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Articles from 2018 In February


Natural Products Expo

7 apps that'll make Natural Products Expo West even better

apps for Expo West

Charge up your phone, pack extra battery power and prepare to charge through Natural Products Expo West with these winning apps that will help you before the show, on the floor, after a busy day and when you return home.

TripIt

Keep your travel itineraries in one convenient place with the TripIt app. Connect it to email and the app imports flight, hotel and shuttle confirmations, and other travel documents automatically. You can manually add notes, maps and other useful information, too.

This is a must-have on my phone.

It’s free, but if you pay for TripIt Pro, you receive more integration from airports and airlines.

Uber/Lyft

Ride-sharing services might not be an everyday part of your life, but they are essential if you plan to venture far from the Anaheim Convention Center campus. Download the apps now and get your accounts set up before you arrive in California. You don’t want to waste time (and your data service) standing on a sidewalk fumbling with a-new-to-you service.

Lyft is generally cheaper than Uber, but both raise fares during high-demand times (like Friday and Saturday night during Natural Products Expo West). It’s worth comparing.

The promo code HiFreeRide will get Uber newbies a free ride (up to $15). And referrals earn you $5. Lyft’s sign-on bonuses are a bit more detailed.

The Expo West app

The Expo West app includes all the necessities—campus map, exhibitor list, education and events schedules, etc. But it also serves as your one-stop resource for schedule planning, note taking, getting walking directions to a booth and accessing all the contact info you need for a brand. Search by brand or preplan your route and let your fingers do the walking with the map—just zoom in and click on a booth to get the company lowdown. You can add it to your faves and/or agenda and save any notes you need before you get there or take while visiting on the show floor.

Search “Expo West” in the app store.

Evernote

If you haven’t adopted Evernote, now’s the time. The note-taking desktop and mobile app makes capturing notes easy and accessing them anywhere a breeze. Start a note and type away. And right on the note file, you can easily add photos, record a conversation or comment to yourself, make a sketch or attach additional files.

Consider a note for each booth you attend, or capture thoughts and snapshots by time or convention center area and then organize all the info when you get home.

Scannable

Combine the Scannable app with Evernote and you have the ultimate virtual filing cabinet. You can use Scannable on its own to capture sales sheets and other documents for saving in Evernote or other apps, and to share with others. Best of all, you can scan a business card and it creates a contact file.

Terrible at capturing business receipts on the road? Use Scannable. Sure, you can take pictures of such things, but Scannable straightens, sharpens and makes everything a readable file. It even works well for multiple-page documents.

Relax Melodies

You will likely return to your hotel room exhausted and ready for sleep. But if you can't turn your mind off after a great day of networking and dealing on the show floor, try Relax Melodies. Set the timer, mix your perfect relaxing track and let the music move you to la la land. Sleep meditations may be useful too.

Natural Products Expo

Meet the 2018 Natural Products Expo West blogger team

Meet the Expo West 2018 blogger team! These top natural living and health bloggers will be attending the education sessions and walking the show floor in Anaheim.

Natural Products Expo

10 natural products trends you'll see on the Expo West 2018 show floor

Natural Products Expo West celebrates holistic living, environmental activism and community within the natural products industry. But let’s face it: Learning about the exciting new trends is a big part of the draw, too (not to mention the samples).

These 10 red-hot trends represent how manufacturers are cultivating positive change in the world, from improving access to healthy eating to bolstering the very soil our food grows in.

Expo West badgeholders can catch an overview of how natural and organic product categories are performing, and dig into the macro forces and trends driving the industry, at The State of the Natural Industry session.
When: 8:45 - 10 a.m., Thursday, March 8, 2018
Where: Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Central

Natural Products Expo

Hope for a food system (and planet) in crisis

Anna Lappe Natural Products Expo West

Anna Lappé was practically weaned on the principles of food justice. The daughter of Frances Moore Lappé, with whom Anna wrote the book "Hope’s Edge," she is no stranger to the power of food systems.

Today, she works vigorously at the intersection of environment, health and justice through her work with the Small Planet Institute, Small Planet Fund and Real Food Media. In these programs she raises both awareness and money for on-the-ground, solutions-focused projects around the world.

Lappé is the author of three books, including "Diet for a Hot Planet," and contributor to several others; a frequent speaker and talk show guest; and winner of multiple honors.

Catch her keynote on Saturday, March 10, at Natural Products Expo West.

What can we expect to hear from you at Expo West?

Anna Lappé: One of the messages I’m excited to bring to the expo audience is just how much progress I think we have made as a movement in awakening the public to the crisis in our food system—its environmental impact, its social justice impact, its health impact—and the many solutions that are out there. In a lot of ways, it is kind of the overarching message of so much of my work.

Can you talk a little bit more about—and about the intersection of—those impacts?

AL: Our food system is one of the biggest sources of water pollution and air pollution. It's the single source of dead zones in our oceans that are killing aquatic life. It’s also the source of so much ill health: the rising epidemic of diet-related illnesses. Both of those things, the environmental impact and the health impact, are being borne disproportionately on our most vulnerable populations. Those communities that are living in the shadow of chemical manufacturing plants tend to be our lowest income communities. Those communities that have the highest rates of diet-related illnesses, diabetes, and heart disease tend to be our lowest income populations, and populations of color.

There is this inextricable link between our vision for greater equity and social justice in the world and needing to change the food system to make that vision a reality.

And global warming?

AL: I’ve often said, “if we're serious about fixing the climate, then we have to talk about food.” One of the things that I find so fabulous about bringing the global warming conversation to food is that the food system solutions that are going to help us reduce emissions from the sector—solutions like growing food organically, eating more food locally, using less packaging, reducing food waste—are the very same solutions that are going to produce healthier, more sustainable food.

Tell me about the work you're doing with the Small Planet Institute, the Small Planet Fund and Real Food Media.

AL: My mother, Frances Moore Lappé, and I started the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund after we wrote a book together called "Hope's Edge" that, for me, was a life-changing experience. Together, we traveled to India, Bangladesh, Poland, Kenya, France, Brazil… and Wisconsin and California. We were uncovering solution stories we wanted to amplify, showing how you could actually have a food system that promotes a healthy environment, equitable distribution and health.

When we were done with the book, we kind of just didn't want it to stop. We wanted to keep sharing those solution stories and what my mother calls "living democracy." The Small Plant Institute was born out of that. The fund came out of our desire to give back to the groups that we saw on the ground.

The focus of my work today is in two places. One is Real Food Media, a project I run with Christina Bronsing-Lazalde, as well as work that I'm doing for a private family foundation to create a grant-making program that, again, is supporting who I really see as some of the leading lights that are promoting food systems transformation.

Can you say more about your mother, her influence on you and your work together?

AL: My mother, Frances Moore Lappé, is definitely one of my all-time heroes. It's been such a privilege in my life to work so closely with her. She, as some of your readers might know, wrote a book when she was just 26 years old, called "Diet for a Small Planet" that went on to sell three and a half million copies and really revolutionized how people thought about their own diets and about world hunger. What she came to realize is this fundamental idea that hunger is not caused by scarcity of food—it's caused by a scarcity of democracy, scarcity of people having power over what food is grown, how it's grown, who has access to it.

Still today, there is more than enough food produced on the planet to feed every one of us, and yet 800 million people are going hungry. You have a global pesticide industry that tells us any chance they get that we need their chemicals to feed the hungry world. We hear from the industrialized animal livestock sector that we need to further industrialize and use more drugs and more antibiotics to produce more to feed the hungry world, when again, the evidence shows us that we could continue to produce more than enough food to feed everyone and that would not end hunger. It has never ended hunger; it is currently not ending hunger. The real solution to hunger is to build real democracy and real power on the ground, among consumers and farmers and communities.

Any last words?

AL: I think for a lot of people this is really a dark time. One of the biggest lessons I learned when we wrote "Hope's Edge" is that you don't find hope by seeking the evidence for it or by deciding your cause is winning or losing. Instead, you can really become hope through taking action and being part of the solution and the change you want to see in the world.

Catch Anna Lappé at Natural Products Expo West.
What: Saturday morning keynote (open to all badgeholders)
When: 9 - 10 a.m., Saturday, March 10, 2018
Where: Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Central

Vitamin Shoppe CEO to step down as sales continue to fall

Vitamin Shoppe

Vitamin Shoppe CEO Colin Watts will leave the company at the end of May, Chairman Alex Smith announced during Tuesday’s earnings call.

Smith has been appointed executive chairman, and the board has begun the search for Watts’ successor.

In a prepared statement, Watts said, “I am encouraged by the early signs of traction from critical initiatives, as shown by the improving quarterly comps, strong digital commerce growth, success of Spark Auto Delivery and growth in new customers in Q4.” He didn’t address the matter during the earnings call, other than to offer his thanks to Smith and the board of directors.

Vitamin Shoppe's net sales for 2017 were $1.18 billion, compared with $1.29 billion in 2016, a drop of 8.6 percent. For the full year, comparative sales decreased 6.5 percent. The biggest losses are in the sport and weight management category, Watts said during the call.

During 2017, Vitamin Shoppe implemented several strategies to increase sales, customer retention and profit margins. The company’s Spark Auto Delivery program, which started in August, exceeded the company’s expectations, Watts said, with about 400,000 active customers.

Company officials also unveiled a new plan to market Vitamin Shoppe as “the wellness authority,” with increased marketing, particularly online and through social media; community events and digital programs; and customer loyalty programs.

The company also is working with vendors to establish exclusive to Vitamin Shoppe flavors and brands, Watts said.

Fourth-quarter net sales of $268.8 million were 11.8 percent lower than sales in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Other results from the quarter include:

  • Digital commerce sales increased 15.3 percent.
  • Total comparable sales were down 4.6 percent, or 3.2 percent after adjusting for Christmas, which came in the company’s 53rd week.
  • Net loss of $17.6 million, compared to $11.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Loss per share of 75 cents, or 17 cents per share after adjustments.

Vitamin Shoppe plans to close 10 stores this year. It expects comparable store sales to improve slightly but to still be in the “low- to mid-negative single digits,” according to a statement.

[email protected]: Perfect Day picks up $25M for 'animal-free dairy' | Freeze puts California's almond crop at risk

Thinkstock/vikif milk or milk alternative

Watch out, cows. Yeast is gunning to be the next dairy disruptor

After raising a nearly $25 million in Series A funding, food tech company Perfect Day has shifted its focused from finished products to ingredients. It’s hoping that large food brands will be interested in its patented milk proteins as a replacement for casein and whey. The company alters sections of DNA of food-grade yeast so that, through fermentation, it creates those key proteins without ever needing a cow. That’s a proposition that could appeal to eco-friendly consumers who are ditching resource-intensive dairy products and switching to plant-based milks. Read more at Quartz…

 

Freeze leaves California’s almond growers fearing ‘significant’ damage

The threat of freezing temperatures and frost in California’s San Joaquin Valley—the hub of almond production—have some worried about damage to the almond crop and, ultimately, higher prices. The Blue Diamond Growers Cooperative, which includes more than 3,000 growers, warned that all almond varieties are at risk of loss when temps fall below 28 degrees. Other key agricultural commodities in the area, like citrus fruits, peaches and plums, are also at risk. Read more at CNBC…

 

Why this female founder is investing in organic agriculture for her clothing startup

Meet Satva, an organic athleisure brand developed by Indian entrepreneurs Puja Barar, who brought design expertise from her time in the fashion industry, and Sameer Mehra, who was the managing director at ingredient company Suminter India Organics. They worked directly with organic cotton farmers in India to build a supply chain, secured Global Organic Textile Standard certification and set up a give-back model to fund scholarship programs for young girls in India. Within six months of launching, the brand got picked up by Whole Foods Market. But getting into athletic apparel stores, which tend to focus on performance-based fabrics, has been a tougher endeavor. Read more at Forbes…

 

French food waste law changing how grocery stores approach excess food

At least anecdotally, a 2016 law that banned grocery stores from throwing out edible food has consequently boosted donations to food banks and made more fresh food products available to people who rely on them. It also seems to have laid the foundation for new businesses that help grocery stores better manage their inventory. Read more at NPR…

 

Why authenticity is a key ingredient to entrepreneurial success, and how to make sure you have it

Hiring authentic people, recognizing your weaknesses and talking to everyone are just some of the steps toward becoming effective leader. Read more at My San Antonio…

Natural Products Expo

25 new products making their Expo West debut

In the following slides, Natural Foods Merchandiser showcases exciting products within four industry trends and opportunities identified by New Hope Network’s 2018 Next Forecast report: regenerative agriculture, collaboration, shortened supply chains, and less meat and dairy

It’s important, though, to remember that products don’t drive change. People do. Strategize Expo West by learning more about what’s trending and prioritizing deeper conversations. Instead of asking if a brand is sustainable, ask why. And ask how.

Here's to your best Expo West ever.

NBJ

Trade group advocates for growing plant-based food industry

colorful veggie burgers

The revolution in vegan food is being won in the labs and kitchens, where product development is redefining the category, and on the plates of consumers who find that innovation not just palatable but enjoyable, but that same revolution is being fought in lawsuits and with lobbyists as conventional livestock-based foods ramp up to keep the upstarts down.

It is on those scattered battlefields that the Plant Based Foods Association is helping lead some of the most important changes in food. Being the voice of a rapidly growing category garnering attention and opposition from entrenched interests wins the association the NBJ Efforts on Behalf of Industry Award.

PBFA, a young and aggressive trade group, has stepped up to promote producers and fight labeling laws at a time when the plant-based sector is experiencing remarkable growth—and attracting pushback from threatened dairy and ag industries.

Last year was outstanding for the PBFA-member community. The plant-based food sector shot from a $3.5 billion industry in 2016 to a $5 billion industry in 2017. Sales of plant-based milks alone topped $4.2 billion last year, a 3 percent jump over the previous year, while cow milk sales dropped.

PBFA membership grew correspondingly throughout 2017, from a few dozen companies to nearly 100, with food giant Campbell Soup Company joining as a prized new member in the fall.

The PBFA also took on its first regulatory fight in 2017 and hired a D.C. lobbyist to protest the proposed federal Dairy Pride Act, which would prohibit plant-based food makers from using words such as milk, cheese or yogurt, even with modifiers like soy, almond, vegan or dairy-free.

That bill now appears stalled.

“This has been a very scrappy operation so far,” says PBFA founder and Executive Director Michele Simon. “We built it up member by member. We haven’t had a lot of money. We relied on donations to get started. But now we can take things to the next level.”

PBFA is Simon’s brainchild. A food attorney and policy expert, she hatched the idea in late 2014 after an eye-opening lunch with Miyoko Schinner at Millennium, a gourmet vegan restaurant in Oakland, California. Schinner is the creator of Miyoko’s Kitchen artisan cashew-based cheeses. Back in 2014, she was struggling with what to call her product.

“We were hit with the realization that we couldn’t call it cheese in California,” Schinner remembers.

As a small company based in a small Northern California town, Miyoko’s Kitchen couldn’t fight labeling regulations alone. It became clear to Simon that the plant-based food industry needed a collective voice and resources.

“A lot of these companies are making new types of products that the regulations haven’t caught up with and can’t keep up with. And so they are running up against outdated rules for products,” Simon says.

PBFA launched at Natural Products Expo West 2016 with 22 members. Founders included Daiya Foods, Follow Your Heart, Miyoko’s Kitchen, The Tofurky Company and Upton’s Naturals.

“There is no question that without the Natural Products Expo, none of this would have happened. It almost makes me weepy to think about,” Simon says. “The very first meeting I had was at expo, meeting the right leaders of the companies face-to-face who did not know me. I knew Miyoko, and that was it. With other company leaders, I had to earn their trust, and you don’t do that by email. You do that by looking them in the eye.”

Simon’s timing was perfect.

The innovative plant-based foods sector has been claiming more shelf and cold-case space with vegan meats, yogurts, cheeses and ice creams derived from nuts, oats, legumes and seeds. Creatively, the producers have redefined the category with new tastes and varieties that blow the old meatless wieners out of the kitchen. Just look to Beyond Meat’s new hot Italian sausage or Miyoko’s Smokey Vegan Mozz (mozzarella) for examples. There’s even a Tofuna Fysh out there.

The industry’s rise caught the attention of large conventional producers that wanted in on the action. Tyson Foods, the country’s largest meat producer, invested in Beyond Meat. Nestlé bought Sweet Earth Foods, maker of breakfast meats like Benevolent Bacon. Maple Leaf Foods of Canada, a packaged meats company, acquired Field Roast Grain Meat Co. and Lightlife, maker of Chick’n. And Campbell has a line of pea-based milk under its Bolthouse Farms brand.

Fast Company recently declared a “meatless meat explosion” is coming. And other publications named plant-based as the top food trend to watch in 2018.

Word wars

Of course, industry growth also caught the attention of conventional producers and some lawmakers.

“What comes with that [success] is a lot of opportunity, but also something that traditional food manufacturers—animal-centric producers—start to see as a threat,” says PBFA board president Jaime Athos, CEO of the Tofurky Co. “So, obviously having our own voice in the halls of government becomes more important. We are seeing that now with the Dairy Pride Act. It’s a real risk for our nascent industry if suddenly we won’t be able to communicate accurately with our potential consumers.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) introduced the Dairy Pride Act in Congress early last year, with the intent of "defending against imitations and replacements." Under the bill, if it doesn’t come from a lactating animal, you shouldn’t call it milk, cheese or yogurt. “We’re not trying to fool consumers with the labels,” Athos says in defense. “Consumers are seeking these products out.”

PBFA hired a lobbyist and jumped into action in November.

“Showing up in Washington definitely matters,” Simon says, confident that their lobbying kept that bill from moving forward—for now.

PBFA is braced for more challenges, however, and Simon says she won’t be surprised if a restrictive verbiage like the Dairy Pride Act appears in the upcoming omnibus Farm Bill.

PBFA’s future goals include creating labeling standards, starting with milks (look for an announcement at Expo West in March); educating conventional retailers about the benefits of making more room on their shelves for plant-based foods; and growing the PBFA membership.

Campbell’s legitimizing involvement should help with that.

“We decided early on that this wasn’t going to be an exclusive club of vegan companies,” Simon says.

Campbell Fresh President Ed Carolan said in a statement last fall, “We are committed to providing our consumers with food choices that meet their nutrition, well-being and lifestyle needs. Working together with the Plant Based Foods Association, we can advance our shared goal of bringing more plant-based foods to consumers.”

PBFA is working on that goal by showing conventional retailers data like this:

  • Retail sales of plant-based foods grew 8.1 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to data commissioned from Nielsen.
  • 36 percent of consumers buy plant-based meats, according to Mintel.
  • 36 percent of consumers prefer plant-based milks, according to NBJ research.

“I talked to someone recently who told me she had a different kind of milk in the refrigerator for every member of her family,” Simon says. “Any store that isn’t providing those kinds of options [is] missing out.”

With PBFA, Schinner and Athos say plant-based food businesses are growing stronger together. And maybe a bit more daring.

When first naming her foods in 2014, Schinner landed on “cultured nut product,” as the California Department of Food and Agriculture insisted. But check out the new packaging and label released this winter for her Double Cream Chive Vegan Cheese Wheel. That’s right, it says cheese.

“We are being bold,” Schinner says. “Animal agriculture has their lobbyists and their trade organizations, but we are going to be a formidable force that they will have to reckon with.”

This article is from the February issue of Nutrition Business Journal. Download the full issue with all of the 2017 NBJ Award winners for free here.

 

Natural Products Expo

How General Mills' natural brands make climate a priority

Carla Vernon General Mills

In 2015, General Mills, one of the world's largest food companies, pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its supply chain 28 percent by 2025. That's an ambitious goal that requires the corporation to reach far outside of its own walls; more than two-thirds of GHG emissions occur outside of General Mills' operations.

But it's a goal that Carla Vernon, the new president of its natural and organic operating unit, gets really fired up about. Vernon, who did environmental stewardship work before joining General Mills, took over the role when longtime Annie's President John Foraker stepped down last spring. She oversees the company's portfolio of natural and organic brands, including Annie's, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Epic and Immaculate Baking. 

She talked with us about how the brands she oversees are taking on one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

How is General Mills doing in its goal to reduce GHG emissions 28 percent by 2025?

Carla Vernon: We have a specific and focused set of actions across our businesses to help us deliver this goal. And we’re making steady progress. Our latest records from 2016 show that our GHG emissions fell 2 percent compared to the previous year, which we see as real progress toward our goal. And yet, we still want to push for more improvement.

At our own manufacturing locations such as our yogurt and dairy businesses, we are implementing dairy digester systems to help reduce the acid whey waste generated from production. Investments in sustainability enhancing technology are a key element of our journey. Our long-term goal is to achieve sustainable emissions levels by 2050.

When we calculated these goals, we also determined that we need to make changes in places beyond our own buildings and manufacturing locations. We need to engage our many business partners. For example, we are partnering with growers to advance strategies within agricultural and food production systems. Agriculture is a significant contributor of GHG emissions, and as a food company, we have a crucial role to play in building a new and more sustainable approach to agriculture.

And that is why we’re obsessed with dirt—yes, dirt—as a possible solution. As a young girl, I used to play for hours and hours in the dirt, making mud pies and other imaginary baked goods. So, I’ve come full circle to running a real-life food business that also loves soil. Healthier soil has more diverse micro-ecosystems that play an important role in carbon sequestration. And so, we are focused on the many ways we can advance soil health through research, education initiatives and pilot programs on real farms. We’re still early in our journey here, but we’re beyond excited about advancing healthy soil practices within the supply chain.

Who are the different stakeholder groups that you need to engage on that journey?

CV: Collaboration is crucial if we want to transform our food system and reverse the effects of climate change. It requires new levels of cooperation with farmers, packaging producers, product transport providers, grocery retailers and shoppers. We’re only able to drive progress together, and we’re fortunate to work with phenomenal partners such as the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, Xerces Society, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, and the Sustainability Food Trade Association. These are just a few examples.

Combating climate change also requires teamwork across broader industries and society. Through the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy coalition, we work with many businesses, inside and beyond the food industry, and policymakers to advocate for climate and clean energy policies.

Why are natural and organic brands especially poised to lead the movement toward more climate-friendly practices? 

CV: Shoppers come to natural and organic brands for multiple reasons. But, two reasons seem to tower above the rest: They are seeking a more healthful way of eating, and they want to support brands that are doing acts of good in the world. So, mission and purpose have always been woven into the the DNA of our natural and organic brands.

Because our brands are in the business of food, they are also deeply connected to how we treat the planet and our natural resources through farming and ranching. So, as the third-largest portfolio of natural and organic branded foods, we can do big things. And we are on a mission to use the power of the scale and resources of those brands and our parent company, General Mills. By acting as a collective, we will make a greater impact than any one of our brands would accomplish alone.

Many people are surprised to learn that General Mills is also such a leader in the organic food movement. Through brands like Annie’s and Cascadian Farm, we are partnering with leaders like The Nature Conservancy and the Xerces Society to build ecosystem diversity and soil health, and to protect pollinator habitat. Our next advancement is in the area of introducing new, restorative, eco-friendly ingredients like Kernza wheat (a perennial grain) into our farming practices and our product recipes.

Any examples you can share of an important decision General Mills has made with climate in mind?

CV: We have a bold, almost unreasonable vision for how natural and organic products can help General Mills have a big and positive impact. We believe our opportunity across the natural and organic portfolio is to help set General Mills on a course to become the company most trusted to care for the planet and its people. So, every day that our teams show up to work, they are making decisions with our planet in mind.

To encourage personal engagement by employees, we have made it possible for General Mills employees to participate in recycling programs at work. And recently, we introduced composting into the majority of employee locations. For our manufacturing and product strategy, we want our ingredients and materials sourcing to be both socially and environmentally sustainable. So, we made a commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of our 10 priority ingredients by 2020. And we have global initiatives in place to drive this commitment on ingredients and materials including cocoa, vanilla, oats, U.S. wheat, U.S. sugar beets, U.S. corn, U.S. dairy, fiber packaging, sugarcane and palm oil.

Another example is our commitment to the birds and the bees. Without them, we wouldn’t exist, but their habitats are under threat. General Mills and the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service are donating $4 million over five years to protect and establish pollinator habitat, providing technical assistance to farmers to plant native wildflower field edges and flowering hedgerows, for example.

A third example is our work advancing soil health and regenerative agriculture. General Mills has contributed over $3 million to the partners advancing the U.S. Soil Health Roadmap (the Soil Health Institute, the Soil Health Partnership, the National Wheat Foundation and the Nature Conservancy). Together with our partners, we are helping achieve unprecedented economic benefits for farmers and businesses, as well as helping to conserve food and land conservation for generations to come.  

To put our soil health learnings to the test, General Mills is currently working on various regenerative agriculture pilot programs with our farming partners and brands such as Epic and Annie’s.

Catch Carla Vernon at Natural Products Expo West.
What: Climate Day
When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Where: Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Central

Natural Products Expo

Let's fix food: 5 reasons you can't miss the Esca Bona Story Stage at Expo West

Esca Bona Farmer

Consumers are waking up to what’s in their food and where and how it is made. Innovations throughout the supply chain are disrupting even the most modern of food inventions and enabling companies to unravel much of what has been done to food over the last 75 years. Transparency, big data, the rise of social entrepreneurship and a new social awareness of health are creating a new landscape for suppliers, manufacturers, brands, retailers and investors. Welcome to the Esca Bona Story Stage at Natural Products Expo West 2018. We’ve got a spot for you. You can't miss it.

Here's why.

1. You'll hear inspiring stories from people who are pioneering big changes in our food system.

Esca Bona remains a hub for collaboration, connection and partnership. Trendsetting entrepreneurs and visionary business leaders from across the supply chain will come together to amplify the positive changes happening in food. 

2. You’ll leave empowered.

What we consume each day plays a powerful role in who we are. At our daily tables, we hold beliefs, passions, assumptions, preferences and stories. Join us as we examine food on a new level, together, to find deeper meaning and strengthen community, trust and compassion. With the help of thought leaders, we’ll explore how the role of social entrepreneurship, tackling food waste, creating good jobs, supporting regenerative agriculture and addressing poverty will pave the way for a better food future for all.

We've gathered a fantastic lineup of speakers to share their stories. To name a few:

  • Mark Rampolla (Powerplant Ventures) will share the value of social entrepreneurship and how impact business can (and does) thrive.
  • Patrick Bultema (FoodMaven) will share groundbreaking systems that impact food waste at scale.
  • Denis Ring and Scott Kucirek (OCHO Candy) will showcase the intrinsic link between good food, good jobs and thriving communities.
  • Judith Ackerman (Metro Caring) will share how a Denver-based nonprofit organization is sustaining a business model that addresses hunger at its root.

There's much more in store. See the full schedule here.

3. You’ll feel at home.

Whether you’ve attended an Esca Bona conference in the past or not, you will be welcomed within this growing and vibrant community—we can't wait to meet you! Esca Bona is not your average “sit and get” conference program during which only the speakers do the talking and your only job is to listen. It is our hope that you build relationships and ideas together that extend far beyond Anaheim (and continue in Austin in October).

4. Rose. Marcario.

From 2:00-2:30 p.m. at the Esca Bona Story Stage, Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, will take the stage as our keynote speaker. Patagonia is leading the pack for what is means to do good business at scale. You won't want to miss this.

5. You'll catch some sunshine at a brand new stage at Expo West.

What sounds better than sitting outside on a Saturday afternoon at Expo West, listening to stories from food renegades and fellow distruptors?

Can we count you in?

What: Esca Bona Story Stage (Sponsored by 301 Inc.)
When: 12:30-2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 10, 2018
NEW LOCATION: Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Central