by producing a higher-quality and more nutritious rice. Also honored was United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), one of the industry’s largest distributors, for staying committed to its environmental roots upon which founder Michael Funk built the company. UNFI continues to launch ambitious green initiatives, such as participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Smart Way Transport Partnership” to eliminate tons of CO2 emissions; erecting solar panels atop its California distribution center where it has also earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council; and launching a Non-GMO (genetically modified organism) project aimed to standardize testing of ingredients for GMOs and provide unified labeling for GMO-free products.
Receiving an award for education was Pharmvite, owner of SOYJOY, for its proactive campaign to educate nutrition, healthcare and dietician media influencers about the benefits of soy foods. This campaign quickly dispelled an onslaught of negative press on soy in the summer of 2009. Also receiving an award for education initiatives was the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association that educates consumers, media, health practitioners, researchers and lawmakers about the dietary supplement industry. Key CRN initiatives recognized by NBJ included meeting face to face with journalists who published inaccurate stories about the industry or safety of supplements and educating researchers about how supplements should be studied.
Two individual awards honored two women in the industry. Michelle Goolsby, former executive vice president of development, sustainability and corporate affairs for Dean Foods, was honored for her philanthropic leadership with two major industry not-for-profits, The Organic Center and Vitamin Angels. Also Kathleen Merrigan, credited with crafting the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, was given an NBJ Organic Excellence Award for her ongoing advocacy and prestigious appointment as deputy secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Mast and NBJ Publisher Patrick Rea will publicly honor all award recipients at the NBJ Summit, set for July 20-23 in Dana Point, Calif. At the awards dinner they will also reveal the recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Former NBJ Lifetime Achievement Award winners include: Loren Israelsen, executive director of the United Natural Products Alliance; Steve Yamada, founder and CEO of Maypro Group; Michael Leiner, founder of Leiner Health Products; and John Carlson, president of Carlson Laboratories. For more information about the NBJ Summit visit www.nbjsummit.com.
Nutrition Business Journal’s exclusive research and editorial focus on the strategic issues of the nutrition industry has made it a leading business intelligence resource for subscribers since 1996. To purchase detailed market research reports, subscribe to the NBJ, or sign up for the NBJ's free weekly e-newsletter, please visit www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com. New Hope Natural Media (www.newhope.com), a division of the Penton Media Inc., is the leading media resource and information provider for the natural, organic and healthy products industry with print, in-person/event, and e-business products and services. Penton Media Inc. is the largest independent business-to-business media company in the United States, serving more than 6 million business professionals every month. The company’s market-leading brands are focused on 30 industries and include 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites, 150 industry trade shows and conferences and more than 500 information data products. Headquartered in New York City, the privately held company is owned by MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP, and its co-investors. For additional information on the company and its businesses, visit www.penton.com. For more information on NBJ contact: Chris Lasonde, 303-998-9221 or [email protected].