Let’s kick off 2014 on a high note. Please join NBJ in applauding our latest cohort of award winners, listed in the table stage right. We think that each of these individuals and companies is up to something special in advancing the cause of this industry we all call home.
As in year’s past, NBJ accepted open nominations at the tail end of 2013, vetted the more than 300 ideas that came our way, then went to our advisory board to narrow down to the winners. This is a process of careful consideration for us, which makes us all the more proud to announce the results and highlight the efforts you will read about throughout the issue that follows. Congratulations to everyone recognized herein. Keep it up.
2014 looks to be a year of high stakes for this industry. The debate over labeling GMOs rages on, and the call to define “natural” has taken on new urgency in light of recent lawsuits and language proffered by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to FDA. Self-directed consumer genomics hit a major road bump with the public chastisement of 23andMe, and still we quantify ourselves and our health to increasing degrees of specificity. Mainstream media and science seem to spurn supplements at new levels of vitriol, even as crowdsourced science works to chart our personal diets, our microbiomes, and the various channels by which supplementation might reach higher levels of efficacy.
There’s something quite promising for the supplements industry in the personalization of medicine. Imagine an industry less about filling micronutrient gaps—a sour proposition from the start, as any marketer will tell you—and more about optimizing nutrition in the individual that dials down the triggers to specific pre-disease states surfaced by our genomes and biomarkers. Wouldn’t that change the conversation on the nightly news and in the newspapers? Wouldn’t that change the premise of this industry forever?
From our perch, it looks a bit wild out there right now, and the systemic challenges facing us as a culture—from climate change and mass urbanization to diabesity and declining life expectancies—continue to strike a nerve of civic disquiet that’s beginning to feel largely engrained in a generation of Millennials averse to marketing and the promise of big business. On point, our industry continues to prove the value of localized, clean sourcing, and the capacity for quiet little food brands to attract significant capital from investors. It’s almost as if even big business is ready for more rapid, dramatic change in the fabrics by which we live and work, and it’s looking to us for help.
Here at NBJ, we’re excited to watch this future develop, fight the fights that need fighting to advance the possibilities of health & wellness for every one of us, and to now share a few stories with you of our allies on this front. Best of luck in 2014.