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Hain Celestial acquires Live Clean

Hain Celestial acquires Live Clean

The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN), a leading organic and natural products company with operations in North America, Europe and India providing consumers with A Healthier Way of Life™, announced the acquisition of Belvedere International Inc., a leader in health and beauty care products including the Live Clean® brand with approximately 200 baby, body and hair care products as well as several mass market brands sold primarily in Canada and manufactured in a company facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. 

"We are excited by the acquisition of the Live Clean brand, which expands our presence in the personal care category and complements our Avalon Organics®, Alba Botanica® and JASON® brands that we sell into Canada. This acquisition increases the scale of our Canadian operations to over $150 million in net sales and provides us with opportunities for sales expansion and cost efficiencies as we leverage our existing infrastructure in Canada and our manufacturing and research and development expertise in personal care," said Irwin D. Simon, founder, president and chief executive officer of Hain Celestial. 

"It is with great pride that I see my family's business become part of the esteemed Hain Celestial Group. I believe under their stewardship the Live Clean brand will reach great heights," said Sandra Belvedere.

The Live Clean brand is the leading natural hair care and baby care brand in Canada. In calendar year 2014 Belvedere had approximately $25 million in net sales and is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial's earnings in fiscal year 2016. Belvedere, which was founded by Rocco Donald Belvedere in 1981, was a family-owned company led by Larry Romagnuolo, president and chief executive officer.

"The Live Clean brand establishes a personal care base of operations in Canada for Hain Celestial, which can serve as the foundation for the continued growth of all our personal care brands and provide us with an opportunity to expand the brand beyond the Canadian mass channel," commented Beena Goldenberg, president of Hain Celestial Canada.

"I am pleased the employees of Belvedere are joining Hain Celestial Canada, who can ensure the next level of growth for the personal care business established by my family 34 years ago, and I look forward to working withBeena Goldenberg and the Hain Celestial team in pursuing new opportunities as part of a leading organic and natural products company," said Larry Romagnuolo.

"We thank the Belvedere family for their contributions in creating the Live Clean brand and welcome Larry Romagnuolo as general manager Hain Celestial Canada Personal Care, who will be responsible for the Live Clean brand as well as our Avalon Organics, Alba Botanica and JASON brands in Canada. We look forward to working with Larry and his team to expand our personal care manufacturing in Canada," concluded Irwin Simon.


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Putting your mealworm where your mouth is

Putting your mealworm where your mouth is

In the case of the edible insect movement, I have begun to believe that it’s not so much a case of “Put your money where your mouth is,” as “Put your mealworm where your mouth is.” Bug snack entrepreneurs extoll the sustainable feed-the-planet virtues of cricket bars and the like, but I doubt many of them actually eat bugs as a primary protein source.

Cam Brantley-Rios does, and he’s invited you for a month of virtual breakfast, lunch and dinner, every dish served with a side of cringe.

The Auburn University senior is blogging his 30-Days of Bugs experience, closing in on the final days with tales of scrambled eggs and wax worms, crickets as “shrimp of the land” and a picture of fries and mealworms I will never be able to un-see.

Of his insect sushi he notes: "There’s not really much of a difference between raw waxworms and raw salmon, right?"

Sorry Cam. There is. The sushi doesn’t crawl off your plate when you’re not looking.

And salmon actually gives a better feed-in/protein-out pay off.

That’s some of where the whole edible insect movement strays off into the dream world of “wouldn’t it be great if …” where many a high-minded mission never finds traction on the shelf. The truth is that the economics of edible insects do not add up, at least not now, and without a sudden spike in demand it’s hard to imagine they ever will. The demand would need to be many times the novelty market of cricket bars before automation and innovation for bug farming and processing will bring prices down. Cricket flour is $30 a pound last I checked, wholesale. That would buy you nearly six pounds of almond flour.

As I have written before, it’s a chicken-and-the-egg situation. Except I can buy eggs for just over a buck and Hampton Creek is working on an egg substitute that will be even cheaper.

Still, I admire this bug eater’s commitment. By weight, the actual insect content in some of the cricket bars amounts to fairy dusting. In contrast, Brantley-Rios is chowing down on big bowls of bugs.

It stills feels like what I call “stunt food,” the “Look Ma! No hands!” of dining all too common in the foodie world. It may be a stunt, but it may also nudge the conversation away from the novelty of cricket bars and into the reality of eating bugs every day.

For a month.

Brantley-Rios is putting his mealworms where his mouth is.


Vitalah introduces Sport Oxylent at Expo West

Vitalah introduces Sport Oxylent at Expo West

Vitalah introduces something special for the natural athlete during this year’s Natural Products Expo West. Sport Oxylent® is a comprehensive 3-in-1 supplement drink that supports energy, stamina and recovery for the sports enthusiast and the dabbling weekend warrior, in delicious Blueberry Burst flavor. Attendees are invited to stop by and taste the “power” for themselves at Vitalah’s booth #1314, March 6 to 8, at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Why Sport Oxylent? With a unique panel of ingredients that includes Creatine MagnaPower®, Sustamine, Citrulline Malate, electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins C and D, and a host of powerful Albion® minerals, this product is the all-in-one solution for pre-, during and post-workout support or for those with an active lifestyle. Packaged in convenient 30-serving canisters or in 15-count stick pack boxes, Sport Oxylent is free of sugar, gluten, soy, dairy, GMOs and caffeine. Take a look at these important benefits:

  • Promotes sustained energy and stamina during exertion
  • Inhibits fatigue and muscle breakdown
  • Reduces time and energy needed for recovery
  • Enhances muscle strength and repair
  • Replenishes glycogen/energy store and electrolytes
  • Supports metabolism and weight management

Vitalah has specials galore including discounts and the opportunity to score a floor display that holds boxes or canisters. Beverage dispenser kits are also offered with certain package deals.

There’s a vitamin revolution going on at booth 1314. Sport Oxylent joins the Oxylent family of effervescent multivitamin drinks offering a premium experience for adults, children, pregnant mothers and now athletes through better taste, improved absorption, and proven performance.


Sioux Natural debuts Shug natural sweetener for baking

Sioux Natural debuts Shug natural sweetener for baking

Sioux Natural is introducing Shug, the world's first 100 percent plant-based, low calorie sugar replacement that actually bakes and tastes just like sugar. With its revolutionary just-like-sugar performance, Shug unlocks the $10 billion baked-goods sugar-replacement market that, to date, no low-calorie substitute has been able to satisfy due to performance limitations. 

Low-calorie sugar substitutes have failed time and time again to meet customer satisfaction. Nowhere is this issue more obvious than in baked goods, where differences in weight, volume, baking qualities, and aftertaste leave consumers dissatisfied. Shug solves this. As the world's first one-for one sugar-replacement, it's not only great tasting but healthy and inexpensive.

Benefits to commercial manufacturers:

  • 1:1 volume and weight substitution + identical performance = a seamless transition from sugar (or HFCS) to Shug
  • No allowances or reformulations necessary
  • Versatile applications beyond baking
  • Supports trend toward natural sugar substitutes in foods and beverages
  • Sustainable, low-processing, GRAS certified ingredients

Benefits to end consumers:

  • Tastes just like sugar
  • Zero calorie (based on 3 g serving size)
  • Safe for diabetics
  • 100 percent naturally sourced
  • Doesn't support cavities
  • No preservatives
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Gluten free
  • Non-GMO
  • Longer shelf life
  • Prebiotic

Shug is a patent pending sugar-replacement. For more information on Shug, visit


AB-Biotics, Derbycare to launch pediatric probiotic in China

AB-Biotics, Derbycare to launch pediatric probiotic in China

The Spanish biotech company AB-Biotics and Derbycare have signed an agreement to launch in China a product for gastropediatric health. Derbycare will launch the product, called AB-Kolicare, in the first half of 2015.

Derbycare will develop in 2015 three new clinical trials with a minimum of 3,000 patients to further substantiate the proven health benefits of AB-Kolicare. The consumption of AB-Kolicare during only 14 days reduces the excessive daily crying in 67.5 percent in subjects with a daily crying duration between 60 and 240 minutes, according to clinical trial developed by AB-Biotics.

Derbycare and AB-Biotics will also collaborate for the research and development of new probiotic formulas and food supplement rich in probiotics for infants to market in China and other markets.

Derbycare owns a leading research institute in the field of pediatric nutrition, with an independent expert committee and an advisory team including representatives from major Chinese public and private hospitals. They are authoritative experts in the field of infant nutrition and clinical medicine, with the most comprehensive academic influence in pediatrics and nutrition in China. The MIHC scientific laboratory of Derbycare cooperates closely with the top Children Medical Centers and Perinatology Institutions in China, for a comprehensive research and clinical observation on the maternity and infant health.

"This agreement allows AB-Biotics to enter the Chinese pediatric market with an excellently positioned partner that will also allow us to develop new innovative solutions thanks to its excellent research institute," said Miquel Angel Bonachera and Sergi Audivert, CEOs of AB-Biotics.

“Derbycare experts believe in the positive influence of AB-Biotics’ safe and premium probiotics on the health of pregnant mothers and infants. Derbycare will work closely with AB-Biotics to promote the probiotic products among the maternity and 0-3 infant population in China, a 70 million population who know little about probiotics and seldom use them. This is a huge opportunity,” said Jason Shen, executive director of Derbycare.



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Carcinogens in a can

Half of all Americans over the age of six may be sipping a carcinogen with their daily can of soda. Caramel color, a common ingredient in dark-colored soft drinks, contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible human carcinogen. A new study analyzed the content of a sampling of sodas and paired that information with data about consumer’s soda habits to investigate the risk.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future partnered with researchers at Consumer Reports to analyze 4-MEI concentrations of 110 soft drink samples purchased from retail stores in California and the New York metropolitan area. Their study, published in the journal PLOS One, and noted on, pairs those results with population beverage consumption data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in order to estimate the population risks and cancer burden associated with 4-MEI exposures through soda.
"Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes," sais Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the CLF and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a release from Johns Hopkins. "This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda."
Researchers also found that sodas sampled in New York had a lot more 4-MEI than those from California. California’s Proposition 65 law, which requires any food or beverage sold in the state that exposes consumers to more than a specific amount of 4-MEI requires a health warning label. Consumer Reports petitioned the FDA to set limits for 4-MEI last years.
“This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime,” Urvashi Rangan, PhD, executive director for Consumer Reports' Food Safety and Sustainability Center said in the Hopkins release. “We believe beverage makers and the government should take the steps needed to protect public health. California has already taken an important step by setting a threshold for prompting Prop 65 labeling based on daily 4-MEI exposure from a food or beverage, such as a soda.”

SternMaid America demonstrates contract manufacturer capabilities

SternMaid America demonstrates contract manufacturer capabilities

This spring, SternMaid America is showing its contract manufacturing capabilities for nutritional supplements and food ingredients premixes at trade shows on both coasts. The company specializes in blending powdered substances, and interested parties can get a closer look March 6 to 8, 2015 at Engredea and Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. (Booth 499), and April 8 to 9 at Supply Side East in Orlando, Fla. (booth 469). SternMaid America’s wide scope of services ranges from raw materials quality control to co-packing, storage and logistics.

SternMaid America offers the complete contract manufacturing service chain from its own plant in Aurora near Chicago. At this multi-functional, German-engineered production facility the company can fully meet the needs of American customers. The semi-automatic powder mixing line uses the latest technology and is flexible enough for orders from 1000 to well over 20,000 lbs. It gives high mixing precision up to 1:100,000 with fast setup, and can fill sacks, boxes, drums or big bags. Using specially designed nozzles, it can spray liquid components evenly onto powders. These can be micro-components like flavorings, oils, emulsifiers and the like, including fatty or high-viscosity liquids at high concentrations. The plant also has a small-unit packing line for packaging by the dose.

BI's Pontiakos to discuss GMO labeling at Engredea

BI's Pontiakos to discuss GMO labeling at Engredea

As part of a Clean Label education track being presented at Engredea 2015, George Pontiakos, president and CEO of BI Nutraceuticals, will discuss the legislative landscape surrounding the use of GMOs and the steps suppliers and manufacturers need to take in order to be prepared if GMO-labeling legislation eventually passes. The session, “Understanding the cost and complexity of GMO labeling,” will take place Thursday, March 5 from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. in the Marriott Orange County Ballroom 3/4, located adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center.  

During this session, Pontiakos will cover:

  • Defining “What is GMO”
  • Sourcing non—GMO ingredients
  • How GMO legislation will impact the supply chain - from both a cost and complexity perspective
  • Testing parameters for non-GMO ingredients
  • Why they industry must do a stronger job of interdicting GMO legislation before it gets traction
  • If and when we will see government mandated GMO labeling
  • Should a raw material supplier be required to be non-GMO verified - or are they already doing that? What is the value of the non-GMO verified seal to a supplier? 

As president and CEO, Pontiakos oversees all aspects of operations for BI Nutraceuticals’ west and east coast offices, and the Zuellig Group Nutrition and Ingredients, China. Pontiakos has held senior leadership positions at several leading consulting, medical services and technology companies including Monovasia, which he founded, Oluma, Lucent, Agere, Ortel, NetVantage and Timeplex. He has wide-ranging experience in scaling geographically dispersed, globally competitive companies to maximize their ability to successfully compete in the marketplace.