What happens if I go viral overnight?

Going viral in the blink of an eye can be the best—or worst—thing to happen to new natural CPG companies. On one hand, you instantly have hordes of consumers clamoring for your product and retailers lining up to place orders. On the other hand, demand just ballooned to such an insane level that now you’re left scrambling to keep up. Don’t let a good thing sink your brand. Annie Lawless, cofounder of Suja—which went viral overnight—offers expert advice for weathering the storm.

How to work with volatile ingredient markets

If you work with raw materials that are not commodities, not super-prolific crops or not grown in the U.S., you’ll likely hit more sourcing snags than, say, the guys who use only corn. It gets even dicier for small startups that can’t afford to buy big quantities or tie up too much capital in backup ingredients. Blake Niemann, founder and president of eatKeenwa Krunch, knows these challenges all too well. Here, he explains how his company mitigates risks in the volatile quinoa market. 

Expo West 2014 editor's picks: Personal care

The natural personal care category had so much to offer at Natural Products Expo West, from natural scents inspired by juicing trends to scientifically-backed sexual health products. New Hope Deputy Editor and resident beauty expert Jessica Rubino breaks down the most exciting brands in the category.

NeoCell wins 2 Delicious Living Beauty & Body Awards

NeoCell wins 2 Delicious Living Beauty & Body Awards

Two NeoCell collagen products have earned top awards from the editors of Delicious Living magazine.

NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer was named Best New Product in the Delicious Living 2014 Beauty & Body Awards. In their review, the editors said of the product: "Beyond moisturizing frazzled or thinning tresses, this works from the inside out with antioxidant vitamin C and bioavailable keratin for hair strength and brightness."

NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer is proof that better hair really can come in a pill. This breakthrough product utilizes Cynatine HNS, a patented form of solubilized keratin. That makes it easy for the body to absorb and utilize. These tablets also contain NeoCell's famous BioActive Super Collagen. Research suggests that collagen supplementation stimulates fibroblasts in the hair root, resulting in increased diameter of the hair shaft.

NeoCell Beauty Bursts won the top spot in the Best Healthy Aging category in the Delicious Living 2014 Supplement Awards. The judges said Beauty Bursts are "a tasty way to get extra support for healthy skin, hair and nails—plus joints and bones."

NeoCell Beauty Bursts are all-natural soft collagen chews that deliver the company's Super Collagen along with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. It's a supplement, but don't be fooled—you'll swear you're eating a treat. This is the second Delicious Living award for Beauty Bursts, which have also won awards from several other magazines.

Both products—like all NeoCell products—are all-natural and contain no artificial ingredients, gluten, soy or palm oil.

"I'm always excited to see the latest from NeoCell, a brand that's truly raising the bar in the beauty-from-within space and bringing nutricosmetics into the modern woman's beauty lexicon," said Jessica Rubino of New Hope Natural Media. "NeoCell's delicious Beauty Bursts remain a favorite around the New Hope office, getting collagen newbies on board with the ingredient."

"We are honored to have two of our products take top spots in the Delicious Living awards," said Jessica Mulligan, vice president of sales and marketing for NeoCell. "They put a premium on innovation, and that was important to us in developing both Beauty Bursts and Keratin Hair Volumizer."



Vitafoods South America: regulatory, marketing & science

Vitafoods South America: regulatory, marketing & science

The organizers behind Vitafoods South America 2014 have released details of the Conference agenda for this year’s exhibition. The program, which covers regulatory affairs, marketing and science, has been designed to help companies better understand the functional foods and nutraceutical industry, gain insight into market opportunities and, ultimately, do business on the continent. 
The new Regulatory Panel covers regulatory affairs relating to ingredients, bioactive compounds and labelling, through a series of interactive panel discussions created to give delegates intelligence on how to navigate the industry’s legislative complexities simply and effectively.
Experts from Nestlé, Cargill and Danone provide delegates with critical information on how to quickly access the market and transform their business by minimizing mistakes when preparing health claims documentation, new ingredient claims, nutrition labelling and nutritional harmonization in South America. The regulatory debates take place from 09:00 to 11:00 on April 8 and 9, 2014, also feature experts from CONBRAFITO, ABIAD and RNI Conseil, delivering a 360 degree perspective of the functional foods, drinks and nutraceutical industry. 
Following on from the Regulatory Panel program at the start of each day, the Conference splits into two streams: Marketing stream and Scientific stream.

In the Marketing Conference, a series of workshops look at the latest issues and trends in the industry. Aimed at those in the marketing function, these sessions take common problems and analyze them in a practical way, giving practical tips to ensure products get to market successfully.

Euromonitor International opens the session with a presentation on the Top 10 Trends in Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals, followed by Kantar Worldpanel looking at the Most Popular Functional Foods in Brazil.

Unilever, together with Equilibrium Consultoria, is running a debate on How to explain the health claims of your products, whilst Sanavita uncovers the secrets surrounding Marketing to Different Consumer Groups—Children, Women, Men and the Elderly. Team Creatif is also set to give an insightful session on How Packaging Can Help Promote a Product.  
Chris Lee, Vitafoods portfolio director, commented: “Functional foods and nutraceuticals are big news in Latin America, creating a market which is expected to be worth $13 billion by 2017.Consumers are more interested in their health and well-being than ever before, meaning there is a huge opportunity for companies to develop—and deliver—products which meet these needs. However, we recognize that the market is diverse and the launch process complex, so we have designed a Conference program which examines the most common issues and ideas for successful market access. Through our cross-section of speakers, we give delegates access to more consumer insights than ever before, providing valuable information on market opportunities which could shape the future of their business.”
Scientific Conference
Taking place alongside the Marketing sessions is the Scientific Conference, focusing on the latest research developments from across the functional food and nutraceutical industries. Coordinated by Professor Franco Lajolo from The University of São Paulo, the Conference features experts from leading universities and institution, covering topics such as Inflammation, Food & Nutrition for an Ageing Population, Future Challenges: Research & Opportunities and New Insights into Bioactive Compounds. 
Over the last decade, life expectancy in Brazil has increased dramatically—from 45 in 1950 to 74 today, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). As a result, the country is faced with the new challenge of taking care of an ageing population, a topic which is explored in the Food & Nutrition for an Ageing Population session at the Scientific Conference. Jorge Mancini Filho, Professor of Pharmaceutical Science at The University of São Paulo examines the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health and the brain as well as loss of muscle mass in the elderly and how this can be prevented. Following on from this, Lígia A. Martini, PhD from the School of Public Health looks at another issue affecting the elderly in her session on Vitamin D: New functions, deficiencies in Brazil, and Intake Recommendations, whilst Prof. Ursula Lanfer from The University of São Paulo delves into Lutein: New findings relating to Ocular aspects and cognition. A presentation from Frutarom on the role and new findings on vitamin K2 concludes the session and closes day one of the Conference. 
On day two, Professor Tomas Ong, from The University of São Paulo opens the session on Future Challenges: Research & Opportunities with a presentation on the Human Microbiome and the Development of Functional Foods. 
A session looking at New Insights into Bioactive Compounds begins with a presentation on The Brazil Nut as a Source of Antioxidants. Violeta Niborksi, a senior scientist from Danone subsequently examines The Role of the Probiotic in Prolonging Life and Immunity. Paulo César Stringheta from the Universidade Federal de Vicosa goes on to explore Biodiversity, looking particularly at the Regional Polyphenols in fruits. 
Luis Madi, president at the Food Technology Institute (ITAL) said: “The third edition of Vitafoods South America is bringing together the most important and strategic themes for the future of the functional food and nutraceutical industry. The Marketing stream presents valuable information to help manufacturers create successful products leveraging analysis on trends, consumer behavior and regulatory affairs, as well as tips about strategies for communicating with clients.
“The Scientific stream highlights new developments for example in the prevention of muscle decline and healthy ageing. New opportunities and challenges concerning human genomes, epigenetic personalised nutrition and biodiversity with regional fruits is also going to be explored. The knowledge generated by the sessions will certainly contribute to increasing the supply of functional foods and nutraceuticals, with the resulting improvement in the nutritional quality of food produced and consumed in the country.” 

Chris Lee concludes: “The Vitafoods South America Conference was extremely successful in 2013, largely thanks to the expert line-up of speakers and the practical nature of the workshops. Our aim is to bring marketing and science together, to address the hottest topics affecting the industry—and we believe we have achieved just that in this program line-up.”


How Upstart Kombucha rebranded to appeal to naturals

How Upstart Kombucha rebranded to appeal to naturals

It took thousands of years to perfect the kombucha brewing process, but making this ancient, fermented tea came naturally for entrepreneur Josh Garner.

A brewer at heart, Garner first proved his chops crafting microbrews for a small, Oregon-based brewery. He later turned his attention to brewing kombucha. “In my mid-twenties I quit drinking, but I really missed the brewing process,” explains Garner. “Kombucha is all the fun, but without the hangover.”

Indeed, with burgeoning retail sales and growing enthusiasm about locally made kombucha, it’s clear consumers think this fizzy, ancient beverage is pretty fun, too.

After moving to Boulder, Colorado, to pursue a job in the city’s booming software market, Josh met Brian McKinney and Caleb Hanson—friends who shared his enthusiasm for kombucha. Garner applied the beer brewing techniques he learned in Oregon to a few batches made with a neighbor’s SCOBY (the mushroom-like patty that ferments the tea, and stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).

Though there isn’t a standard kombucha style, many companies first brew a base kombucha using tea, sugar, and SCOBY, and then add various fruit juices for flavor afterwards. In contrast, Garner prefers to make kombucha with interesting ingredients like rose buds, rosemary, sage, and more while it brews—a process that yields more pronounced, seasoned flavor. “For me, the focus has always been to use really good tea and ingredients … I like to layer flavors from the start,” he says.

The kombucha was superb, and it was a hit among their friends and families. Shortly later, they founded BCJ Beverage Company, and launched Zeel Kombucha in the Rocky Mountain region (dubbed for the group’s “zeal” to create a great product and share with the people that keep them going).

Zeel Kombucha came in bright, punchy packaging, and each of the four flavors was named with cheeky monikers such as Blue Roy (blueberry rooibos), Grandpa’s Tonic (refreshing and herbal), Bloom Box (light floral notes), and Lemon Ginger Paradise (gingery and peppery). Local natural products retailers and cafes adored the stuff. 

But after several months, the trio realized that their Technicolor packaging didn’t resonate with seasoned kombucha drinkers—the folks who could become their brand’s core fans—it seemed too conventional. “We weren’t trying to enter the mainstream market,” says Garner. “We just wanted to make sure we didn’t turn anyone away. Kombucha is good for everyone, and we wanted our packaging to reflect that.” But a change was needed in order to compete for the organic kale-eating crowd.

A rebrand ensued.

Designed to both maintain the energy of Zeel’s former packaging, but also appeal to a more “natural” consumer, Upstart Kombucha was born. The kombucha flavors didn’t change, but they adopted more sophisticated, clear names. For example, Grandpa’s Tonic became Herbal Green, and the confusing Bloom Box became Rose Bud. Whereas Zeel’s packaging was shrink-wrapped around the entire bottle, consumers can now see the color of each Upstart Kombucha flavor—a move that hints at the company’s use of high-quality, mostly organic ingredients.

“The kombucha crowd is such as cool, small community,” says Garner. “It's fun to talk about—loyal kombucha drinkers love to turn other people onto it.” Though the rebrand is just hitting store shelves now, Upstart’s fresh, ahem, start, is surely a harbinger of more kombucha sales to come.  

Botanical ID workshop: register today, save $400

Botanical ID workshop: register today, save $400

Role of Flash Chromatography in Botanical Identity & cGMP Compliance
Supported by Grace Discovery Sciences & James Neal-Kababick of Flora Research Laboratories

April 17 to 18 in Deerfield, Ill.
Space limited to first 10 registrants
Cost: On or before March 24: $1,995.00; after March 24: $2,395.00

Course description
The advent of the Food Safety Modernization Act has imposed tighter regulations on the dietary supplement and natural products industries. This stresses the importance of robust testing methods for identification of botanical ingredients. In this workshop you will learn how to use automated flash chromatography as a tool to isolate botanical components, uncover adulterants, reduce sample preparation time and create reference standards. Get hands-on experience using modern flash chromatography in conjunction with other analytical techniques to accurately determine purity and verify identity of botanical ingredients. Isolation methods for common botanicals are included in the course materials.

Who should attend?

  • Regulatory compliance personnel
  • Laboratory personnel
  • Method development chemists
  • QA/QC chemists
  • Natural products researchers
  • Anyone isolating and/or purifying botanicals, vitamins, carbohydrates, unknown/clandestine compounds or small molecules

About the presenter
James Neal-Kababick is the founder and Director of Flora Research Laboratories (FRL) which specializes in the research and analysis of botanicals, dietary supplements and related compounds.  He is also adjunct faculty at Bastyr University where he teaches botanical drug identification by microscopy and thin layer chromatography.  In addition to his work at the private research lab and university, he serves on multiple expert committees for AOAC, USP, NIH, AHPA and others.  Currently, his work is focused on the utilization of modern analytical technologies in the investigation of dietary supplements and other agricultural products.  


8 exceptional vegan products from Expo West 2014

Whether they be cheese doppelgängers or never-before-seen snacks, Expo West 2014 played host to bushels of natural products for the plant-based eater.

We tasted sophisticated ways to use popular ingredients, such as spoonable chia eaten like yogurt, chickpea-cocoa dip, and retooled vegan stalwarts such as craveable seitan bacon.

So eat your hearts out, vegans. Here are the new top players in town.

Rousselot shows Peptan, Synergy Systems in Sao Paulo

 Rousselot shows Peptan, Synergy Systems in Sao Paulo

Global leader in gelatine and collagen peptides, Rousselot®, will be showcasing its exciting range of functional food ingredients at this year’s Vitafoods South America in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company will present its award-winning Peptan® collagen peptides, as well as its extensive range of gelatine solutions. Rousselot representatives will in particular highlight Peptan’s scientifically proven ability to deliver specific health benefits, revealing the latest clinical study to support the ingredients’ efficacy. This will be of particular interest to manufacturers in Brazil, where the health and wellness market has more than doubled in the last six years, growing from $33.8m in 2007 to $70.4m in 2013.

Safe and reliable collagen peptides
Highly digestible and bioactive ingredients, Peptan collagen peptides are safe, natural sources of protein. Manufactured in state-of-the-art Rousselot production facilities in Brazil and France, Peptan collagen peptides offer unique biofunctional benefits not found in other protein sources.

A convergent body of research has proven Peptan’s ability to deliver joint health, skin beauty and sports nutrition benefits. The most recent insights on the efficacy of these functional ingredients will be delivered by Fernando Blüguermann, regional technical support and applications manager, at Vitafoods South America during the seminar ‘Peptan collagen: updates on the latest research and market development.’ This will include the recent clinical study on the effect of Peptan on joint health, carried out in partnership with the Shanghai 6th People’s Hospital of Shanghai Jiaotong University in China. The seminar will be held at 15:40 on April 8 in the Seminar Theatre.

In addition to aiding joint health, a regular intake of Peptan has been shown in numerous other scientific studies to boost collagen in skin and combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A pure and easily digestible protein, Peptan promotes satiety which is helpful for weight management, and supports muscle regeneration, which can assist recovery after exercise.

At the show, Rousselot will highlight its Peptan collagen peptides in both HD (high density) and fast-solubilizing LD (low density) formats, showcasing their unrivalled ability to meet all application requirements.

Peptan will be available to sample in several exciting applications such as delicious sugar-free Peptan ice-cream with joint health benefits. A range of beverages containing Peptan, including fruit juice and protein drinks with added skin beauty and joint health advantages will also be available.

Synergy Systems: innovative ingredients
Rousselot’s market-leading gelatine expertise will be demonstrated through its innovative Synergy Systems range. Each of the Synergy Systems features a combination of gelatines or a gelatine mixed with an additional ingredient, such as pectin, to synergistically boost its overall functionality and provide unique solutions to common formulation challenges. Easy-to-use, these carefully-selected blends offer a variety of functionalities; they can improve texture, taste, or stability, for example, as well as support the development of better-for-you products.

To find out more about Rousselot’s extensive range of functional ingredient solutions, visit the team at booth 305.

14 ways to optimize your web presence in 2014

14 ways to optimize your web presence in 2014

Something about the New Year makes us want to start fresh. We reach for the clean slate and make new plans. In order to make the most of this exciting time of the year, there are a few steps to take online that will set you up to make the most of your 2014 plans.

Katrina Padron, Padron Social Marketing

Most brands have many rogue pages living online. These pages may have been created by well-intending staff members but were later abandoned, or they may have been created by customers checking in to your location. Either way, it’s time that you claim them as your own. This gives you the ability to merge it with your current page if it is a duplicate, or you can keep the page instead of starting from scratch if you don’t have a page on that platform yet.

2. Google yourself: The first thing people do when they hear your name or company name is Google it! We all do it, but do you know what comes up in the search results? Give it a try!

3. Do a source search: Knowing what’s already popular on Pinterest can really steer you in a direction that will help you get more exposure. A favorite tool for this is to see what people are already pinning from your site. 

4. Check search inquiries: Similar to a Source Search on Pinterest, this search tells you what people are searching for on your site. If there is a popular search that you don’t have content for, it is the perfect opportunity to create popular content and to rank higher on Google.

5. Do a keyword search: Knowing what people are searching for helps you pinpoint your content strategy. The simplest way to do this is to access Google’s Keyword Tool and look for keywords and phrases with a high amount of searches and low competition.

6. Look at your open rates: Check out what has been popular content from your email marketing efforts.

7. Know your analytics: Google has a suite of helpful tools for small businesses. One of these tools is Google Analytics. This shows how many people visit your site, where they come from before they get to there, and what they do on your site—all very helpful information for developing your online strategy.

8. Check review sites: There are many review sites out there; the most common being Yelp!, TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon. Take a look at those sites to see what people are saying. It’s likely there are positive and negative reviews. The negative reviews are a great way to find areas to improve for the new year.

9. Do a related search: This one is fun!  It’s always helpful to know what your competitors are (and aren’t) doing. Pull up a Google search page and type related:[yoursite].com (e.g., related:padronsocialmarketing.com). When you click search, Google will pull up pages that are similar to yours.

10. List influencers: Influencers are powerful. These are people who are already in front of your target market and they're spending hours a day online. What blogs, websites, thought leaders, brands, local pages and celebrities are already followed by your audience? These are influencers for your brand! The action step is to put them on a Twitter list and a Facebook list so that it is simple to engage with them frequently.

11. Invite email subscribers: It’s no surprise that I love email, and it’s still very powerful. People on your list have already raised their hand to say that they love your brand and they want to hear more! Fan gating content on your Facebook page and inviting your email subscribers to get the content will no doubt increase your Facebook fans with quality prospects.

12. Set up monitoring: Every day there are millions of tweets and posts going non-stop. In your Hootsuite account, add a panel that searches for your keywords. Include your name, your company name and relevant industry keywords. This will help you know what people are saying about your industry and brand.

13. Search tweet chats: Tweet chats are a wonderful way to connect with like-minded influencers. This opens the door to partnerships and gets you in front of their audience too.

14. Subscribe to Alerts: Another option in Google’s suite of business tools is Google Alerts. When you sign up for this, Google will send you an email whenever there is an article for a specific topic. I like to set Google Alerts for my name, company name, “Call for Speakers” and industry trends. 

What’s one thing you will do to get your ducks in a row?