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Articles from 2020 In January


NBJ

The Analyst’s Take: Supplement sales in China surpass $20B in 2019

Claire Morton

While the U.S. GDP is just 53% larger than China’s, the U.S. supplement market is 126% bigger. It seems obvious, then, that the world’s most population-dense country offers a tremendous runway for growth. Nutrition Business Journal noted this as one of the "Top thoughts on the Chinese market" in its recent Global Supplement Business Report, and its projections for the country are driven by this potential.

A particularly strong prospect for sports nutrition has been reported for the last few years, and NBJ’s 2019 estimates indicate continued success for the category. Sports, meal, homeopathic and specialty supplements represent just 19% of China’s market but have the strongest growth in the market at nearly 13%. On the other hand, growth for herbs and botanicals, which have the largest market share in China, has dropped from 10.9% to 6.4% as interest shifts to sports nutrition and specialty supplements.

Across all categories, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for global supplement sales from 2019 to 2022 is 5.8%, but the CAGR for China’s supplement market is notably higher at 7.5%. This projection is slightly lower than the country’s peak sales growth of 11.7% in 2012, but still significant in what is now a $20 billion industry.

 

 

Amazon’s next grocery moves will be data-driven

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“It’s not lost on Amazon that more than 90% of all groceries are still bought in-store,” Brick Meets Click said in its "What's Next for Amazon in Grocery?" report.

Amazon’s data prowess and customer knowledge will drive its growth in retail grocery and make it an ongoing threat to brick-and-mortar food retailers, according to a new analysis from Brick Meets Click.

So far, Amazon has established a “strong beachhead in grocery” but gained only a fraction of the overall market by capturing “the low-hanging fruit,” Brick Meets Click said in its “Guidance for 2020: What’s Next for Amazon in Grocery?” report, released yesterday. The Barrington, Illinois-based strategic advisory firm noted, however, that Amazon has set its sights on becoming the main source of groceries for a higher number of affluent U.S. households.

“We anticipate that Amazon will focus on three areas to help strengthen its grocery business over the next year or two,” Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click, said in a statement.

Those strategies, he said, include aggressive customer acquisition by leveraging the Prime customer benefits program to spur more upscale consumer purchases; strategically located physical retail outlets to better meet customers’ store-based grocery needs; and an optimized product mix that blends strong private labels and profitable advertised brands.

“To get to its ultimate win in grocery, Amazon is going to have to go after the business the big players currently own, and this means leveraging its digital connections in a physical store network,” Brick Meets Click said in the report. “Winning in grocery is essential to Amazon because it provides the coverage and purchase frequency Amazon needs to achieve its end game: the build-out of dense delivery and service networks that will allow it to dominate a broad set of verticals in the B2C market.”

Data from Prime will be a big plus in helping Amazon target the best grocery customers and potential store sites.

Amazon upped the ante in grocery this past fall when it folded AmazonFresh into Prime, eliminating the extra fee and essentially making online grocery delivery free for member orders of $35 or more. That move bolstered the already formidable Prime offering and further enhanced Amazon’s ability to know customers in detail, according to Brick Meets Click.

The consulting firm added that Prime Now, Amazon’s same-day grocery delivery service (including from Whole Foods Market stores), has won kudos from users as an “ultra-fast grocery delivery option.”

“The richer data set that Amazon is able to develop as a result of leveraging Prime to accelerate its appeal among high-value, affluent households is powerful,” the report said. “It will enable Amazon to do in grocery what it’s done in other parts of its business: identify offers and services that provide greater value for each household.”

Not only will Amazon’s rich data enable it to target the best shoppers, but that intelligence also will help steer the company towards strong locations for brick-and-mortar stores. The acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 gave Amazon a good start with an attractive customer base. Yet Brick Meets Click observed that Prime hasn’t swayed many members to become shoppers at Whole Foods, whose U.S. footprint is less than 500 stores.

Likewise, the Amazon Go cashierless stores have garnered much attention as well as plaudits from shoppers in major U.S. markets, though at 25 locations their reach is limited.

“It’s not lost on Amazon that more than 90% of all groceries are still bought in-store,” the study stated. “To grow its grocery business beyond the current share/level, we can expect Amazon to make an aggressive move into physical locations concentrated where they have existing customers.”

Industry buzz has continued about reported plans by Seattle-based Amazon to launch a supermarket chain separate from Whole Foods. Most recently, published reports have centered on Amazon opening a grocery store this year in Woodland Hills, Calif., and possibly in the broader Los Angeles area. Earlier accounts have said Amazon was mulling acquisitions of small grocery chains and looking at potential supermarket openings in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The cashierless, high-tech Amazon Go outlets may provide a glimpse of what a new Amazon grocery store might look like.

Brick Meets Click noted that Amazon will hold a “big advantage” in site selection.

“Armed with its expanding base of household grocery purchase data, Amazon will be able to be smarter about identifying trade areas where there are enough active and potential grocery customers to ensure that each store will be profitable in a shorter time frame,” according to the report. “This reduced risk of underperforming stores will give Amazon a big cost advantage over brick-and-mortar competition, which will likely be evaluating store locations using the traditional metrics. And it will realize this benefit even before using performance data to tailor product assortments to reduce out-of-stocks and increase inventory turns after its stores open.”

On the products side, Amazon is cultivating an assortment of national brands to which it sells advertising and provides efficient fulfillment. “This means Amazon can sell CPG products without having to subsidize any of those products to drive sales,” Brick Meets Click explained. The e-tail giant also is boosting customer loyalty and gross profit dollars with a burgeoning portfolio of “high-quality, well-differentiated” private labels. In addition, the company avoids unintended loss leaders by staying atop a product’s handling cost versus its sales and gross profit.”

“With this mix, Amazon will be able to deliver greater value to customers while generating above-average profits,” the study said.

Though some analysts say Amazon has struggled in grocery when up against stronger supermarket competition, Bishop emphasized that it’s wise for traditional food retailers to keep an eye on this disruptive company.

“Today’s grocers are clearly in a race with Amazon to keep up with rising customer expectations, and the best way to compete is to know what’s next for Amazon,” he said. “This paper offers a framework for understanding the competitive threats posed by Amazon along with guidance on how to respond both in the short and long term.”

Supermarket News logoThis piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.

Upcycled Food Association launches with growing membership, plans for 2020

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After a recent launch last October at the ReFED Food Waste Summit, the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), has grown to more than 35 Members and Associate Members, with plans to create an upcycled food certification this year.

60% of consumers are looking to buy more products with upcycled ingredients, because 95% of them think it's important to do their part to reduce food waste, according to leading product development company, and UFA Associate Member, MATTSON. UFA was founded by upcycled food companies to reduce food waste by systematically supporting upcycled food businesses, who use otherwise wasted food to make new high quality food products.

Working with government, academic, industry, and nonprofit partners, the UFA has started research to formally define "upcycled food" by April 2020. Using this definition, the UFA aims to launch an upcycled certification program in October 2020, helping consumers identify upcycled foods in the grocery store, so they can opt for the more sustainable choice. UFA is also tackling some research and policy initiatives, and working to develop infrastructure to grow the upcycled food economy, which is worth more than $46 billion now, and expected to grow to more than $70 billion in the next decade.

Food waste movement leader Turner Wyatt has been hired as CEO of UFA. “Reducing food waste is the third most important thing we can do to help the environment, and it also happens to be great business,” said Wyatt, adding that “upcycled food will soon be a ubiquitous part of a more sustainable, abundant food system. We’re building a food system in which all food goes to its highest and best use.”

UFA is actively recruiting Members and Associate Members, who had the following to say about the formation of UFA:

Food upcycling is important because food waste from manufacturing represents approximately $500 billion dollar per year. NETZRO is committed to taking this value and feeding 800 million people instead. This is a big goal which we can not do alone. The Upcycling Food Association is crucial to NETZRO to bring together other food upcycling companies along with resources to share. Together we can educate food companies as well as consumers to make a difference together.” - Sue Marshall, CEO, NETZRO

“At Griffith Foods, we’re unrelenting in our drive to form relationships that bring the right expertise to help us deliver on our Purpose. Through our strategic partnership with the Upcycled Food Association, we can help scale the edible upcycling revolution and continue to create innovative and sustainable solutions to nourish the world.” - Jim Thorne, Senior Vice President Global Strategy and Marketing at Griffith Foods

"We are thrilled to be founding members of the Upcycled Food Association. For the last 7 years we have focused on making a dent in the number of bananas wasted each year. The somber reality is 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually, enough to feed the entire population of India and China.  The enormity of food waste is bigger than any one brand and the Upcycled Food Association will help channel our collective efforts to make lasting change" - Matt Cliford, Co-Founder, Barnana

“We’re aiming to make ‘upcycled’ as universally understood as ‘organic,’ and know that we need to band together to do it. As the climate crisis accelerates, upcycling is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Renewal Mill is honored to be helping spearhead this initiative.” - Caroline Cotto, Renewal Mill COO & UFA Board President

“At the Drexel Food Lab In Drexel University’s Department of Food and Hospitality Management, we have been focused on helping manufacturers realize the potential of upcycling for profit, environmental benefit, nutrition, and deliciousness. We’ve been providing ideas, research, and technical assistance to companies ranging from student start-ups through multinationals. It’s gratifying to see the industry embrace this potential. With the UFA’s work, upcycling won’t be a quirky story but will be as enthusiastically received as other better-for-you/better-for-planet foods are in the marketplace.” - Jon Deutsch, Dexel University Professor and UFA Co-Founder

“We see food waste as the number one issue in our industry. It is an issue without a single cause or single solution. There are a lot of like minded companies coming at this problem from innovative angles. Coming together, we can learn from each other, lean on each other and, thoughtful collaboration, lead the industry to a more sustainable future. That’s why the UpCycled Food Association made sense for us, that’s why we are proud to be a founding member.” - Mike Orachewsky, CEO, TBJ Gourmet

"As Food Upcyclers, we look at what is left behind when making our favorite foods and see opportunity. Our mission is rescue overlooked, but awesome ingredients and put them back to work—fueling your day, your taste buds, and your imagination—ultimately helping to create a food system that does more with less." - Dan Kurzrock, CEO, ReGrained & UFA Board Member

5@5: Virginia law restricts use of 'milk' by plant-based alternatives | Monsanto, BASF were prepared for dicamba disaster

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Dairy lobby fights back with a new definition of the word 'milk'

Virginia has banned plant-based dairy alternatives from using the word "milk" on labeling or to market their products. The legislature defines real milk exclusively as "the lacteal secretion of a healthy, hooved mammal."  Read more at The Guardian

Dicamba on trial: Internal docs show Monsanto, BASF prepared for drift complaints prior to dicamba launch

A civil trial is going on regarding Monsanto and BASF's preparation for complaints about its controversial weedkiller, dicamba, before it even reached shelves. The two German agribusiness companies are being blamed for damaging millions of acres of crops through the drfting of the insecticide in an effort to increase profits from dicamba-related products that were released in 2015. Read more at The Counter

For alternative meat manufacturer Beyond Meat, fast food chains giveth and taketh away

Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons is pulling Beyond Meat from its stores and Burger King's Impossible Whopper has slowed in terms of sales. Does this mean consumers are over the novelty of realistic meat replacements in fast food? Not necessarily. However, scaling is still an issue for both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Read more at Tech Crunch

How we learned to love umami

How do plant-based meat makers produce savory alternatives that hit the spot like the real deal? A large part of the answer lies in formulating flavors that prioritize umami. Cooking techniques such as high-heat roasting and grilling can also procure the savory sensation. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

The US relaxed its meat safety rules at exactly the wrong time

Dangerous meat recalls are on the rise, with the Class I variety increasing by some 85% since 2013. However, the Trump administration continues to deregulate aspects of the food safety apparatus, such as allowing slaughter facilities to increase line speeds. Read more at Quartz

Natural Products Expo

10 reasons why your emerging brand can’t miss Natural Products Business School at Expo West 2020

Expo West Natural Products Business School Entrepreneurs

If you're an early stage brand headed to Natural Products Expo West, Natural Products Business School (NPBS) is the spot to be before the show floor opens. This full day of education and networking is jam-packed with inspiring conversations, expert-led educational sessions and opportunities to connect with fellow entrepreneurs.

You don't have to walk the entrepreneur journey alone; the Natural Products Business School community is here to help you grow your brand in a smart, sustainable way. Here's why you should join us on March 3, 2020.

1. Learn how your brand can dominate on Amazon

As the founder and CEO of Nutpods, Madeline Haydon knows a thing or two about growing an emerging brand—and very intentionally, at that. In just four years, Haydon grew Nutpods to be a leading dairy-free coffee creamer on Amazon, raked in over 6,000 product reviews on the platform and recently won the 2019 Amazon Small Business of the Year Award. Haydon's opening keynote at NPBS is a must-attend; she'll reveal how Nutpods became an Amazon category leader and how your brand could, too.

2. It's not just educationit's a game-changer

Emcees Denver Lewis, conference manager at New Hope Network, and Jane Miller, CEO of Lily's Sweets, are your anchors for the day, taking you from session to session with their energizing conversations and thoughtful commentary. Join these familiar faces from 7:30 a.m. through 4 p.m. for a day packed with unparalleled education and connection with hundreds of industry peers.

3. Feel inspired by your new entrepreneur community

NPBS is purpose-built for emerging brands, so you can expect most attendees to be in your same entrepreneurial boat. Starting and growing a natural products brand is a massive undertaking and can, at times, be isolating and uncertain. But at NPBS, you'll have the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs who deeply understand what you're going through. You'll be able to problem-solve together and discuss takeaways from expert sessions. Our intention is for you to leave feeling connected, inspired and ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

4. Understand how to scale your brand the smart way

Elliot Begoun of TIG has been working with natural product brands for years and deeply understands the retail and distributor landscapes. In the session Scaling Smart: Getting Your Products into The Hands (And Hearts) of Consumers, Begoun will lead a discussion with brands and distributors (including Brazi Bites, KeHE and Pod Foods) around the strategies of streamlined distribution and strategic route to market. Learn straight from the sources how to get your brand out into the world, in big ways.

5. Learn how to leverage the power of community and strong teams

In a special session moderated by Jane Miller, Don't Go Alone: Enoughness, Self-Care and the Power of Strong Teams, we're covering the mental health aspect of building your business. Joined by Vincent Kitteratrigarn of Dang Foods and other natural product brand leaders, Miller will lead you through the importance of community, connection and taking care of yourself as you forge forward on the exhilarating, yet often isolating, entrepreneurial journey.

6. Develop new connections

From 11:50 a.m. to 1 p.m., this will be your time to connect with fellow attendees, including leading industry names, over lunch. While NPBS is a great opportunity to understand what will move your brand forward, we encourage you to take this time to connect with industry peers in real, meaningful ways. Consider sharing your challenges with others, and offer up a listening ear in return. Connection is key.

7. You won’t miss anything on the show floor

Wondering how you'll fit in an entire day of education and networking at Expo West? NPBS conveniently takes place on Tuesday, March 3, the day before the show floor opens, so you won't miss a beat! It's the ideal time to immerse yourself in education and connecting before exhibiting takes precedence.

8. Align your brand with this year’s best industry opportunities

In the session Setting Intentions: Trends & Opportunities Driving the Industry in 2020, you'll get a holistic view of what's hot in the industry this coming year. Led by Carlotta Mast, market leader at New Hope Network, and Nick McCoy, managing director and co-founder of Whipstitch Capital, this overview will define key industry trends and help you better understand how your brand can have a sustainable, competitive advantage accordingly.

9. You'll be part of a live podcast

Ryan Pintado-Vertner of Smoketown LLC, a boutique consultancy, is finishing out the day with a live on-stage podcast with Denise Woodard of Partake Foods. Pintado-Vertner hosts Brand New Blueprint, the podcast that explores how disruptive CEOs and founders build brands that matter.

10. You'll get top-notch education for a low cost

We mean it when we say it's a jam-packed day; from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can immerse yourself in absorbing all knowledge and connections that'll help catapult your brand. It's an event that features some of the best industry experts whose brand knowledge is invaluable. All learning, connecting and networking is just $195 if you save your seat by Jan. 31 and $295 if you register Feb. 1 - March 3.

Natural Products Expo West.jpgUpgrade your Expo West badge here.
What:Natural Products Business School
When:7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Where: Marriott, Grand F-K

5@5: Unilever considers selling struggling tea business | France bans controversial egg and poultry practice

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Maker of Lipton cools on tea

Unilever may sell off its Lipton, Brook Bond and PG Tips tea brands after trying to ingnite growth into these businesses for a decade. U.S. and European consumers are purchasing other beverages, and when they do choose tea "it is increasingly herbal or fruit-infused." Read more at The Wall Street Journal

France to ban mass shredding of live chicks

France is set to become the second country to ban the mass killing of live male chicks, a practice known as "culling." However, more research and technological development is needed before farmers can obtain an alternative method that will allow them to determine the sex of a chick while it is still an embryo. Read more at CNN

Trader Joe's now carries its own plant-based burgers

Trader Joe's this week released Trader Joe's Protein Patties, which uses beets and pea protein (sound familiar?) to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. It is being offered at a lower price point than its biggest competitor, the Beyond Burger. Read more at Food & Wine

Texas A&M, Harvard scientists feud over controversial red and processed meat study

The drama from the Texas A&M University red meat study that was criticized by nutrition experts and Harvard University faculty members for selling out to industry interests hasn't gone away just yet. A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp recently wrote an open letter calling for an ethics review of the Harvard professors who responded to the study. However, the study's results are still considered by many to be oversimplified and based on weak science. Read more at Texas Public Radio

Doula-founded natural beauty brands are becoming increasingly trendy

More than a few prominent doulas and midwives have launched clean beauty brands over the past few months, and their naturally potent and simple ingredients are appealing to a wide array of consumers–not just moms-to-be. But most say that the conversations they have regularly with pregnant clients regarding potentially hazardous personal care chemicals largely influence the product lines. Read more at Fashionista

CBD and plant-based continue to reshape the retail landscape

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As consumer acceptance of CBD and plant-based alternatives continues to swell, retailers are enthusiastically embracing both of these relatively recent categories, according to a report from IRI that was presented at the FMI Midwinter Conference.

During the presentation, “From CBD to Alternative Proteins: What do emerging consumer trends mean for the grocery industry?”, Larry Levin, EVP, Market & Shopper Intelligence, IRI, and Tim Grzebinski, principal, Client Insights, IRI, outlined how far and fast both categories have grown and the opportunities they offer retailers going forward.

“Plant-based foods are now mainstream,” said Grzebinski. “Protein alternatives Beyond and Impossible are exploding. Major retailers are increasing their plant-based offerings.”

Health and wellness is the leading driver of plant-based success, with 73% of consumers in an IRI survey citing that as the reason for purchasing plant-based. Another key factor behind purchases was diet, cited by just under half of all respondents (47%). Vegan and dairy-free diets led consumers’ special diet needs influencing their purchase of plant-based alternatives, at 44% and 41%, respectively.

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Despite the strong showing for health and wellness as a purchase driver, Grzebinski noted, “Plant-based does not always mean healthier, but rather the perception of healthfulness.” In addition, “clean label” advocates are increasingly pointing out the complex ingredients found in plant-based alternatives compared to many of the foods they’re replacing (most notably meat and dairy products).

“It seems like some plant-based offerings are currently getting a pass on complex ingredients,” Grzebinski said. “But we are starting to see some pushback from clean foods groups. The jury is still out on whether they’ll be any real impact on plant-based.” For now, it appears that plant-based is safe from these criticisms—CAGR growth of plant-based options has been 14 times the growth of the total store, according to IRI data. Almost all plant-based segments are gaining share within their respective categories (i.e., milk, meat, supplements, yogurt, etc.).

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“Plant-based milks are penetrating almost 40% of households, and oat milk is growing rapidly,” said Grzebinski. “Meanwhile, meat substitutes are at 15% penetration, and Beyond Meat has grown 134% over a year ago.”

Other categories outside of milk and meat alternatives are also showing strength. Shelf-stable plant-based milk is at 10.3% household penetration, frozen meals are just under 10% household penetration, while yogurt, creams/creamers and ice cream/sherbet are all performing well. Protein bars led in growth of all new plant-based products.

“Much of the success of plant-based lies in the absence of negatives,” Grzebinski said, for example, non-GMO, non-dairy, non-gluten, etc.

Acceptance and opportunity for CBD

“The greatest opportunity for the industry today is to reap the benefits of legal cannabis,” observed IRI’s Levin, who added that “we have not seen this kind of disruption in our industry…ever.”

Cannabinoids, or CBDs, are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant and hemp, which do not include any intoxicating THC but have properties that address a multitude of ailments. “Retailer and consumer education is necessary,” said Levin. “CBD is growing because we’re accepting it. Consumer behaviors toward CBD, hemp and cannabis are changing. It’s no longer just a western United States phenomenon as more states legalize it.”

For instance, Levin pointed out that 15% of adults aged 21 and over have consumed hemp-derived products in the past six months, according to BDS Analytics Consumer Research. Thirty-eight percent of adults in states where cannabis is fully legal consume cannabis and an additional 29% are open to consuming.

While a fair number of consumers surveyed by BDS either don’t know there is a difference in the effects of CBD and THC (30%) or state incorrectly that “there is no difference” (25%), those numbers are down from a year earlier—from a total of 63% to 55%—indicating that consumers are becoming more educated about CBD.

With the majority of U.S. adults supporting legalization of marijuana, social barriers are being eliminated that are leading to more interest in non-THC CBD. About 80% of U.S. adults agree there should be some form of legal marijuana usage, and 64% of U.S. adults agree that marijuana has medical benefits, according to BDS research.

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This widespread consumer acceptance, along with CBD availability in general retail, will result in a projected U.S. total cannabinoid market of around $45 billion in 2024, said Levin—with $13 billion of that being non-THC cannabinoids at general retail.

The consumption of hemp-derived CBD products is predominately health and wellness related, as consumers seek out alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter medications for reasons as varied as improving quality of life; treat or manage a health problem; relieve pain; sleep better; improve sense of wellness; and simply to avoid prescription drugs.

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The current explosion of CBD at grocery retailers ranging from Walmart to Kroger and everyone in between is focused almost exclusively on health and wellness products, such as supplements, external pain, sleep, skin care and beverages. While the cannabis dispensary channel dominates CBD product sales today, with 65% share of a total $1.9 billion market, a significant shift to general retail is projected by 2024 when the total market is expected to reach $20 billion. As the CBD category grows across retail channels, dispensary sales will drop to 26% of sales (but of a much higher dollar amount), while e-commerce (18%), pharmacy (11%), grocery (9%) and mass retail (9%) will all increase their share.

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“Cannabis will be among the most disruptive trends to hit CPG in decades,” reiterated Levin. “Retailers and manufacturers have an opportunity to capitalize on a burgeoning revenue stream with unique innovation and consumer marketing.”

But, he cautioned, “education is critical to drive cannabis and CBD.” Currently, he noted, referencing the BDS study, only 22% of the U.S. adult population knows what cannabinoids are and can articulate the definition. It’s time to change that learning curve.

All images courtesy IRI/BDS Analytics.

Supermarket News logoThis piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.

The Good Food Accelerator announces members of sixth cohort

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The Good Food Accelerator (GFA) is thrilled to announce the members of its sixth cohort of entrepreneur-driven businesses that will participate in the six-month intensive development program beginning in late February.

The following nine companies were competitively selected from a large and talented group of applicants. They will benefit from coaching, industry-leading mentors and strategic support, plus access to resources and sources of capital so they can thrive commercially—and have a powerful ripple effect on the local economy. (Businesses are in alphabetical order; they are located within the city of Chicago unless otherwise indicated.)

Shelby Parchman, the new Managing Director and former consultant of the Good Food Accelerator, will discuss the new cohort during Naturally Chicago’s Friday Morning Mingle on February 7. Find more information on the Naturally Chicago Event page.

Chia-Leah-logo.pngChia Leah

Cohort member: Leah Bostrom

Chia Leah, based in suburban Wilmette, provides wholesome, high-quality grab-n-go snacks to energize people and encourage healthy eating habits. Developed by certified health coach Leah Bostrom, with real ingredients and without refined sugars or preservatives, Chia Leah snacks are produced in small batches to ensure items are fresh, tasty and, most importantly, nutritious. Chia Leah is made for anyone looking to upgrade their snacks with a vegan, gluten-free, truly clean product that is a smart and scrumptious alternative to mass-produced foods. 

Get-Wild-Logo-1.pngGet Wild

Cohort members: Nikki Dhuper and Annie Sharma

Get Wild™ is on a mission is to revolutionize guilt-free snacking through bold flavors and real ingredients. They delight consumers with nutrient-dense snack alternatives to the mainstream commercialized products. Their first products are grain-free puffs made with popped water lily seeds. Hailed as food of the Gods, these super seeds are a nutrition powerhouse! They’re allergen friendly and rich in plant protein, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory minerals.

Natures-Nosh-logo.pngNature’s Nosh

Cohort members: Liza Cohen

Nature’s Nosh, maker of all-natural CBD-infused fruit and nut bites, is on a mission to revolutionize the edible cannabis landscape—making it healthier and more convenient for consumers to reap the benefits of this functional ingredient. By pairing the natural healing powers of hemp-derived CBD with other functional ingredients—dried fruit for energy and digestive support, and nuts for protein and antioxidants—they aim to prove that food is medicine.

pasta-pappone.pngPasta Pappone

Cohort members: Mary Beth Mulholland and Jon Mulholland 

Pasta Pappone, based in suburban Downers Grove, makes flavored gourmet pasta using all natural ingredients and traditional techniques, such as bronze dies and a slow hang-drying process. Their pasta is made using semolina wheat and herbs, spices and vegetables giving unique, robust flavor to every bite. Each batch brings quality process and quality ingredients, and their customers can taste the difference.

prevail-jerky.pngPREVAIL Jerky

Cohort members: Glen Kohn, Rob Linden and Ashley Kohn 

PREVAIL Jerky is new to the market, but really began back in 2004 when founder Glen Kohn’s wife was diagnosed with celiac disease. Her diagnosis forever changed how their family ate, shopped, and lived (for the better). Up until the last few years, they found it very difficult to find clean, healthy snacks that did not require them to compromise on flavor. It was impossible to find jerky without soy, cane sugar or other preservatives they were trying to avoid. So, they decided to make their own. Since then, they have been passionately dedicated to making a product that is truly Paleo, but more importantly tastes delicious.

Soup-Explorers-Logo.jpgSoup Explorers/Clarity Food Ventures

Cohort Members: Debarshi Sengupta and Linda Yeh-Ostrinsky

Soup Explorers offers refrigerated soup kits that are globally inspired, locally crafted, and ready to eat in less than three minutes. Each soup kit contains a bottle of broth, vacuum-packed pouches of cooked noodles, cooked protein and aromatic vegetables, as well as a biodegradable palm leaf bowl. They have partnered with Chicago restaurants and sourced local ingredients (where possible) to create hot and chilled soup recipes to ensure an authentic experience. By using an emerging food technology commonly known as cold pasteurization, they lock in flavors, kill harmful bacteria and significantly increase shelf life. With Soup Explorers, you can transport your senses to somewhere unforgettable that’s full of flavor and rich in tradition.

sprout-living-logo.jpgSprout Living

Cohort member: Mark Malinsky

Sprout Living focuses on organic and plant-based protein powders, meal replacements and functional drink mixes. They believe in pure, plant nutrition developed in our kitchens, not in labs. Using the finest organic ingredients and thoughtful formulations, they proudly make premium products that work and taste great. Nothing weird or artificial.

Tomato-Bliss-logo.pngTomato Bliss

Cohort members: Marie Krane, Sasha Earle, Melissa Jones

Tomato Bliss, based in Galien, Michigan and Chicago, creates delicious products from 100 percent heirloom tomatoes grown in western Michigan. Their product line includes jarred soup, broth, salsa and roasted tomatoes, which can be purchased on their website and at select groceries and farmers markets.

Top-Note-Logo-2018-250x250.jpgTop Note Mixers/La Pavia Beverage

Cohort members: Mary Pellettieri and Noah Swanson

Top Note makes premium and award winning craft beverage mixers for cocktails and mocktails. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company boasts a product line that includes Classic Tonic and Indian Tonic waters, Bitter Lemon and Grapefruit sodas, and non-alcoholic Ginger Beer.

5@5: Americans are eating less meat | 'Ag-gag' law overturned

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Nearly 1 in 4 Americans have cut back on eating meat

A Gallup poll shows that a significant amount of U.S. citizens are eating less meat for health-related reasons. Flexitarianism, which champions eating smaller portions of higher-quality meat, seems to be the new norm for nearly a quarter of Americans. Read more at Gallup

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The Vitamin Shoppe opens new distribution channel in partnership with LA Fitness

The Vitamin Shoppe sharon-leite-vitamin-shoppe-la-fitness.jpg

The Vitamin Shoppe, an omni-channel specialty retailer of nutritional products, announced today a partnership with LA Fitness that opens The Vitamin Shoppe locations inside LA Fitness health clubs. Since November, The Vitamin Shoppe has opened nine shops within the LA Fitness chain.

Directly operated by The Vitamin Shoppe and its highly knowledgeable Health Enthusiasts, the approximately 300 square-foot shops have opened in: Union, New Jersey; Huntington Station, New York; Farmingville, New York; Boca Raton, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Lakewood Ranch, Florida; Dunedin, Florida; Palm Harbor, Florida and Lake Mary, Florida.

Catering to the wellness goals and need states of the LA Fitness membership, these in-gym shops serve up sports nutrition products and on-the-go healthy snacks and beverages, as well as a selection of vitamins, minerals, and supplement products. The thoughtfully curated merchandise assortment of over 900 skus is comprised of about 90 leading health and wellness brands, including The Vitamin Shoppe's proprietary brands: BodyTech, BodyTech Elite, True Athlete, plnt and ProBioCare.

Sharon Leite, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe, commented: "We are thrilled to bring The Vitamin Shoppe experience directly into LA Fitness locations. These shops provide the health-conscious members of LA Fitness easy access to their favorite sports nutrition and supplement products, as well as the exceptional expertise and guidance of our Health Enthusiasts. This initiative represents an innovative new channel of distribution for The Vitamin Shoppe with great potential for growth and we look forward to a productive partnership with LA Fitness."

New customers who initially sign up for The Vitamin Shoppe's Healthy Awards loyalty program in an LA Fitness location will receive a 10% discount on their purchase.

Source: The Vitamin Shoppe