There's a new consumer binary at play

The NEXT Innovation Summit debuted at Expo West this year with a pivot -- in tone and audience -- to better address the industry dynamics of natural products more broadly. In the opening keynote, editors from Nutrition Business Journal and Functional Ingredients laid out a "new consumer binary" shaping trends and product innovation throughout the industry. Here are a few highlights, and click the button below for a full download of the slides.

4 faces, 1 voice

The energy in natural products seems to come from surprising places these days. Consider Josh Tetrick at Hampton Creek Foods, replacing the battery-caged egg in our food supply with plant proteins. Or Jessica Richman at uBiome, charting a path toward citizen-led science. Or Ron Finley and his "gangster gardening" movement. Or Larry Smarr on the bleeding edge of the quantified self movement. All of these faces bring fresh voices of change directly into the natural products industry. They also bring new skill skets and fresh thinking about how to affect that change.


Food reform is just the tip of the iceberg. Disruption is flourishing across the social fabrics we all enjoy. To live in the 21st century is to live in a time of uncertainty, groundlessness, and a real hunger for systems approaches that unpack the problems hanging over us as a culture -- climate change, diabesity, decreasing standards of living and life expectancies. How does this manifest in food? GMO for one. It's the food villain that just won't go away.

What will you give up? 

Natural, local, alternative, organic, fair, small ... all of these resonate so well with consumers because the conventional choices are no longer attractive. Our challenges are daunting, even depressing. What are you willing to give up?


Unpacking conventional wisdom brings lots of hallowed truths back into play -- cholesterol as killer, multivitamins as saviour -- and introduces new ones like inflammation as a systemic scourge to health and nutrient density as the real play for healthy food, regardless of its delivery format.


So what becomes of the old approach to product development? Do the distinctions between, say, organic yogurt, functional foods and dietary supplements still apply? Is there any space left in the consumer psyche for these three distinct propositions?


Maybe not. Maybe there's pressure at the edges forcing the industry into a new consumer binary wherein natural & organic gets a little closer to functional by baking in nutrient-dense ingredients ... call them "naturally functional." Supplements also cozy up to food by moving away from pills and embracing natural, organic, and nutrient-dense formulations. The advance of plant proteins and whole-food supplements are just two examples of the move in market.



The bright minds at Functional Ingredients closed out the presentation with some specific ingredient call-outs. Here's a peek inside the editor's mind for where not to focus your attention going forward.


And here's the view from the roller coaster, as the people's doctor continues to send ripples throughout nutrition's supply chain. Which of these star ingredients can stand the test of time?


Or you can skip the roller coaster. How about these ingredients instead? Behold a Top 10 list of ingredients destined to change the world as they work their way through those systems in heady flux, from innovation and product development to PR and cultural acceptance. These are the star performers in nutrition's future.

Tate & Lyle expands commercial operations in Japan

Tate & Lyle expands commercial operations in Japan

Tate & Lyle, a leading global provider of specialty food ingredients and solutions, announces the expansion of its direct sales capabilities in Japan and the opening of a new office in Tokyo. This initiative, which is in line with Tate & Lyle’s strategy to grow its speciality food ingredients business in Asia Pacific, will enable Japanese food and beverage customers to gain direct access to Tate & Lyle’s team of experts to develop the next generation of food and beverage products.

“Japan’s food and beverage companies are highly innovative, so they expect nothing less than world-class experts to help them create new products,” said Joan Braca, senior vice president and general manager, Asia-Pacific. “Tate & Lyle has the expertise, passion and innovation capabilities to work side-by-side with Japanese companies to help them bring new and exciting products to market.”

Tate & Lyle’s global network of Applications and Technical Service laboratories include four in the Asia Pacific region located in Melbourne, Brisbane, Shanghai and Singapore. These facilities provide applications development, rapid prototyping, complete formulation and process and evaluation expertise to help food and beverage customers move quickly from idea to market.

In addition to these customer-facing facilities, Tate & Lyle’s Asia Pacific support includes sales teams and distribution partners in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Tate & Lyle also recently announced the expansion of its manufacturing presence in the region by signing an agreement to acquire Winway Biotechnology, a leading Chinese polydextrose speciality fibre business.

Joan Braca added, “The expansion of our direct sales capabilities in Japan will provide us with a better understanding of the challenges faced by our customers and how best to help them meet consumer demands for better, tastier and more healthy products.”


Safeway commits to sustainable palm oil

Safeway commits to sustainable palm oil

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY), the second-largest grocery chain in the U.S., has agreed to give preference to suppliers of 100 percent verified sustainable palm oil and set a goal of using only sustainable palm oil in all of its Safeway brand products. As a result of the company’s new policy, the New York State Common Retirement Fund (the Fund) has withdrawn its sustainable palm oil shareholder proposal. The Fund held 2,413,562 shares of Safeway with a market value of $63,597,359 as of the end of the State Fiscal Year March 31, 2013.

“Safeway is sending a strong message to its suppliers that safeguarding the environment is a business priority,” DiNapoli said. “Shoppers don’t see where the palm oil used in hundreds of products comes from, but often it’s harvested in ways that destroy rainforests and leads to climate change. Safeway’s new policy protects the company and its shareholders from reputational harm associated with environmental destruction.”

Harvesting palm oil from unsustainable sources has been linked to deforestation—the cause of an estimated 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the destruction of rain forests and the promotion of climate change—all of which can cause reputational and operational damage to companies in the supply chain.  

DiNapoli’s agreement was applauded by the Rainforest Action Network, which has engaged with Safeway for several years with a goal of increasing the company’s use of sustainable palm oil.

“Safeway has made a bold move by publicly committing to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain, which will reduce the company’s environmental and social impact,” said Ginger Cassady, program director at Rainforest Action Network. “By directly engaging its suppliers to tackle the urgent issue of rainforest destruction, Safeway will ensure that its values are upheld throughout its palm oil supply chain and will prevent reputational risk for the company.”

Under its new policy, Safeway will:

  • Ask suppliers to provide palm oil and palm derivatives for its products that are verified to be free of deforestation, free of expansion on carbon–rich peat lands, not developed or expanded on illegal or customary use lands without the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and free of human rights violations including forced and child labor, human trafficking and poor working conditions.
  • Complete an accounting of its palm oil and palm derivative usage for all Safeway branded items in June 2014.
  • Source one million pounds of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil for Safeway branded items in 2014. The company reports that, as of April 1, 2014, it is more than halfway toward that goal.
  • Set its sustainable palm oil goals and evaluate its progress during 2014, and set new targets for 2015 and 2016.
  • Report annually, through its Corporate Social Responsibility website and through other external reporting, on its progress towards sourcing 100% responsibly produced palm oil and palm oil derivatives.



There's a new consumer binary at play

The NEXT Innovation Summit debuted at Expo West this year with a pivot -- in tone and audience -- to better address the industry dynamics of natural products more broadly. In the opening keynote, editors from Nutrition Business Journal and Functional Ingredients laid out a "new consumer binary" shaping trends and product innovation throughout the industry. Here are a few highlights, and click the button below for a full download of the slides.

Fewer kids at risk for deficient vitamin D

Fewer kids at risk for deficient vitamin D

Under new guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, the estimated number of children who are at risk of having insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D is drastically reduced from previous estimates, according to a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study.

The study, led by Holly Kramer, MD, MPH, and Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, PhD, is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism.

New Institute of Medicine guidelines say most people get sufficient vitamin D when their blood levels are at or above 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The Pediatric Endocrine Society has a similar guideline. However, other guidelines recommend vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL.

Loyola researchers studied vitamin D data from a nationally representative sample of 2,877 U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study found that under the Institute of Medicine guidelines, 10.3 percent of children ages 6 to 18 are at risk of inadequate or deficient vitamin D levels. (This translates to an estimated 5.5 million children.)

By comparison, a 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics, which defined sufficient vitamin D levels as greater than 30 ng/mL, found that an estimated 70 percent of people ages 1 to 21 had deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels.

Under previous guidelines, millions of children who had vitamin D levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL would have needed supplementation. Under the Institute of Medicine guidelines, children in this range no longer need to take vitamin D supplements.

The new study found that children at risk of vitamin D deficiency under the Institute of Medicine guidelines are more likely to be overweight, female, non-white and between the ages of 14 and 18.

The Institute of Medicine’s new vitamin D guidelines are based on nearly 1,000 published studies and testimony from scientists and other experts. The IOM found that vitamin D is essential to avoid poor bone health, such as rickets. But there have been conflicting and mixed results in studies on whether vitamin D can also protect against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Moreover, excessive vitamin D can damage the kidneys and heart, the IOM found.



Herza showcases energy, protein bars

Herza showcases energy, protein bars

As a renowned manufacturer of quality functional chocolate, HERZA is focusing on attractive new products in the functional bar category at this year's Finished Products Europe trade fair in Geneva. Marketers of sport nutrition, diet foods, and health and lifestyle products can examine the flavour and consistency of a wide variety of energy and protein bars at HERZA's booth (No. 11016) and at the "Tasting Bar."

New bars with very high protein content and attractive look
The energy and protein bar category is seeing sustained, above-average growth. With the new HERZA developments, marketers can generate additional revenue. Among the many new product ideas are protein bars with an exceptionally high 58 percent protein content. They are particularly suitable for casual as well as more ambitious athletes who want to keep calories down while building muscle mass. In the diet category, the company has developed a fibre bar that features an extremely long satiety effect. The "Colour-Snackers" are an absolute eye catcher—the world's first single-colour multilayer bars. The bar and fruit filling have the same attention-getting colour as the outside glaze. Whether red, green or other nuances, these colourful bars offer the potential for unique product differentiation in the bar category. The same goes for the new "White pure Chocolate" protein bar, made entirely of chocolate. HERZA also offers milk chocolate with high protein content. The company is one of only a few to produce functional chocolate with 40 percent less sugar and five times the protein of normal chocolate. The product has many uses, for example in sport bars or diet products.

HERZA offers standard formulations, but specializes in tailor-made products that help customers set themselves apart from the competition. The company can also draw on the knowledge and technical resources of its sister companies within the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, whether it is the nutrition specialist SternVitamin or SternMaid for the production of bar base mixes. Thanks to this networked cooperation within the Group, customers can get complete solutions from a single source, from product development to manufacture of the base mix to production and packaging of the bars, which HERZA does at its own production facility. With the help of modern technology, the company can make bars in different formats, from 35 grams to 100 grams. Their length, width and thickness can be configured individually as desired by the customer.



DSM invites entrepreneurs to innovation conference

DSM invites entrepreneurs to innovation conference

DSM Nutritional Products, the global leader in nutritional ingredients, invites entrepreneurs to connect with key DSM executives to explore business collaborations and investment opportunities.

The conference is sponsored by DSM’s Human Nutrition & Health unit and will be held at DSM’s North American headquarters in Parsippany, N.J., on June 25 to 26, 2014. Finalists will be announced by May 14, 2014, and invited to the conference.

DSM is seeking entries for innovative technologies and products in the following areas:

  • Memory enhancing ingredients
  • Cognition enhancing ingredients for children
  • Ingredients providing sustained energy benefits
  • Blood glucose lowering ingredients
  • New fibers with digestive health benefits
  • Natural colorants and natural antioxidants
  • Dietary solutions for food intolerances (e.g., for fructose, salicylates etc.) and allergies
  • Disruptive formulation technologies for micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, PUFA’s, phytonutrients, and dietary enzymes)
  • Non-invasive diagnostics to assess levels of micronutrients in the human body

The DSM Innovation Partnering Conference includes a half-day Learning Academy designed to inform and educate attendees as to how DSM collaborates with small businesses at all stages of the supply chain, works to co-develop products, and invests in startups with innovative human health and nutrition solutions. The half-day Learning Academy will be taught by senior DSM executives from R&D, Innovation, Sales & Marketing, Regulatory and Venturing. The Learning Academy will be followed by one-hour business plan presentations by each invited company—30 minute presentations followed by 30 minutes of discussion with senior DSM personnel, including members from our Corporate Venturing organization.

Each company will be assigned mentors from Nutrition Capital Network (NCN) and DSM to help develop their presentation prior to the conference. Post-event mentoring from a DSM executive will be available on a case by case basis and all selected candidates will be considered for an investment by DSM Venturing or for another type of collaboration with DSM Human Nutrition and Health.

A selection committee of DSM and NCN executives will evaluate and interact with applicants to determine the invited companies

Presenters will likely fall into two groups:

  • Early Stage Companies = 1 – 3 years to commercialization
  • Seed Stage Companies > 3 years to commercialization

The application process is free and due by May 9, 2014. In addition, DSM will provide hotel accommodations for the selected finalist applicants.  Other travel arrangements will be the responsibility of the conference attendees. For applications, please visit

Frutarom moves into omega-3s

Frutarom Switzerland Ltd., Health BU Switzerland, announces its entry into the omega-3 market with high quality and deodorized DHA and EPA marine-sourced omega-3 ingredients designed for a variety of food and beverage applications and dietary supplements.

EPA and DHA omega-3 are vital nutrients that help every cell in the body to function optimally. However, the major problem most consumers face is that they are not getting enough EPA and DHA in their diets, due to the lack of intake of foods rich in omega-3.

Numerous studies confirm the beneficial effects of omega3 for multiple health indications such cardiovascular health, brain development and cognitive performance, eye health, inflammation and general well-being. While this nutrients are vital across a range of consumers, there are key categories such as infant development, and healthy aging where a supplements containing omega-3 merit second consideration.

“As the leading provider of specialty fine ingredients, flavors and savory solutions, Frutarom has excellent access into the food and beverage industries, enabling it to help food manufacturers fortify food with omega-3,” explained Holger Riemensperger, general manager of Frutarom Health. “Thanks to Frutarom’s expertise, we can easily implement the new line into any food matrix, such as dairy, bakery, baby food, cereals, oils, confectionary, beverages, etc. It is both deodorized and without any negative impact on the taste.”

The number of new food and drinks products marketed as containing omega 3 fatty acids has risen significantly in recent years, according to Innova Market Insights’ research, nearly trebling over the 2007 to 2013 period. The share of these types of products rose from 1.5 percent of total food and drinks launches tracked globally in 2011 to 1.6 percent in 2012, with a further rise to 1.9 percent evident for 2013. Baby foods was the leading category for omega 3 claims in 2013, accounting for 17.8 percent of tracked products.

“This step combines Frutarom’s two great strengths of strong market access and deep experience in science-based health ingredients, and follows the company’s strategic move last year into the functional food market,” noted Riemensperger. “Omega-3 perfectly fits the Health Business Unit strategy of focusing on scientifically proven, high quality health ingredients.”

The new omega-3 line is produced using the latest technology and controlled sourcing of high-end raw materials. The new line also includes omega-3 high concentrates for use in dietary supplements, allowing a higher concentration of DHA and EPA content, and thus a smaller size of soft gels, making it easier to take.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Mrs. Green's Natural Market announces opening in West Windsor, N.J.

Mrs. Green's Natural Market announces opening in West Windsor, N.J.

Mrs. Green’s Natural Market ( will open its first market in the state of New Jersey this week at 64 Princeton Hightstown Road, West Windsor, with an open house event from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday to introduce the new store to the community. The store will officially open for business Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be held in collaboration with the “GRO” Chapter of the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce at 7:45 a.m.

Mrs. Green’s will donate 5 percent of proceeds during the store’s first week up to a $10,000 total to America’s Grow-A-Row, a nonprofit providing a positive impact through volunteer efforts of planting, picking, rescuing and delivering fresh produce to food desert areas in New Jersey.

“Mrs. Green’s Natural Market is rapidly expanding with a strong foundation established in the Northeast,” CEO Robin S. Michel said. “We’re excited to bring our unique concept of all-natural, organic products to the communities of West Windsor, Princeton and the surrounding areas.”

Scheduled events during the grand opening festivities include the following:

  • Open House – Thursday 6-8:30 p.m., a free, family friendly event featuring live entertainment, food and beverage samplings and a dedicated children’s activity area.
  • Official ribbon cutting ceremony and store opening – Friday 7:45-8 a.m.
  • Executive chef demonstrations – Thursday and Friday 6-8 p.m.; Saturday 1-2 p.m.
  • Field Trip Factory Think Global, Eat Local program introduction for teachers and educators – Friday 4-7 p.m.
  • America’s Grow-A-Row educational events – Saturday 11 a.m.-noon; Sunday 2-3 p.m.
  • WPST-FM (94.5) prize wheel – Saturday 12-2 p.m.

Offering natural, organic products that are locally sourced is a primary focus for Mrs. Green’s, which partnered with Philadelphia-based nonprofit Fair Food to identify local vendors who could help reach this goal. In-store samplings from these vendors will be offered throughout the weekend of March 28-30.

The 22,500 square-foot store is conveniently located about three miles southeast of Princeton University. Regular store hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Mrs. Green’s Natural Market announces expansion plans for 2014

Mrs. Green’s Natural Market announces expansion plans for 2014

Mrs. Green’s Natural Market ( on March 18 announced large-scale expansion plans for 2014. The neighborhood store plans to open over 20 new locations this year across the Northeast and Midwest U.S. and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Alberta.

Spring grand openings will include West Windsor, N.J., on March 28 and New Canaan, Conn., on April 11. Mrs. Green’s plans to open additional stores in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Virginia and Washington, D.C., this year. Specific addresses and grand opening dates for additional stores will be announced at a later time.

“Mrs. Green’s Natural Market is based upon the idea that good food is both good for you and good for the environment,” CEO Robin S. Michel said. “Every product in our store is organic or all-natural. We want to provide our customers with safe, healthy food options that will help them to take care of their health, while also taking care of our planet.”

Every Mrs. Green’s Natural Market includes:

  • 100% organic produce
  • All-natural meats and dairy—no added preservatives, dyes or hormones
  • Fair Trade coffee
  • Fresh baked artisan breads
  • Locally sourced food and beverages

As part of their commitment to health and wellness, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market also has nutritionists on staff to answer questions and provide recommendations for daily nutrition needs.

The first Mrs. Green’s Natural Market opened in Scarsdale, N.Y., in 1990. Today, there are a total of 18 Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets currently in operation in the U.S. and Canada. The current target is to have 40 stores open by the end of this year with the long-term goal of reaching 100 stores over the next few years.

“Mrs. Green’s has spent a lot of time carefully researching potential areas for expansion,” Michel said. “We’re excited to bring our passion for all that is good to these new communities.”

About Mrs. Green’s Natural Market

Mrs. Green’s Natural Market ( is a subsidiary of Natural Markets Food Group (, a privately-owned business that consists of retail food stores and food service restaurants. The company operates over 30 locations in the U.S. and Canada, and is based in Irvington, N.Y.