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Articles from 2016 In April

Natural product company news of the week

Jarrow Formulas, a formulator and supplier of nutritional supplements, announced the introduction of MCT Oil, a liquid form of medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil.

The makers of Nurture Me omega-3 supplements for women, Anpas Global, has a new omega-3 DHA product specifically designed for children eight years and older. It's a “smaller-than-a-dime” triglyceride DHA softgel that's highly absorbent and easy to swallow.

Wild Garden is expanding its brand of hummus and snacks to include a new Taste of the Mediterranean line that includes marinades and heat-and-serve pilafs.

The classic hashbrown gets an update from Dr. Praeger's, which is adding root vegetables and modern flavors to create its new line in four flavors: Four Potato Hash Browns, Root Veggie Hash Browns, Southwest Hash Browns, Southwest Hash Browns and Sweet Potato Hash Browns.

Fruit d'Or is introducing the an organic chocolate peanut butter cup, made with protein, prebiotics and probiotics. Each cup contains 1.5 grams of cranberry protein powder and two billion CFU of probiotics.

Online retailer Greensbury Market, which works with organic farms and sustainable fisheries to supply meat and seafood by delivery, has partnered with Jillian Michaels, who invested in the company, and will curate meal packs and share health and wellness information with customers.

TSI Group hosted its third annual Innovation Ingredient Symposium in Shanghai, China in March, and it was the most successful yet, growing 70 percent from the previous year.

Saputa Specialty Cheese introduced Great Midwest Applewood Smoked Gouda, the newest extension to its line of artisanal cheeses infued with a variety of flavors.

Two major plant expansions for Royal DSM will boost its gellan gum and pectin capacities. DSM will also establish a Global Innovation Center for hydrocolloids adjacent to its gellan facility.

[email protected]: FDA says Dole knew about Listeria | Honest Co. sued over infant formula

FDA report shows Dole officials knew about Listeria in facility

Company officials knew a Dole salad plant was contaminated with Listeria for a year and a half before they shut it down. They acted only after the U.S. and Canadian governments traced a deadly outbreak to the facility — and four people had died. Read more at Food Safety News ...


Sen. Pat Roberts thinks chicken welfare is 'absolutely ridiculous'

The USDA’s new proposed rules for treatment of chickens that produce organic eggs include some basic changes for density and treatment of hens. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, though, wonders if chicken enrichment includes yoga and video games. Read more at Modern Farmer ...

Lawsuit accuses Jessica Alba's Honest Co. of falsely labeling infant formula

The Organic Consumers Association alleges that the Honest Co.'s infant formula “contains 11 substances prohibited by federal law from organics.” Company representatives say the lawsuit will be dismissed, but it's not Honest's only troubles. Read more at Los Angeles Times ...


Keeping bees safe: It's a ruff job, but this doggy detective gets it done

The Maryland Department of Agriculture's newest apiary inspector is 2 years old and has four legs, yellow fur and quite the nose. Meet Mack, a Lab who sniffs beehives in search of American foulbrood, a bacterial disease that can kill bee colonies. Read more at NPR ...


Big Ag fights to keep pesticide that's linked to brain problems in kids

The Environmental Protection Agency is finally poised to revoke all uses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which first came on line as a pest control technology in 1965. During a House subcommittee meeting this week, Big Ag continued to fight the move. Read more at ...

Natural product movers & shakers - April 2016

Natural product movers & shakers - April 2016

With a desire to increase emphasis on its robust intellectual property portfolio, food technology leader Aseptia recently added a new member to its executive team. John A. Hudson has joined the Raleigh company as its executive vice president and chief intellectual property officer. Hudson brings nearly 20 years of intellectual property experience to his new position, including work with international consulting firms.

Firmenich appointed Mieke Van de Capelle as chief human resources officer, effective June 1. She joins Firmenich from Perfetti Van Melle, where she most recently held the position of chief HR officer.

Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., FASN, and Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, Ph.D., received the Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award and the Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award, respectively, at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2016 in San Diego, California. The Mary Swartz Rose awards are jointly presented by ASN and the Council for Responsible Nutrition to recognize outstanding research in the field of bioactive compounds for human health.

The American Herbal Products Association appointed Robert Wildman, Ph.D., chief science officer at Post Active Nutrition Brands, as the new chair of the Sports Nutrition Committee during a meeting at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. Wildman succeeds Ray Jaglowski, vice president of technical and regulatory at Twinlab Corp., who chaired the committee for the past two years.

Essential Formulas Incorporated, the sole U.S. distributor of Dr. Ohhira’s award-winning probiotic formulations and the newly introduced REG’ACTIV brand, recently named Brian Craig as its director of strategic affairs. He will help steer Essentials Formulas' continued growth with a focus on building brand preference, initiating integrated marketing strategies and advising on regulatory matters.

Strategic branding, PR and social media agency BrandHive announced the selection of Shipla Gauba as its social media and blogger outreach strategist. She has successfully managed social media, blogger and SEM initiatives for a variety of corporate clients in the fields of nutraceuticals, entertainment, telecom, food and beverage, and healthcare technology research.

Cypress Systems Inc. manufacturer of SelenoExcell, Chromium GTF Excell and the NutraFeast line of nutritional yeast products, announced Kimbirly Orr has joined the firm to further develop their growing sales and marketing strategy.

Grow Company Inc. with deepest regrets announced the passing of its visionary founder Andrew Szalay, on Sunday, March 20, 2016, of natural causes at age 96. Szalay invented cutting-edge, food-grown nutrients—Re-Natured vitamins and minerals that mirror their nature identical form.

Ingredient, flavor and nutrient fortification product provider Prinova announced the hiring of Richard Staack, Ph.D., MBA, as vice president, research & commercial development. Staack will join Prinova’s extensive innovation and product development team and be based at the company’s corporate headquarters in Carol Stream, Ill.

Nutrition 21 announced that Joe Weiss has joined the company as president. Weiss’ top priorities will be to accelerate the company's growth with product innovation, science and branding.

Plant-based household cleaner company Biokleen has hired Ted Morgan as its new director of marketing. Morgan will lead up the company’s marketing efforts as it expands into new channels and markets for the brand.

Fruit vs. triclosan: How one exotic ingredient could transform the toxic soap industry

Fruit vs. triclosan: How one exotic ingredient could transform the toxic soap industry

Like many of us, Brian Quach feels something when he walks though a farmers market, meeting the purveyors of his food and listening to the stories of the ingredients. It’s an experience that elicits undeniable emotion—a unique connection to the earth and the food that comes from it. Why, he wondered, can’t personal care products be as deeply rooted in nature and emotion as food?

It can, he realized.

Taking his passion for the natural industry and his experience in ethical farming, Quach saw the potential to redefine America’s flawed soap industry. Today, nearly 18 million tons of surfactants are produced annually; many are synthetic, some potentially toxic and others flat out banned in Europe. Here in the U.S., they’re commonplace.

The solution: Soapberry, an ancient fruit hailing from India and later Nepal and Taiwan. Soapberry’s natural antibacterial and surfactant properties (it's also 100 percent biodegradable) make it an ideal synthetic soap alternative that has a range of applications—from hand and dish soap to shampoo and body wash.

Soapberri co-founder Quach wasn’t the only one who saw this little ingredient's potential. In its first Kickstarter campaign, his company, Soapberri, raised over 400 percent of its goal. So what’s next? Here, we chatted with Quach about what’s to come in education, how to build a brand based on ancient wisdom, and how we think about “clean.”

What sparked your passion for sustainability? 

Brian Quach: I spent the last few years diving into my passion. The story for me starts with Driscoll’s. I got involved in starting up farming communities across the world.  I got really close with local communities and farming. You’re dealing with land and weather and people; you need a sense of trust and humility to be involved in something that grows from the earth.  I started to think, ‘What other toxins do we ingest as humans?” and I thought we weren’t doing as much around the personal care space.

What’s the story behind the Soapberri brand?

BQ: My partner got these berries in Taiwan. His family uses them today. They would wash with the berries in the stream and river. We thought, this seems like a great way to have a deep connection with nature. Take a berry, wash your hands with it.

In Taiwan, these trees grow everywhere. No one uses these berries anymore, other than the older generations. These things have been used for a long time and have been proven and trusted for thousands of years. Let’s revisit that and see what we can learn from ancient wisdoms around the world. In America, we typically use three large brands. I wanted to show that there are other things in nature that can provide a solution.

We ended up partnering with people that work with local farmers who pick it once a year. Soapberri is more of a farming company than a personal care company.

Using berries as soap … is that a tough sell?  

BQ: We started with demonstrations of the raw soapberries at farmers markets in San Francisco. People were shy about it: Wash your hands with a berry? What does that mean? But our community was attuned to natural remedies and picked up on it right away. There are people who have been waiting for something like this for a long time. We sent [the product] to people with psoriasis and eczema.  If they can use the raw soapberry as a novel hand soap that can get them started by thinking, ‘Oh wow, I can get into these natural remedies at home.'

It’s really a grassroots approach—we have our website, Kickstarter campaign, materials, but really there is a lot to say about our company.

What’s next for Soapberri?

BQ: In the end, we want to be this one-stop replacement solution for your household. The plan is not just to do soap, shampoo and body wash; we can use the extract for any natural cleaner—dishes, facial wash, toothpaste [The company also notes it can be used as a jewelry cleaner and insect repellant].

By fall, in six months, we will create a subscription service custom order delivered right to your door. We also want to do a sustainable packaging solution where subscribers get a bottle at first then get refillable, compostable bags. In terms of the product pipeline, it’s pretty full--we are pretty excited. And in general, we are very open to helping other companies manufacturing soapberry products.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Nominate outstanding natural retailers for the NFM, Expo East Retailer of the Year awards

Nominate outstanding natural retailers for the NFM, Expo East Retailer of the Year awards

Nominations for the annual Retailer of the Year awards to be presented by Natural Foods Merchandiser and Natural Products Expo East on Sept. 23 in Baltimore are now open.

We seek stellar stores for the following categories:

Innovation. We want to know how natural retailers are breaking retail molds and imagining the store of tomorrow.

Sustainability. In this triple bottom line world, who gets a bonus for the greenest of business practices?

Best new store (including new location or major remodel). In this increasingly competitive environment, natural foods retailers are upping the ante with new stores and remodels. Who has done it well recently?

Community engagement and outreach. Natural retail is all about community. Let's honor those leaving at lasting legacy.

Nominations will be accepted through May 20.

Finalists will be announced on and in the September/October issue of Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine. Winners selected by the awards committee will be announced at Natural Products Expo East event.

See last year's finalists and the winners.


A role for the adaptogen rhodiola in women’s health

A role for the adaptogen rhodiola in women’s health

Adaptogenic herbs are one of the most important groups of herbs to take into the 21st century. Adaptogens not only increase the resistance to the adverse effects of long-term stress, but the majority are also tonifying, immune-stimulating and increase the general sense of well-being.1,2

The term adaptogen was first defined by Russian pharmacologist Nikolai Lazarev in 1947. These herbs were classified as a group of substances that could improve the body’s nonspecific resistance after being exposed to various stressing factors, promoting a state of adaptation to that exceptional situation. Israel Brekhman, his successor, established that a plant should meet four requirements in order to be considered an adaptogen: (1) it is harmless to the host; (2) it has a general, nonspecific effect; (3) it increases the resistance of the recipient to a variety of physical, chemical, or biological stressors; and (4) it acts as a general stabilizer/normalizer.3

By 1984 Russian scientists had published in excess of 1,500 pharmacological and clinical studies on adaptogenic herbs, and research continues today with little doubt that adaptogens increase an organism’s adaptation to stress and have a normalizing influence on our physiology.3

The various phases of hormonal change, such as monthly premenstrual time, the perimenopause transition and pregnancy, can challenge a woman’s stress adaptation mechanisms. The "hallmark" hormone of stress, cortisol, is synthesized in the adrenal cortex and regulated via the HPA axis. The effects of cortisol are felt virtually throughout the entire body and impact several mechanisms--especially the regulation of hormone balance in women. For example, chronic stress suppresses gonadotropin hormones from the pituitary that act on the ovaries and testes, which can lead to the disruption of a normal menstrual cycle and eventually lead to the complete impairment of reproductive function.4

There are several adaptogenic herbs that have been studied extensively and proven very effective in the support of the body during times of increased demands and stress.3 Most notable are rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and maca (Lepidium meyenii). Rhodiola will be the focus of this article.

Rhodiola rosea (also known as golden root and Arctic root) has been categorized as an adaptogen by Russian researchers due to its ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological and physical stressors. It has been used in the traditional medicine systems of Eastern Europe and Asia for more than 3,000 years with a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, improving depression, enhancing work performance, improving sleep, eliminating fatigue and preventing high-altitude sickness.3 Rhodiola seems to help the body adapt to stress by affecting the levels and activity of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.3 It is believed that the changes in the above monoamine levels are due to inhibition of the activity of the enzymes responsible for monoamine degradation and facilitation of neurotransmitter transport within the brain.7

Rhodiola appears to offer an advantage over other adaptogens due to its ability to exert relaxation and antianxiety in periods of acute stress. In one randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 60 patients with stress-related fatigue, rhodiola was found to have an antifatigue effect that increased mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate; it also decreased the cortisol response to the stress of awakening from sleep.5

Rhodiola may also enhance fertility. It has been shown to enhance thyroid function in animal studies as well as improve egg maturation. This led to a study of 40 women with amenorrhea and infertility to be treated with 100 mg of rhodiola twice daily for two weeks. Normal menses were restored in 25 women, 11 of whom became pregnant.6

Rhodiola has a very low level of toxicity. Rhodiola is not recommended for individuals with bipolar disorder.3

How can manufacturers and retailers increase awareness of adaptogens among wellness-focused shoppers?


  1. Reflection Paper on the Adaptogenic Concept. European Medicines Agency. London, July 5, 2007.
  2. Brekhman II and Dardymov IV. New Substances of Plant Origin which increase Nonspecific Resistance. Annu Rev Pharmacol. 1969;9:419-30.
  3. Head, Katheleen A. and Kelly, Gregory S. Nutrients and Botanicals for Treatment of Stress: Adrenal Fatigue, Neurotransmitter Imbalance, Anxiety, and Restless Sleep. Alternative Medicine Review. 2009;14(2):114-40.
  4. Oakley AE, Breen KM et al. Cortisol reduces gonadotropin-releasing hormone pulse frequency in follicular phase ewes: influence of ovarian steroids. Endocrinology. 2009 Jan;150(1):341-9.
  5. Olsson EM, von Scheele B, Panossian AG. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardized extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Medica. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-112.
  6. Hudson, Tori. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. McGraw-Hill. 2008.
  7. Alternative Medicine Review – Monograph Rhodiola rosea. 2002. Volume 7, Number 5.
Functional Ingredients

A cuppa cognition

Drinking one kind of tea will sharpen your mind, sipping another will dull it. That’s what British (of course) researchers found in a recent study they presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Nottingham.
In the randomized study, 180 senior citizens where given peppermint tea, chamomile tea or hot water. Before they started sipping, they completed questionnaires relating to their mood. After a 20-minute rest, the participants completed tests that assessed their memory and a range of other cognitive functions. After that, they completed another mood questionnaire.
Researchers from North Umbria University analyzed the results and found that the peppermint tea significantly improved long term memory, working memory and alertness compared to both chamomile tea and hot water. Their results echo a Swiss study that found that green tea extract enhanced working memory.
On the other hand, chamomile tea significantly slowed memory and attention speed compared to both peppermint and hot water.
"It's interesting to see the contrasting effects on mood and cognition of the two different herbal teas,” Mark Moss, PhD, Head of the Psychology Department at North Umbria University, said in a release from the British Psychological Society. The enhancing and arousing effects of peppermint and the calming/sedative effects of chamomile observed in this study are in keeping with the claimed properties of these herbs and suggest beneficial effects can be drawn from their use."

[email protected]: Supplements might make antidepressants more effective: study | Chefs upcycle coffee bean waste

5@5: Supplements might make antidepressants more effective: study | Chefs upcycle coffee bean waste

Do vitamins and supplements make antidepressants more effective?

A meta-analysis of 40 clinical trials, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that several classes of antidepressants paired with EPA, S-adenosylmethionine, methylfolate or Vitamin D were more effective than the antidepressants alone. Read more at Scientific American...


Coffee flour: How innovators turned a waste product into a superfood

The pulp that's wasted when coffee beans are harvested has become the center of attention for Seattle chef Jason Wilson, who's now executive chef at the Coffee Flour lab. He's constantly concocting new ideas to incorporate the antioxidant-, iron- and fiber-rich flour into pastas, dips and baked goods. Read more at The Seattle Times...

Boulder Brands gives $100 million quarterly sales lift to Pinnacle

The integration of brands like Udi's, Evol and Earth Balance is "very much on track," according to the food company, which acquired Boulder Brands for nearly $1 billion last year. Read more at Denver Post...


Whole Foods wins dismissal of PETA lawsuit over meat claims

Last year the animal rights group accused the retailer of deceiving customers with its rating system for humanely raised meat. A judge decided that PETA failed to prove that Whole Foods tricked customers into overpaying. Read more at Pork Network...


Loathed by farmers, loved by ancients: The strange history of tiger nuts

This starchy vegetable, which has gained popularity in the paleo crowd thanks to the company Organic Gemini, grows at the root of a pesky weed called yellow nutsedge. Ancient people used them medicinally and as a treat until the 19th century, when their reputation soured. Read more at NPR...

Probi and Ipsen sign distribution agreement for probiotic LP299V

Probi and Ipsen sign distribution agreement for probiotic LP299V

Ipsen and Probi have reached an agreement covering 18 countries — primarily within the European Union and emerging markets — for the commercialization of Probi’s probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum 299v.

This clinically documented probiotic with patents in the gastro-intestinal field is expected to complement Ipsen’s strong medical portfolio in gastroenterology. For Probi, this could become one of the company's largest distribution agreements so far.

Under this new agreement, Probi will supply bulk LP299V capsules and Ipsen will be responsible for packaging, marketing and selling the product. To be marketed primarily through pharmacies, the product is expected to launch in the first half of 2017 as a food supplement in Europe, then in other key markets such as Russia and China, depending on regulatory approval.

The agreement covers in total 18 markets, many with high growth potential, with an option to include additional countries. The product will be marketed under Ipsen’s key brand and Probi’s trademark LP299V.

Marc de Garidel, chairman and chief executive officer of Ipsen said, “Ipsen is delighted to enter the field of probiotics with a very well-recognized and R&D focused company such as Probi. This partnership is fully aligned with our strategy to strengthen our portfolio in the field of gastroenterology and expand into probiotics.”

Probi Chief Executive Officer Peter Nählstedt said, “We have found a perfect match with Ipsen, a very well-respected pharmaceutical company with high growth ambitions and strong brands in the gastrointestinal field. Through its extensive organization, we expect to enter many new markets with LP299V, which will strengthen Probi´s footprint on the global market. We have high expectations and consider the agreement to have a high volume potential.”