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Articles from 2016 In January

CRN: Members must submit labels to ODS database

Council for Responsible Nutrition

The Council for Responsible Nutrition will require all members to submit their supplement product labels to the Dietary Supplement Label Database, the trade group has announced.

“This marks the start of a new era for our industry. Our members can no longer allow those companies skirting the laws to tarnish our reputation," said Steve Mister, president and chief executive officer of CRN. "This first step toward greater transparency for regulators and researchers is long overdue, and we strongly urge others in the industry to work with us on this and future initiatives that will ultimately build a stronger industry.”

The requirement applies to CRN member companies that are listed as the responsible party on the product label for all dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health created the Dietary Supplement Label Database in 2013 so that researchers, health care providers and consumers had one source to find the ingredients of thousands of dietary supplements.

The organization announced the requirement in mid-January, following overwhelming approval by CRN’s Board of Directors at its December meeting.

Although the Office of Dietary Supplements' database is public, consumers are not the intended audience. “But greater consumer accountability is the ultimate goal, and we will get there," Mister said. "Ours is a tale of two industries — companies that follow the law versus those who don’t — and we are starting today to create a clearer divide between those factions.”

Last year, CRN members formed a Product Transparency Working Group to address ways the association and the industry could better assist regulators in policing the industry and protecting the public. Using the working group's research to evaluate various options for establishing a more accurate registry of dietary supplements, the CRN Board selected the Dietary Supplement Label Database as the most appropriate place to start this project.

“The bottom line is, we need a central repository for all dietary supplement labels sold in this country, and the [Office of Dietary Supplements] label registry is already well-established and with a few tweaks could provide the kind of information that would be helpful for FDA," Mister said. "Given that ODS is currently re-evaluating its current contracted database administrator, it was also the right opportunity for us to make suggestions as to how to make the DSLD a more useful and comprehensive tool for regulators.”

CRN recently submitted to ODS a “wish list” of improvements that could strengthen the government’s database for regulators and also for researchers for whom the database was originally designed. For example, CRN would like to see increased allocated resources to allow expanded capacity and quicker processing; establish a process to update labels, denote products no longer on the market and respond to manufacturer-requested corrections to errors; develop a unique product identifier system that could better serve a variety of stakeholders, including consumers; and provide the FDA with confidential information that would allow it to more efficiently contact manufacturers and packagers.

Although CRN is the first association to mandate submission of product labels to a central database, Mister firmly believes it won’t be the only association. “We know that all the associations — and even those companies that are not yet members of an association — are having these kinds of discussions. It makes sense for us to combine our efforts.”

CRN intends to continue its ongoing dialogue with FDA, as well as pursuing additional registry solutions that could supplement the ODS DSLD by supplying confidential product information to FDA, if ODS is unable to make improvements that would result in a more robust database for regulators.

Food+City finalists square off Saturday in Austin, Texas

FoodCity Challenge

While football fans have their eyes on Sunday's Super Bowl, 24 food startups this week are preparing for the Food+City Challenge,  which focuses on identifying and encouraging startup businesses, products and processes to provide new solutions addressing food problems globally.

Since being named finalists in November — 115 entrepreneurs from around the world applied for the second annual contest, called the Food Challenge Prize last year — the competitors have been working with industry mentors on their business plans and prototypes.

The teams will participate in a public showcase and a fast-pitch contest on Saturday at the University of Texas at Austin. Prizes of up to $50,000 are available this year.

“This is a great lineup, and we’re excited to see this year’s participation expand well beyond the United States to include the United Kingdom, Israel, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Colombia,” said Robyn Metcalfe, director of Food+City. “A wide range of startups include urban vertical farming, commercial kitchen sharing, and curbside composting. We also saw an increase in food delivery services and waste reduction business models."

Finalists include:

47farms seeks to connect New Jersey's large food sellers and distributors with local growers and suppliers to reduce the distance that food travels between farms and consumers.

BENTO + PICNIC, a healthy local lunch from Austin, Texas’ chef-owned bento chop offering healthy, ready-to-eat lunches made from local, seasonal ingredients.

Crickers, made from cricket flour. This Austin, Texas-based startup wants to normalize the consumption of insects in the U.S. as a sustainable protein alternative.

Eat at Home, a startup led by a team of students at the University of Texas at Austin, is a marketplace, website and mobile app that connects people looking for homemade foods with people passionate for cooking.

The Food Corridor,  based in Fort Collins, Colorado, the first online marketplace for food entrepreneurs to find commercial kitchen space. Commercial kitchen owners can more effectively use their space and create additional revenue streams.

Garbage to Garden  of Portland, Maine, aims to combat chronic soil erosion by collecting organic compost, via a garbage and recycling collection service, from households, businesses and schools.

Go Fresh!, a startup founded by Texas A&M student McCalley Cunningham. It is focused on helping businesses and households decrease food waste.

Regrub, a Texas A&M student led team that is tackling the $161.6 billion problem of food waste in the U.S. The company has developed a waste management kit that uses solider flies to turn food waste into fertilizer.

Tastegraphy,  an Austin, Texas-based startup created an app, Tasty, that aggregates data on a person’s food likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions to recommend restaurant dishes at eateries they would most enjoy.

A complete list of finalists can be found here.

[email protected]: What consumers wish 'natural' labels meant | A proposed new look for nutrition facts

Consumer Reports: Two-thirds of consumers misled by natural labels

Womp womp womp. Nearly half of more than 1,000 U.S. adults polled by Consumer Reports in December though natural labels on food were independently verified. More than 80 percent of consumers said foods labeled with the word natural should contain no chemicals, no artificial colors, no pesticides and no genetically modified ingredients. Read more at The Hill...


Food labels revamped

Take a look at how the new nutrition label proposed by the FDA stacks up to the current one design-wise. (For starters, vitamin D and potassium are added to the label, while vitamins A and C are removed).  Read more at The Dieline...

Aldi's organic plan is great for consumers, dangerous for competition

The grocer, know for its low prices, is expanding its fresh and natural offerings, removing junk food from the checkout aisles and taking synthetic colors out of its private label products. In this already competitive space, Aldi could come in as a price leader. Read more at Forbes...


Upper Midwest farmers transitioning to organic can get aid

Minnesota and North Dakota both have programs in place that assist farmers with the three-year transition to organic production. Meanwhile, the Organic Trade Association pushes for a government-administered certification program for farmers in transition. Read more at The Big Story...


Scotland launches new organic action plan

"Organic Ambitions" lays out Scotland's plan to increase its organic farmland and sales of organic produce. Read more at the Soil Association...

Five for drinking

Natural functional ingredients in drinks are trending, according to, in an article that looks at the top five.

Plant-based proteins are hot, reports the beverage industry news source, noting WhiteWave’s $550 million purchase of Vega. They point out whey, but also note rice, pea, oat and algae as growing in popularity and call out grass-fed milk protein for being “as clean label as it comes for stuff that comes from animals.”

With cannabis extracts fast becoming a highly relevant market, we’re heading for a “drinkables revolution.” Companies “that find the right way to blend it into a tasty, memorable drink will go a long way toward making new brands soar,” – as long as they get the labeling right.

As the medical community’s discussion of inflammation response swells, turmeric moves to the mainstream in beverages, “getting dumped in everything from HPP juices to OJ.”

Rich, monounsaturated fats like avocado and coconut cream are appearing in drinks more and more.

Why? The increasing popularity of meat-based bars, studies that show that fat can burn quicker for athletic performance, and their ability to boost the nutritional complexity of beverages that substitute for meals.

Lastly, calls out mushrooms like reishi mushrooms and chaga mushrooms for their influence on the immune system.

Natural product company news of the week

Rudi's Organic Bakery brand just announced the launch of Rudi's Organic Bakery Kids Bread. Made with a short list of simple, organic ingredients you might find in your kitchen, it comes in white and wheat varieties, and has small, thin slices, making it the ideal size for kids.

New from PepsiCo's Quaker Oats is a line of gluten-free oats, available in three varieties: Quaker Quick 1-Minute Standard Oats and Quaker Instant Oatmeal in both Original and Maple & Brown Sugar flavors.

Carlson Labs introduced the reformulated Mother’s DHA product with 5 times more DHA.

EcoFish announced its successful certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council for chain of custody. Chain of Custody certification assures that ASC certified seafood delivered to supply chain actors originates from a farm certified by ASC. This allows buyers to make credible claims of the responsibly farmed origin of their seafood to their customers.

Functional ingredients manufacturer Beneo introduced its new ISOMALT translucent gum coating technology that enables gum manufacturers to create attractive products that deliver translucence and shine, while also maintaining stability throughout product shelf life.

For the second time, vegan-certified Dr. Ohhira's Essential Living Oils were awarded with a "Clean Choice Award" by Clean Eating Magazine.

Silver Star Brands, maker of the JuniorSlim dietary supplement, marketed as a weight-loss aid for children, said in response to a National Advertising Division inquiry that it intended to discontinue the product.

Submit your company news to [email protected]

Natural product movers & shakers - January 2016

Natural product movers & shakers - January 2016

Four staff members were promoted at the Council for Responsible Nutrition: Rend Al-Mondhiry to associate general counsel; Sandra Khouri to vice president, finance & administration; Carl Hyland to senior director, membership development; and Haiuyen Nguyen to director, scientific & regulatory affairs.

Michael Murray, ND, was honored with two prestigious awards: the Benedict Lust Award from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Mission Award from Bastyr University.

Catharine Arnston, founder and CEO of ENERGYbits Inc. was selected as one of the winners of Entrepreneur magazine's Project Grow Challenge. ENERGYbits is a Boston sports nutrition company that sells algae tablets to athletes and health conscious consumers who want increased energy from a source that is natural, healthy and caffeine-free.

Applegate, the nation's leading natural and organic meat brand, announced that Chief Executive Officer Kerry Collins will transition to the role of CEO emeritus, and Chief Operating Officer Steven J. Lykken will assume the position of president. Applegate Farms LLC is a stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corporation.

As functional ingredients leader AIDP begins its 20th year in business, the company proudly announces that Mark Thurston has joined as president. The company’s founder and current president, Edward Lee, is promoted to chief executive officer. Thurston most recently served as vice president global business development at Innophos Inc.

The Vitamin Shoppe has made a number of enhancements to its board of directors. David Edwab, who served as lead director since April 2011, has stepped down from that role and John Bowlin, who became a member of the Vitamin Shoppe board in October 2014, will now serve as lead director. Separately, the board intends to add two new independent directors over the next 60 to 90 days. Richard Markee, who has served as the company's executive chairman since March 2011, elected not to renew his employment agreement upon its scheduled expiration and will become non-executive chairman of the board.

At fermented amino acids and branded ingredients maker Kyowa Hakko USA, Leo R. Cullen, former executive vice president, has been promoted to president and CEO. D. Christopher Nolte, former director of nutritional sales, has been promoted to vice president of nutritional sales.

Nature’s Power Nutraceuticals, a leading manufacturer and bulk supplier of premium grade botanical ingredients for functional foods, beverages and dietary supplements, is announced the promotion of Eric Guggenheim to director of sales. Eric joined NP Nutra in 2011 as a quality assurance technician, developing the company solubility rating system and testing the quality/consistency of ingredients.

Jayasinh V. Mariwala, chairman, OmniActive Health Technologies, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions in innovating and growing the spice industry at the International Spice Conference on January 21st in Goa, India. 

Capsugel on clean label, consumer demand and good stewardship

There's a revolution going on in the supplements aisle today. Driven by consumer demand for clean label—vegetarian capsules, non-GMO ingredients, transparent practices—supplements formulators are delivering what consumers want. Missy Lowery, senior manager of marketing, Americas, Capsugel, lets us in on the minds of the global market leader.


Don't go to Natural Products Expo West without these notes in your pocket

Don't go to Natural Products Expo West without these notes in your pocket

In just a few short weeks, Natural Products Expo West will take place in Anaheim, California. For the natural products industry, this event, technically a trade show, is so much more than just a trade show. It is an annual homecoming event; it is a time of networking and socializing; it is when new products are released and new packaging is unveiled; it where new brands hope to start their journey to success. It is, without a doubt, the central most important event in the natural products industry each year.

If you are attending this show on your own, or as a part of a team from your store, it can be overwhelming. There is simply so much to see and to do that the show can swallow you up, give you a great time, and send you back home feeling excited and energized. But you may lose out on the lasting benefits of Expo West if you don't have a strategic plan for your attendance.

The first thing to consider in advance of the show is where your store is lacking?

First of all, at every show that you attend, and specifically at an event the size of Natural Products Expo West, I would plan to see what you can find to expand your private label offerings. Private label should be a part of your strategic plans, and opportunities abound to check out new options. Of course, be sure that you are working with a quality-focused vendor who is able to provide you with good service, not just a good price. After all, your name will be the one on the package.

Research categories and trends

What departments or sub-departments of your merchandise mix need attention? Where are you not realizing the sales that you should? Are you seeing areas where your competition has a better set than you do? Is there a lot of marketplace buzz about things that you are not even carrying? (For reference, use the last Market Overview by Natural Foods Merchandiser. It will tell you what other stores are seeing in terms of department sales and sales of items in key categories.) 

Make Expo West list

After you make a list of the categories that you want to make changes to during the show, you can run searches within the Expo West Exhibitor List using the Advanced Search. This lets you type in keywords. For example, I typed in “aloe” and got back a list of 29 exhibitors who listed that word in their profile. I then can look at each one of them to see if they sell aloe as a supplement, use it as an ingredient in some of their products or something else. This would allow me to plan which booths I need to visit in order to bring my aloe set up to its potential.

Communicate in advance

There is also a great feature on the Expo West website that allows you to send the exhibitor an email. You can verify if they have the product(s) that you are looking for, request an appointment with them at the show or just learn a bit more about them in advance.

You can follow an abridged version of these steps if you know brand(s) that you want to see at the show.

In your advance communication with exhibitors be sure that you are very specific about your reasons for the meeting. If you want to see new products, discuss sales, talk about staff education, plan promotions, etc., let them know that in advance so that they can prepare.

Go learn a lot

Of course, Expo West has more than just brands and products to explore—as important and abundant as those opportunities are! You can check out fixtures, POS (point of sale) systems, marketing services and tools, and more. There is a great and relevant set of seminars and workshops to attend and enjoy.

Spend time now on and download the mobile app so that you can find the offerings that are most important to you and your store. The investment that you make in the show can pay rich dividends for your store.

Cargill researchers find essential oils key to reducing antibiotics in poultry

cargill poultry

To improve gut health in poultry — and consequently promote food efficiency and bird health — Cargill has researched for several years the use of non-medicated feed additives as an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters.

The company announced Thursday that its cross-additive research determined that essential oils are the most beneficial feed additives because they affect four key gut functions: managing microflora for a well-balanced bacterial population; controlling immune function and inflammatory response; maximizing nutrient digestion and absorption; and improving the physical barrier against pathogens.

Since 2009, researchers have conducted a total of 77 comprehensive in vitro and in vivo trials at Cargill's Animal Nutrition Innovation Centers in Velddriel, the Netherlands, and Elk River, Minn., as well as at regional facilities in Jordan, France, Poland, India and the U.S.

Essential oils, probiotics, yeast derivatives and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) were all investigated. While all additives studied showed some benefit to the gut functions, Cargill researchers found that selected essential oil compounds, particularly those derived from thyme, cinnamon and oregano, had the most comprehensive effect on overall gut health. Benefits included:

  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Modulation of immune response
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Improvement of nutrient digestibility
  • Stimulation of mucus production

"Only essential oils have both a broad spectrum of activity against pathogens and a direct impact on digestive function," said Stephanie Ladirat, global technology lead for gut health additives in Cargill's animal nutrition business.

Essential oils role in antibiotic reduction

In addition, essential oils were found to be particular efficient when intestinal infections such as salmonellosis and coccidiosis were present. They were also found to be a viable alternative to antibiotics as more than 85 percent of the results showed a minimal difference between the positive control (antibiotics) and essential oils.

The research also showed that essential oils are just one facet of a feeding program that promotes ideal gut health and allows antibiotic reduction. Research findings support combining essential oils with organic acids to get maximum efficacy.

"Cargill's local nutrition experts are working directly with poultry producers to develop customized, holistic feeding programs encompassing nutrition, additives and farm management based on the study results," said Twan Van Gerwe, poultry R&D director in Cargill's animal nutrition business. Combined study results from 12 trials demonstrated that birds given Cargill's Promote Biacid Nucleus additive — which contains a proprietary mixture of seven carefully selected essential oil compounds, in combination with an antibiotic-free diet — consistently improves body weight gain by 2 percent and feed conversion by 1.5 percent, producing a return on investment (ROI) of 5:1 for producers.

Long-term benefits of healthy digestion in poultry

For poultry producers the high return on investment is a top benefit of intestinal health support. However, promoting gut health also helps address issues in food safety and animal welfare.  Healthy poultry intestines may result in a lower risk of bacterial food contamination and in healthier barn environments.

Finally, feed efficiency has become increasingly important due to the growing world population and limitations in feed resources. Supporting gut heath contributes to efforts to meet increasing demand for global animal protein in an efficient way.

"Promoting gut health while reducing AGPs is critical for sustainable animal performance and profitability," Van Gerwe said. "Our R&D work in improving poultry gut health is an important part of Cargill's commitment to nourishing the world's population."

[email protected]: The complicated path to cage-free eggs for all | Which country is second to U.S. in organic food sales?

5@5: The complicated path to cage-free eggs for all | Which country is second to U.S. in organic food sales?

The insanely complicated logistics of cage-free eggs for all

Consumer demand has driven some three dozen large food companies and restaurants to transition to cage-free eggs in the next 10 years. Although some good food advocates say going cage-free isn't enough, others say progress is progress. Regardless, this supply chain overhaul will require more labor, more money and less control for producers. Read more at Wired...


Germany and US 'largest markets for organic food'—USDA report

About four percent of food purchased in Germany is organic, and that accounts for nearly one-third of all organic food sales in Europe. Production, however, has not been able to keep pace, and the country relies heavily on imports. Read more at Food Bev Media...

This vegan restaurant is feeding a low-income food desert

Ten miles south of LA, in a low-income area where many people grocery shop at convenience stores and eat dinner at fast food restaurants, Stuff I Eat is serving up plant-based dishes. Read more at Munchies...


How in the world did astronauts grow lettuce in space?

With a "plant pillow," apparently. A new blog post and video from NASA shows how astronauts are growing food in a weightless environment. Read more at Modern Farmer...


Houses near Whole Foods cost more than average home

Zillow's new research revealed that homes within a mile of a Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe's store were worth nearly twice as the median U.S. home price. Read more at Marketplace...