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Articles from 2015 In March


RiceBran Technologies revenues up 14%

RiceBran Technologies revenues up 14%

RiceBran Technologies (NASDAQ: RIBT and RIBTW), a global leader in the production and marketing of value added products derived from rice bran, announced today the Company's financial results for the full year of 2014 ended Dec. 31, 2014.

Financial highlights
Full year 2014 consolidated revenues total $40.1 million, a 14.4 percent increase compared to consolidated revenues of $35.1 million in 2013.

Full year 2014 USA segment revenue increased by 92.1 percent to $23.1 million with gross margins improving by 5.7 percentage points to 30.2 percent compared to full year 2013, largely due to a progressive shift in business mix toward human food ingredients, functional food ingredients and packaged functional foods.

W. John Short, CEO and president, commented: "For full year 2014 we delivered improved results on a number of important fronts despite challenges in both our USA and Brazil segments. In our USA segment, we delivered a year over year 92 percent increase in revenue, improved gross margins and a 137 percent increase in gross margin dollars despite supply chain challenges related to the ongoing drought in California.  In the second half of 2014 we completed two key expansion projects at our facilities in Irving, Texas, and Dillon, Mont., to double capacity in both locations.  This provides us with available production capacity to increase sales in the 2015 and coming years without significant additional capital expenditures.  Additionally, we conducted extensive product development work at our Healthy Natural (H&N) subsidiary in the second half of the year resulting in the launch of dozens of new SKUs which we expect to support significant sales growth in 2015 and beyond." 

Short continued:  "In Brazil, we experienced several production disruptions throughout the course of 2014.  For the majority of the first quarter of 2014, our facility was idled in order to complete the capital expansion project that increased our production capacity by 50 percent. In addition, during the Brazilian winter months, production was reduced as a result of shortages in raw rice bran availability. And in August of 2014, a structural equipment failure at Irgovel negatively impacted production levels through the end of the year.  However, with final repairs to restore the lost capacity having been completed early in January of 2015, and with favorable forecasts for the rice crop now being harvested, we expect to run at or above our post-expansion production target of 9,000 metric tons per month going forward."

"Overall, the demand picture for both our USA and Brazil segments continues to strengthen. We have made investments in technology to strengthen our regulatory compliance to further differentiate RBT from our competitors and we are confident that 2015 will be the inflection point where we will begin to deliver sustained financial growth and profitability for years to come."

Operating results
Consolidated revenues for the full year of 2014 were $40.1 million, a 14.4 percent increase compared to 2013 consolidated revenues of$35.1 million. The increase was led by a 92.1 percent increase in revenues at the Company's USA segment primarily from the acquisition of H&N. 

Revenue from the Brazil segment in 2014 totaled $17.0 million, a decline of 26.1 percent as compared to 2013. This was largely due to production interruptions throughout the year caused by upgrades and repairs at Irgovel, shortages in bran, and the $1.7 million negative impact associated with the decline of the Brazilian foreign currency exchange rate.  With repairs now complete in the first quarter of 2015, the Company expects significant improvement in Brazil becoming progressively more evident throughout 2015.

Consolidated gross profit for the 2014 full year increased by 13.3 percent to $4.5 million compared to gross profit of $3.9 million in 2013. The increase in gross profit was mainly attributable to increased sales from our USA segment coupled with gross profit improving by 5.7 percentage points to 30.2 percent.  This was largely offset by our Brazil segment where we recorded negative gross profit of ($2.5) million due to lost production and inefficiencies associated with upgrades and repairs to the plant at Irgovel. Consolidated operating expenses increased to $17.2 million in 2014 compared to $13.9 million in 2013. The increase in operating expenses is attributable to a $2.0 million increase in SG&A expenses and a $1.6 million increase in depreciation and amortization, partially offset by a $0.3 million reduction in other expenses.

Net loss
For the 2014 full year the Company recorded a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $23.0 million inclusive of $13.3 million in fees and expenses related to financing, interest and note conversions, $6.5 million in depreciation and amortization and $1.2 million due to the change in the fair value of derivative warrant and conversion liabilities.  This compares to a loss attributable to common stockholders of $15.0 million inclusive of $7.4 million in fees and expenses related to financing, interest and extinguishment of debt, $4.0 million in depreciation and amortization and $1.0 million due to the change in the fair value of derivative warrant and conversion liabilities. Our operations resulted in a loss of ($3.96) per share on 5.8 million weighted average shares outstanding compared to a loss of ($12.95) per share on 1.2 million weighted average shares outstanding in 2013.

Additional information can be found in the Company's Form 10-K filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 31, 2015.

Dale Belt, CFO commented, "Our full year results reflect the substantial change we have undergone in 2014 to position RBT for growth in the coming years.  We have made significant investments in capacity expansion while shifting our USA segment business mix toward natural and functional foods. This has enabled us to deliver overall top line revenue growth as well as substantial margin improvement in our USA segment in 2014.  While our Brazil segment was hampered by production interruptions, the Irgovel plant is now fully operational and we expect a significant improvement in performance throughout the current year.  We continue to work diligently to control costs as we improve revenues in both of our operating segments. Our focus is to progressively ramp revenue in 2015 and solidify our presence in the food and beverage industry as a quality provider of ingredients that are gluten free, non-GMO, minimally processed, and offer turnkey product solutions for the healthy, natural and functional foods product categories."

 

Albion names Vivion 2014 Supplier of the Year

Albion names Vivion 2014 Supplier of the Year

Albion Human Nutrition®, premier manufacturer of patented organic mineral amino acid chelates, has named Vivion Inc. its 2014 Supplier of the Year. Vivion, one of Albion’s top suppliers, was recognized for their outstanding performance in 2014. Michael Poleselli, president of Vivion, accepted the award in Anaheim, Calif., on March 5.  

“Suppliers are an integral part of the process and we are proud to partner with Vivion, which consistently meets Albion’s high quality standards,” said James Hyde, CEO of Albion Minerals. “Our suppliers participate in a meticulous rating process with the end goal to build a better mineral and offer high quality products to our customers.”

Each year, Albion evaluates suppliers’ performance based on rigorous criteria. Vivion’s rating was exceptional, as measured by 2014 performance in the following key areas:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Delivery
  • Customer Service

Vivion Inc. is a trusted ingredient and chemical supplier of products that serve the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, personal care, agricultural and industrial markets. Vivion has been an outstanding supplier to Albion for many years. Albion continues to grow and enhance its strategic, long-term partnerships and to nurture mutually beneficial relationships with all its suppliers and customers.  

 

Steviva Ingredients rebrands Erysweet+

Steviva Ingredients rebrands Erysweet+

Steviva Ingredients, a global supplier of all-natural high-intensity sweeteners and custom sweetening solutions, recently announced the rebranding of two ingredients. Joining the existing Erysweet portfolio are Erysweet+ with stevia and Erysweet+ mesh fine powder, formerly marketed as Steviva Blend and Stevia Blend fine powder, respectively.

Erysweet+ with stevia is a proprietary blend of SteviaSweet 95-60 and naturally fermented erythritol. It delivers a natural solution that is twice as sweet as sugar, with just 0.2 calories per gram. Similar to sugar in mouthfeel, it’s ideal for applications like beverages, sauces, marinades, condiments, baked goods, jellies, and confections.

Erysweet+ mesh fine powder is also made from SteviaSweet 95-60 and naturally fermented erythritol, but milled to a 100 mesh granulation. It is a low-calorie replacement for 10x powdered sugar in confections, icings, frosting, meringues, sweet coatings, and other applications that demand a round and full sweetness profile. It is also twice as sweet as sugar, with just 0.2 calories per gram.

“This rebranding effort provides our customers with the same superior formulations they’ve come to depend on, now with names that fit more closely and clearly within our existing Erysweet portfolio,” said Thom King, president/CEO of Steviva Ingredients.

These ingredients join Erysweet erythritol, a mildly sweet polyol for use as a bulking agent or sweetener in low viscosity sauces and beverages, and Erysweet erythritol 100 mesh fine powder, a solution designed for formulations in which mild sweetness and bulk are demanded in fine granulation.

“Erythritol has been used in the United States for more than a decade, with no health risks. Now, the European Union is accepting the ingredient as safe for use in reduced-sugar beverages,” added King. “This rebrand is just one way we’re enhancing our Erysweet portfolio to make it even easier for our customers to source the ingredients necessary to further innovation as it pertains to delicious, low-calorie beverages in the US and abroad.”

Erysweet+ is available in 25kg poly-lined boxes and 900kg super sacks. For more information and samples, please contact sales@steviva.com or call 310.455.9876.

Steviva Ingredients, a global supplier of all-natural high-intensity sweeteners and custom sweetening solutions, recently announced the rebranding of two ingredients. Joining the existing Erysweet portfolio are Erysweet+ with stevia and Erysweet+ mesh fine powder, formerly marketed as Steviva Blend and Stevia Blend fine powder, respectively. Erysweet+ with stevia is a proprietary blend of SteviaSweet 95-60 and naturally fermented erythritol. It delivers a natural solution that is twice as sweet as sugar, with just 0.2 calories per gram. Similar to sugar in mouthfeel, it’s ideal for applications like beverages, sauces, marinades, condiments, baked goods, jellies, and confections. Erysweet+ mesh fine powder is also made from SteviaSweet 95-60 and naturally fermented erythritol, but milled to a 100 mesh granulation. It is a low-calorie replacement for 10x powdered sugar in confections, icings, frosting, meringues, sweet coatings, and other applications that demand a round and full sweetness profile. It is also twice as sweet as sugar, with just 0.2 calories per gram. “This rebranding effort provides our customers with the same superior formulations they’ve come to depend on, now with names that fit more closely and clearly within our existing Erysweet portfolio,” said Thom King, president/CEO of Steviva Ingredients. These ingredients join Erysweet erythritol, a mildly sweet polyol for use as a bulking agent or sweetener in low viscosity sauces and beverages, and Erysweet erythritol 100 mesh fine powder, a solution designed for formulations in which mild sweetness and bulk are demanded in fine granulation. “Erythritol has been used in the United States for more than a decade, with no health risks. Now, the European Union is accepting the ingredient as safe for use in reduced-sugar beverages,” added King. “This rebrand is just one way we’re enhancing our Erysweet portfolio to make it even easier for our customers to source the ingredients necessary to further innovation as it pertains to delicious, low-calorie beverages in the US and abroad.” Erysweet+ is available in 25kg poly-lined boxes and 900kg super sacks. For more information and samples, please contact sales@steviva.com or call 310.455.9876.

AlaskOmega honored for transparent chain of custody

AlaskOmega honored for transparent chain of custody

Organic Technologies, producer of AlaskOmega® omega-3 fish oil products, announced that it was awarded the Engredea Editor’s Choice Award for Most Transparent Chain-of-Custody at the recent Expo West show held in Anaheim, Calif. This distinction, representing a new award category for Engredea, showcases Organic Technologies’ unique fish source advantage based on MSC-certified sustainable Alaska Pollock, and reflects the growing importance of supply chain sustainability and traceability to the industry.

The Alaska Pollock crude fish oil supplied to Organic Technologies comes directly from its fishing partners in the Pacific Northwest as a byproduct from processing the Pollock for human consumption. The oil is then further refined and purified by Organic Technologies into omega-3 concentrates at their GMP plant located in Ohio, providing full supply chain transparency from fishing boat to finished drum of oil, and ultimately to the AlaskOmega customer.  

“The strength and simplicity of our supply chain is one of our main advantages, remarked Steve Dillingham, global director for AlaskOmega Ingredients.  “Our AlaskOmega oil is certified sustainable and traceable by the Marine Stewardship Council, as is the entire Alaska Pollock fishery, which is holistically managed by the State of Alaska as well.  This allows for a very healthy, dependable and robust Pollock fishery,” continued Dillingham, “which has grown 65 percent in biomass from 2014”, according to a recent NOAA report.  “We are honored to be recognized with this Engredea Editor’s Choice Award for our standout position on chain-of-custody transparency.”

 

 

Resveratrol could help ease depression

Resveratrol could help ease depression

Scientists have recently discovered a link between inflammation and depression, which affects approximately 148 million people in the United States. A new study finds that resveratrol—a natural anti-inflammatory agent found in the skin of red grapes—can prevent inflammation as well as depression-related behaviors in rodents exposed to a social stress.

“Our research is very relevant to today’s society because it investigates potential treatments for people with an increased susceptibility to depression and related disorders that arise due to social stress,” said Susan K. Wood, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and leader of the research team. “We hope our findings will encourage scientists who are running clinical trials to test the effectiveness of natural anti-inflammatory agents on depression, which is currently an understudied area.”

Some psychiatric disorders are known to arise from a social stress, such as bullying or the loss of a loved one. In previous research, Wood’s team developed an animal model for this type of social stress in which a larger, more aggressive rat takes on the role of a bully. Some rats exposed to the bullies developed both depressive-like behaviors and inflammation while the rats that did not develop depressive-like behaviors showed no inflammation.

In the new work, the researchers repeated their experiment with one key difference: the bullied rats were given a daily dose of resveratrol roughly equivalent to the amount found in six glasses of wine. They found that resveratrol blocked the increased inflammation in the brain and also prevented the depressive-like behaviors in animals that would have normally developed those behaviors.

“Resveratrol appears to knock down inflammation throughout the body,” said Julie Finnell, a doctoral student in the research team who will present the findings at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015. “We found that administering resveratrol blocks the inflammation we would normally see in animals undergoing the bullying stress and brings it to control levels. We saw that consistently with IL-1ß [a pro-inflammatory protein] and many of the other inflammatory markers that we analyzed.”

In addition to being naturally present in the skin of red grapes and in red wine, resveratrol is also sold as supplement. Studies have shown that the natural agent might be responsible for red wine’s ability to prevent blood vessel damage and reduce LDL cholesterol, and experiments using high doses of resveratrol in animals have suggested it might help protect from obesity and diabetes.

Wood said the group’s findings are exciting because they show that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory potential in the brain, not just on levels of inflammation circulating in the body. “Certainly, there is a strong case being built now between clinical and preclinical work that inflammation is linked to depressive symptoms, and there is a great need for these findings to be validated in human studies,” she said.

The researchers are now expanding upon their rodent experiments to test whether resveratrol can reverse the effects of social stress after they develop.

Julie Finnell presented the findings during the Experimental Biology 2015 meeting on Monday, March 30, at the Pain Mechanisms: Inflammation and Cannabinoids poster session in Exhibit Halls A & B, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. 

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (P20GM103641). 

 

Nordic Naturals launches Omega Boost Junior

Nordic Naturals launches Omega Boost Junior

Omega Boost Junior from Nordic Naturals is an easy, tasty way to give kids the essential omega-3s they need for optimal health and development. In delicious Paradise Punch flavor, this velvety smooth formulation supports brain and eye health, and healthy immune and nervous system function in children two years and older. A half-teaspoon serving offers a potent 285 mg of omega-3s.

Like all Nordic Naturals omega-3 products, Omega Boost Junior surpasses the strictest international standards for purity, freshness, and quality. Its creamy emulsion formulation, paired with the triglyceride molecular form that Nordic Naturals insists on for its products, means fast absorption of essential omega-3s. Omega Boost Junior is kid-friendly with no gluten, corn, dairy, yeast, GMOs, or artificial colors or flavors.

According to Joar Opheim, Nordic Naturals CEO and founder, “We have always been committed to making products that taste great so that people want to take them. This is particularly important with products for children. Omega Boost Junior is not only delicious, it has a creamy consistency that kids like. It also offers meaningful levels of omega-3s, which parents will appreciate.”

Omega Boost Junior is the newest member of the Omega Boost family of products. Omega Boost is also available in new Creamy Lemon and original Tropical Mango flavors. Formulated with families in mind, the Omega Boost line offers a product for everyone.

Ad-fail: Taco Bell takes on the Fascist Clown and nobody wins

Ad-fail: Taco Bell takes on the Fascist Clown and nobody wins

We don’t remember the breakfast menu from 1984. Sure, Big Brother was watching, but we’re pretty sure he wasn’t manning the drive-through window. And yet, if you haven’t seen Taco Bell’s “Routine Republic” three-minute epic on YouTube, you may have no idea you are living in the culinary equivalent of a totalitarian regime. First they came for my granola, but I didn’t eat granola. Then they came for my flax smoothie...

“Routine Republic” begins with a handsome young man waking up to his low-def TV set announcing “another perfect morning in the Routine Republic, where happiness is eating the same breakfast.” It’s a woman’s voice, but we see a Stalinist clown smiling from the screen. The young man dons his drab gray garb, looking like a male model who got mugged and stripped of his Abercrombie and Fitch duds, and trudges down to a gray prison-yard expanse where he lines up with his similarly dressed comrades to wait for a hockey-puck egg sandwich handed out of a dark window in the gray wall.

The same voice from the TV drones on, “Same breakfast, same routine, same smile,” but now she mixes in “Difference is bad. The hexagon is bad.” We’ve already seen the hexagon painted over a propaganda poster. It’s obviously a mark of defiance, or maybe a geometry lesson. It’s still not clear.

Hey, it’s that clown dictator again. Who’s his stylist?

Now our outwardly despondent but secretly rebellious hero exchanges glances with a woman whose big eyes and high cheekbones defy the drab sameness. Freedom is coming! It’s just one value menu away! In the ultimate act of defiance, he throws his hoodie over his head and makes a run for it. Cheekbones and Big Eyes follows him, both chased by a clown army, but the suspense evaporates when we hear the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bob.

Nobody ever gets caught during Ramones song. You know that even if you haven't seen “Rock’n’Roll High School.”

When our attractive pair reaches a semblance of the Berlin wall, they rip down another McMuffin poster to expose a hole they crawl through into a sunny field. (In the old days, you needed to sew a balloon together to make a break like that). The clown army shrugs. They lost another customer. The clown dictator seems more peeved.

When the pair finally reach the promised land, a kind of Epcot-isized Renaissance square with the obligatory person of color mingling with 20 or so very attractive white people, another model tosses them a wax-paper-wrapped hexagon. At Taco Bell, they call it a Crunchwrap.

Who knew freedom could taste this good? Who knew the maker of the Waffle Taco could take a stand against totalitarianism ? Who knew Ronald McDonald would look so good as a fascist.

Really, anything would be an improvement after six decades in a yellow jumpsuit.

The last we checked, “Routine Republic” had 800,000-something YouTube views. We wouldn’t be surprised if production costs worked out to $1 per view, but if history hast taught us anything, it’s that freedom has a price.

Still, we wonder, what would George Orwell eat?

This is what's next in natural products: Expo West 2015 NEXTY Award nominees

Researchers honored with Mary Swartz Rose Awards

Researchers honored with Mary Swartz Rose Awards

Denise M. Ney, Ph.D., and Giuliana Noratto, Ph.D., were honored yesterday with the Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award and the Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award, respectively, at the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2015 in Boston.

The Mary Swartz Rose awards are jointly presented by ASN and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the dietary supplement and functional food industry’s leading trade association, and are awarded to recognize outstanding research on the safety and efficacy of bioactive compounds for human health.  

“CRN is honored to present the Mary Swartz Rose Awards to these two well-deserving researchers. Their work should be recognized as it adds to advancing the field of nutritional science,” said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs. “We are proud to work with ASN in providing these grants, as CRN and our member companies are committed to encouraging on-going science in the field of nutrition and wellness.”

Dr. Ney, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studies the nutritional management of phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disease. Her research focuses on the safety and acceptability of the bioactive food ingredient glycomacropeptide, a low-phenylalanine whey protein. This research has resulted in the availability of glycomacropeptide-containing medical foods for individuals with PKU. She has received several awards for nutrition science and her recent research was featured on Wisconsin Public Television and in Food Technology Magazine.

Dr. Noratto, an assistant research professor for the School of Food Science at Washington State University, focuses her studies on the role of nutrition in the prevention or progression of obesity-related chronic diseases. Her research projects are centered on milk and dairy-derived bioactive compounds, as well as plant food botanicals. Her teaching expertise focuses on the health benefits of food bioactive compounds.  

The awards are named in honor of the late Mary Swartz Rose (1874-1941), founder and president of what was then the American Institute of Nutrition (now ASN). The Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award is given to an investigator with 10 years or more of postgraduate training, for outstanding preclinical and/or clinical research on the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements as well as essential nutrients and other bioactive food components that may be distributed as supplements or functional food components. The Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award is based on the same qualifications but is given to an investigator with 10 years or less of postgraduate training.

The 2014 winners for the Senior Investigator and Young Investigator awards were Johanna W. Lampe, Ph.D., and Yuan Yuan Li, M.D., Ph.D., respectively. CRN’s commitment as an awards partner has helped support ASN in recognizing the best and brightest minds in the field. The Mary Swartz Rose awards were first presented in 2008 and have been supported annually by CRN ever since.

CRN updates guidelines for caffeine-containing supplements

CRN updates guidelines for caffeine-containing supplements

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, announced an update to its recommended guidelines for caffeine-containing dietary supplements that discourages the marketing and sale of powdered pure caffeine directly to consumers.

“Our member companies are taking responsible steps to protect consumers,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, “by following the advice of FDA and asking industry to support the agency’s consumer advisory that warns of safety concerns for consumers purchasing powdered pure caffeine in bulk. Even though our member companies do not sell this ingredient directly to consumers, as industry leaders we are demonstrating support for FDA’s efforts and urging the entire industry to do the same.”

CRN has added a section to its caffeine guidelines specifically calling on its members not to market powdered pure caffeine to consumers. The addition clarifies that it is not intended to limit marketing or selling of powdered pure caffeine in bulk form as a business to business transaction.

“Caffeine is one of the most studied and safest ingredients on the market. Powdered pure caffeine itself is a legal and legitimate ingredient for ingredient suppliers to sell to manufacturers who understand how to appropriately measure and formulate it at safe levels to be used as an ingredient in finished dietary supplement products,” said Mr. Mister. “But for consumers, there’s no legitimate use for powdered pure caffeine, and given its very high concentrated form, there’s a real potential safety issue.”  

According to FDA’s December 2014 consumer advisory, these products “are essentially 100 percent caffeine,” with “a single teaspoon of pure caffeine [being] roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee.”

CRN’s updated recommended guidelines for caffeine-containing dietary supplements are available on the association’s website. The original guidelines were released in April of 2013 and included recommendations on disclosure of total caffeine content; label advisories for conditions of use; serving size and daily intake recommendations; and restraints against marketing in combination with alcohol. CRN members were expected to comply within 12 months of its release. This update is effective immediately.

CRN’s science-based guidelines on caffeine-containing dietary supplements have been developed as part of the association’s self-regulatory initiatives. CRN also has recommended guidelines for: iodine in multivitamin/mineral supplements for pregnancy and lactation; and for labeling of protein in dietary supplements and functional foods; as well as best practices for enzyme dietary supplement products.