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Articles from 2015 In May

Source Naturals continues to innovate with telomeres, vegan ingredients

Source Naturals continues to innovate with telomeres, vegan ingredients

Santa Cruz, Calif.-based supplement company Source Naturals refuses to rest on its laurels as a trusted legacy brand. The formulation innovations, rebranded unified set of SKUs and on-trend line of science-based formulations is truly a sight to behold.

Let’s start with its Vegan True line, an 18-SKU lineup that helps vegans meet their unique nutritional needs. It provides nutrients vegans have difficulty getting from their typical diets, such as vitamin B12, zinc and iron, as well as supplements hard to find in vegan forms such as omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine. We especially like that its vitamin B12 uses the superior methylcobalamin source. It can only help that the Source Naturals CEO Ira Goldberg is himself a vegan.

“As a vegan, I personally understand the challenges vegans face in living out their lifestyle commitment,” Goldberg says. “I am especially pleased to bring to market supplements that help make it easier for vegans to stay healthy while they promote a more humane and caring world.”

Also notable is its entry into the telomere space with its Telomeron SKU. First there were antioxidants, then there was mitochondria science. Today it’s telomeres–subject matter of the 2009 Nobel Prize. It is theorized that maintaining telomeres-the protective end caps of DNA strands–is a means of keeping aging at bay. The ingredients, which have been shown to support the activity of telomerase and the maintenance of telomere length, include resveratrol, vitamin D3, astralagus, L-carnosine and purslane.

Source Naturals is also working on meeting consumer demand for non-GMO supplements. To date, it has launched non-GMO vitamin C and D.

With the recent kerfuffle over supplement ingredient quality, it’s good to see that the company has its own GMP-certified manufacturing facility and controls all aspects of the supply chain from ingredient procurement to formulation and quality-control testing to minimize potential ingredient contamination or adulteration.

Every year at Natural Products Expo, editors and trend researchers from New Hope Natural Media and Sterling-Rice Group scour the show floor to find the products and brands they predict will shape the future of the natural products industry. The best of the best receive NEXTY nominations, which recognize the companies that embody not only the most innovative edge of the natural products industry, but also its deeply held social and environmental values. See all of this year's winners here.

More protein at breakfast, less hunger during day

More protein at breakfast, less hunger during day

You might want some bacon with those Wheaties. A high-protein breakfast may curb hunger throughout the day, according to new research from the University of Missouri.

Heather Leidy, assistant professor in nutrition and exercise physiology at MU, is on a quest for practical solutions to America’s obesity epidemic. For this study, she had one group of teenage girls eat a breakfast of cereal without much protein. She had another group of girls eat a protein-packed, egg-based waffles she created with 30 grams of protein.

Leidy scanned participants’ brains and concluded the waffle eaters had reduced activity in the areas of the brain that signal hunger. She found that trading some of the breakfast carbs for protein, subjects were more satisfied and less apt to overeat during the day, according to a story about the research in the Missourian.

The weight-loss ramifications of Leidy’s study could add another element to the breakfast food category, which is becoming more and more “snackified,” with $300 million shifting from cereal to other, more portable options. “Breakfast has become one of the most fought-over battlegrounds in food and health, a battle fueled by consumers’ need for easy and quick meals in the morning—and by two massively successful disruptive innovations, Belvita’s breakfast biscuit and Up & Go’s liquid breakfast,” Julian Mellentin, author of the new report "The snackification of breakfast: How changing consumer habits are creating new opportunities," told Engredea.

Ingredient Market Forecast 2015-16: Vitamin K2 is ready for prime time

Ingredient Market Forecast 2015-16: Vitamin K2 is ready for prime time

Vitamins have cache above most other supplements by virtue of their definition: Essential for life, and have to be taken in by dietary means. Vitamins are required to prevent deficiency diseases, which is measured by Daily Value quantities: 90 mg vitamin C to prevent scurvy, 600 IU vitamin D to prevent rickets and so on.

“The word ‘vitamin’ brings with it a certain connotation: It’s required to achieve optimal health,” says Eric Anderson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at NattoPharma, supplier of the MenaQ7 brand of K2, which established the market and has conducted most of the clinical research behind the long-chain menaquinone-7 form of K2. “This is now demonstrated in human clinical studies based on evidence from population studies, which show that those who consume vitamin K2 have healthier bones and hearts.”

Vitamin K2 works by activating two critical proteins—osteocalcin, which brings calcium to bones, and matrix GLA, which takes calcium out of arteries.

“The common link is calcium,” says Anderson. “Everyone knows calcium is good for building strong bones, but few understand the detrimental effect it can have on the vascular system. If the body is not properly utilizing calcium in the bones, it ends up in the soft tissue where it can do serious harm.”

Two K2 studies stand out. K2 first made waves in an observational study conducted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which followed 4,800 healthy men and women over age 55 and found a 50 percent cut in heart attacks, 50 percent drop in cardiovascular-related deaths and 25 percent fewer deaths over all in those with the highest quintile of vitamin K2 levels compared with the lowest quintile.

The second was published just in April of 2015. The double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial found 180 mcg/day MenaQ7 for three years with 244 healthy postmenopausal women led to significant reversal in arterial stiffness—and atherosclerosis is linked to one out of every four American deaths.

“Vitamin K2 is now recognized as being the last identified vitamin with a deficiency in the West,” says Anderson. “Here is a vitamin that provides clinical health benefits.”

So why have we not heard of it?

What’s needed now is a major CPG company or supplements brand to pick up and champion K2—as Schff’s MegaRed did with krill or Rexall Sundown’s Osteo Bi-Flex did with 5-Loxin.

“The company that gets the next leading major brand to market will become the market share leader quickly,” says Anderson. “We need a mass market marketing company driving the education behind it.”

In speaking with suppliers in the sector, Engredea can say that if that giant mainstream marketing company were to make a deal with a K2 supplier, it would likely not make money for the supplier, who would be expected to break even at best in the deal. But that’s to be tolerated, because it’s the second-, third-, and sixth-generation marketers that would pay full value, and everyone would benefit by the expansion of the pie thanks to the first-generation marketing giant that would build consumer understanding and acceptance of this new ingredient. It remains to be seen whether that will happen in a standalone K2 supplement or integrated into an existing multi format.

Because K2 helps hearts and bones, the obvious first target is …

This isn’t the half of it. To read the rest on vitamin K2—notably therapeutic doses and innovations changing minds among formulators—as well as the renowned Engredea SWOT analysis on K2, download the free 2015-16 Ingredient Market Forecast. Fully 10 different ingredient classes are covered, from collagen to curcumin. Click below to have the report sent to your email when it becomes available in mid-June.

Entrepreneur Profile: Allison and Adam Grossman, founders of The Seaweed Bath Co.

Allison and Adam Grossman Seaweed Bath Co

What was the inspiration for your business? What inspires you daily?

Adam is a long-time psoriasis sufferer. When we came to the end of the road with medications, we started looking for natural alternatives. Adam started bathing in bladderwrack seaweed from Ireland and soon found his redness, inflammation and irritation was drastically reduced by using the seaweed. After testing our first product on other psoriasis sufferers, we decided to launch our company. We are constantly inspired by our ability to help other irritated skin sufferers.

What's been your road to success and critical success factors along the way?

The road to success has been a rocky one. It has been longer and harder than we ever imagined. We launched the company out of our guest bedroom with no prior experience in CPG. However, we have been very fortunate to meet amazing people along the way that have steered us in the right direction. Having a team of mentors is critical to success, but you have to be willing to listen. Our ability to listen and take criticism has allowed us to make beneficial changes to our brand.

Describe a mistake you made with your business. How did you fix it?

Our original branding during the first four years of business did not communicate our message effectively to the consumer. We spent 2014 doing consumer research and we were surprised by the findings. We took the feedback and did a re-brand that has been a home run. We should have done consumer research every 12-18 months from the beginning.

What's your best piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?

Be flexible and open to criticism. Having a vision and sticking to it is not exclusive to being flexible.

Where are you going? What is the vision for your business?

Within two years we aim to be one of the top 10 personal care brands in the natural channel. From there, we anticipate growing our SKU count significantly to meet the everyday demands our customers face.

What has been your experience sourcing non-GMO ingredients? Any challenges? 

The supply chain in personal care is not as ready for the non-GMO revolution as food and therefore, it can be challenging to find verified non-GMO ingredients. We are constantly working through these challenges.

Your ingredients are sustainably harvested. What does this entail and why is sustainability such an important part of your business?

We sustainably hand-harvest our seaweed by cutting it in a way that allows it to regenerate and grow to the same size or larger than we found it within 36 months. Sustainability is a key aspect of our business because the world is changing rapidly and many precious resources, including our oceans, are in danger. It is important for us to set the bar high and continue to inspire our team, our customers and our industry to take social and environmental responsibility.

How did you land your first retail account?

Our first retail account was Central Market in Texas. Allison has always loved Central Market and we met the buyer at the first trade show we ever did.

Has anything surprised you about working with independent retailers?

Independent retailers tend to be much more creative than chain stores. They need to be creative in order to thrive, and it allows for unique partnerships. Many of the independents resonate with entrepreneurs like us, and it makes for a win-win partnership.

How do you position your products in mass, natural and online?

We focus solely on the natural channel in retail and limit the number of online retailers we work with. This may sound counterproductive, but we would rather have 5 e-commerce sites competing to sell our products than 50.

How do you develop relationships with retailers and educate them about your company's story?

As a team, we spend a lot of time in stores doing demos and training. It is an old-school mentality, but establishing a personal relationship with buyers and store personnel is the best return on investment.

What most helped market your product in the beginning?

Adam’s story. We traveled around the country visiting as many stores and meeting as many people as possible to share his story.

What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?

The very best gluten-free, vegan desserts are made in Austin by a company called Better Bites. We love their Snickerdoodle Bites. They are rich, but Adam can eat a whole pack in minutes!

What's the inside scoop on yourself? 

Adam is a die-hard Denver Broncos fan and during games, his superstitious side comes out. Allison is not allowed to turn off the lights, move a glass or move if the Broncos are winning.

GanedenBC30 confirmed gluten free

In response to recent news that some probiotics may contain gluten, Ganeden Biotech reaffirmed today that its probiotic GanedenBC30 is gluten-free and can be labeled as such according to the standards set by the Food and Drug Administration.

The testing, performed by Q Laboratories, one of the oldest and most respected food testing labs in the world, tested each Ganeden probiotic ingredient for the presence of wheat, barley and rye glutens which are the peptides implicated in digestive disorders. Q Labs used the sensitive ELISA test method in which antibodies react with the gluten peptides and yields a quantitative determination of the amount of gluten present in the probiotic material. This test is accurate for quantities of gluten far lower than that involved in any digestive disorder.

“As a science driven company we were more than happy to have an independent third party reconfirm to the public and our probiotic food and beverage partners that our ingredients meet FDA standards for being gluten free,” says Andy Lefkowitz, president and CEO of Ganeden.

5@5: KeVita proposes 'verified non-alcoholic' seal for kombucha industry | Costco set to be a leader in organic food sales

5@5: KeVita proposes 'verified non-alcoholic' seal for kombucha industry | Costco set to be a leader in organic food sales

Friday, May 29

KeVita to fund truth-in-labeling initiative for the kombucha industry

via BevNet

Kombucha maker KeVita is proposing to fund an initiative that would put forth a certification process for kombucha brands to be recognized as non-alcohol or alcohol-containing products. Read more...


Costco may already be a U.S. leader in organic food

via MarketWatch

Costco's annual sales of organic foods are on track to exceed $4 billionn—even more than Whole Foods' $3.6 billion, according to BMO Capital Markets. Read more...


Hain staying ahead of trends

via Food Business News

Irwin Simon, the chairman, president an CEO of Hain Celestial, said he expects to see continued demand for clean labels and wholesome ingredients and that the company is well-positioned to deliver. Read more...


Kellogg's ranked most reputable U.S. consumer company

via Food Business News

Wait, what? The Reputation Institute's 2015 ranking of America's 50 most reputable consumer products companies put Kellogg's in the top slot. The rest of the top 10 included Campbell Soup Company, Hershey and Kraft Foods Group. Read more...


Amazon plans to add its own line of food

via The Wall Street Journal will reportedly add grocery items including milk, cereal and baby food to its lineup of private-label offerings. Read more...


Thursday, May 28: Big Food's big PR push | Nevada may stop state-run organic certification program

Big Food's no-additives push is misdirection

via Aljazeera

With recent announcements by Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Panera, it may seem like the better food movement is gaining ground, but Andy Bellatti argues that this piecemeal, PR-driven approach diverts attention from how unhealthy their offerings still are. Read more...


Nevada organics program may be shut down

via Reno Gazette-Journal

The Nevada Department of Agriculture may decide to discontinue its state-run organic certification program, which certifies 45 of the 78 organic operations in the state. Read more...


Bugs: Not what's for dinner—until they're tastier, maybe

via NPR

Everyone's raving about bugs as a sustainable protein source, but a British researcher says the reason Westerners haven't widely adopted eating them because of the taste factor. Read more...


Mondelez making strides in mindful snacking

via Food Business News

According to the company's 2014 progress report, it's on target to generate 25 percent of its revenue from its "better choices" options by 2020. Read more...


Don't count on soy to ease your asthma

via Futurity

Despite earlier studies that have suggested a link between soy intake and decreased asthma severity, a new study claims soy doesn't improve lung function. Read more...


Wednesday, May 27: Similac to sell GMO-free baby formula | New organic food company founded by Gwenyth Paltrow

Similac advance infant formula to be offered GMO-free

via New York Times

Abbott says it will begin selling the first mainstream baby formula made without genetically modified ingredients at Target by the end of the month. Read more...


Vegan diet may reduce diabetes nerve pain

via Health Central

In a small study, a group of overweight adults with diabetic nerve pain who followed a vegan diet and took vitamin B12 supplements reported significant pain relief compared to a test group not on the diet. Read more...


Gwenyth Paltrow's new food company will be weird

via NYMag

Trainer Tracy Anderson and actress Gwenyth Paltrow are going into the business of food takeout—of the healthy, organic kind, of course. Read more...


Are Taco Bell and Pizza Hut actually getting healthier?

via Time

Experts say taking out artificial ingredients, flavors and colors is a step in the right direction, but we must be sure they aren't adding more of things like sugar or salt in their place. Read more...


Field study shows how a GM crop can have diminishing success at fighting off insect pest

via ScienceDaily

A new study out of North Carolina State University finds that corn earworms seem to have developed resistance to a common strain of genetically modified corn. Read more...


Tuesday, May 26: Hormel buys Applegate for $775M | Amy's readies organic fast food restaurant

Hormel goes organic with latest big food acquisition

via Fortune

Applegate Farms will become a subsidiary of Hormel Foods under a $775 million deal announced today. Read more...


From soup to fries: Amy's joins the 'clean' fast food club

via CivilEats

In late June, Andy and Rachel Berliner will open Amy's Drive Thru restaurant will in Rohnert Park, California, serving "better-for-you" fast food. Read more...


Jelly Belly will launch organic confections, jelly beans and fruit snacks, CEO says

via Food Navigator

The candy company's new line will include USDA Organic, gluten free and vegetarian fruit-flavored snacks made with fruit juice and purees. Read more...


France to ban food waste in supermarkets

via Aljazeera

Under legislation passed last week, supermarkets will have to donate unsold but still edible food for use by a charity, as animal feed or as farming compost. Read more...


Why we need to stop calling all unhealthy foods 'processed'

via The Huffington Post

Not all processed foods are evil (for example, a bag of spinach). A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition sets out to clarify what's meant by 'processed.' Read more..

Safety concerns haven’t slowed energy drink sales

Safety concerns haven’t slowed energy drink sales

Despite widely known concerns about the safety of certain ingredients, energy drinks and shots are expected to remain popular with American consumers, primarily older Millennials (consumers age 27 to 37) who may be transitioning to parenthood. According to a new report, US Millennials increased energy drink consumption from 55 percent to 61 percent from 2014 to 2015, despite the fact that 74 percent of older Millennials express concerns about product safety compared to 65 percent of consumers overall. In an effort to counter these concerns, 81 percent of US consumers agree that companies should include recommended daily consumption limits on energy drink/shot packaging.

Despite all this, data shows that safety concerns have had little impact on consumers. While two thirds of all users (65 percent) worry about the safety of regular energy drinks/shots, it does not stop them from drinking the products. Only half of consumers drinking fewer energy drinks/shots agree they are concerned, compared to 68 percent who are drinking the same amount, and 41 percent are drinking more. In fact, consumption overall has diversified with many consumers (27 percent) drinking both regular and natural energy drinks/shots. This points to a growing popularity of natural claims in the category with 30 percent of users consuming natural energy drinks/shots.

“While there has been a movement, especially among Millennials, toward more natural ingredients, the energy drinks and shots market remains largely unaffected by changing consumer attitudes,” said Elisabeth Sisel, Beverage Analyst at Mintel. “The majority, a full 90 percent, of natural energy drink consumers also drink regular energy drinks. The steady consumption of both regular and natural energy products implies that US consumers may not perceive energy drinks as negatively as pop culture conveys.”

Lifestyle changes drive usage
Older Millennials are the core consumers of the US energy drinks/shots market, with 64 percent consuming energy drinks. While the same percentage of 18 to 26 year olds also consume energy drinks, older Millennials are increasing their consumption. Nearly one third of older Millennials (29 percent) consumed more energy drinks within the past three months compared to 22 percent who consumed less. This outpaces consumers age 18 to 26, of which only 16 percent reported consuming more and 27 percent said they drank less. Additionally, older Millennials strongly agree that energy drinks/shots are good substitutes for alternative caffeine beverages, including coffee (65 percent) and carbonated soft drinks (64 percent). 

“Older Millennials are, more likely than not, going through a lifestyle shift, such as getting married or having children, including 55 percent of those age 30 to 34 with kids. As a result, their interests and priorities are shifting and individuals that require more energy are turning to energy drinks and shots,” Sisel continued. “However, this goes against the grain of most energy drink advertising, which focuses primarily on young, single consumers and their active lifestyles. Our data shows the older Millennial consumer segment displays more brand loyalty and potential for long term usage.”

Similarly, consumption rates of energy drinks/shots are higher than average among US parents. Households with children are significantly more likely to consume energy drinks (58 percent) and shots (48 percent) when compared to those without children (27 percent and 18 percent respectively). Among US parents, 68 percent of fathers and 38 percent of mothers consume energy drinks. Specifically, fathers increased their consumption rates by 28 percent, compared to only 21 percent who drank less. In contrast, only 34 percent of non-fathers and 22 percent of non-mothers consume energy drinks. Men may be the heavier consumers of energy drinks and shots overall, but the presence of children drastically increases consumption and strongly impacts usage by women. Mothers are not only heavier users than men without children (38 percent vs 34 percent), but they are also significantly more likely to drink energy drinks and shots than women without kids (22 percent).

Energy drinks are overwhelmingly more popular
Overall, the energy drinks/shots category saw 56 percent growth from 2009-2014, including a quick recovery from low sales gains in 2013 when the industry came under fire for ingredient safety. Mintel predicts the industry will continue to grow through 2019, increasing an estimated 52 percent from 2014-2019. While parents and Millennials show increases in consumption of energy drinks, they have decreased their consumption of energy shots, which points to why the energy shot segment is spiraling. Energy drinks comprise 89 percent market share, with the segment expected to grow 10 percent in 2015 to $10.8 billion. However, the energy shots segment is one-eighth the size and expected to decline in sales for the third consecutive year.



NutraClick opens NYC office to support growth

NutraClick opens NYC office to support growth

NutraClick®, a technology-driven health and wellness products company, today announced the opening of its New York City office at the NoMad branch of WeWork, a network of shared workplaces. Located close to New York City’s e-commerce startup scene, the office will house NutraClick employees in positions relevant to the New York market and will be used as a meeting location with key partners.

Spearheading the Manhattan office is Jose Maury, recently hired at NutraClick as broadcast media director. Previously, Maury was the vice president of media at New Vitality and brings a wealth of experience working in traditional advertising channels, namely television and radio. Marrying its digital marketing approach with traditional advertising to reach new customers is a primary strategic objective for NutraClick in 2015, and Maury will be tasked with driving those efforts forward, while managing relationships with top media partners in New York.

“Establishing a presence in New York is an exciting step in NutraClick’s evolution, and there couldn’t be a more perfect avenue to launch an office than by joining WeWork, a great collaborative work environment that houses early-stage startups to more established companies,” said Daniel Wallace, CEO and cofounder at NutraClick. “A home base in NYC will open new doors and new partnerships that will undeniably benefit many aspects of our growth trajectory, especially in the realm of traditional advertising. With Jose leading the charge, we’re poised to make tremendous strides with our TV efforts in the coming months.”

Currently, WeWork NoMad can house five NutraClick employees, with the opportunity to expand into a bigger space to accommodate a growing team of full-time New York–based employees.



Sunwin to receive IP on enzyme-treated stevia

Sunwin to receive IP on enzyme-treated stevia

Sunwin Stevia International Inc. (OTCQB: SUWN) one of the top global providers of high quality stevia extracts including Rebaudioside A 98 and Rebaudioside A 99, announced that it has submitted a patent application for its enzyme-treated stevia products.

For years stevia usage has not been widely accepted as a natural sweetener, because it has a bitter, licorice-like aftertaste even with high-grade stevia such as Rebaudioside A 98 and Rebaudioside A 99. To resolve the issue, Sunwin Stevia has been working with scientists to develop enzyme-treated stevia for years. The enzyme-treated stevia product is obtained by addition of glucose to stevia extracts using α-glucosyltransferase. In addition, a special treat stevia seed is required to grow special stevia leaf for such advanced product. This new method can effectively decrease or eliminate the bitter aftertaste of natural stevia. Sunwin Stevia is the only company in the world that offers such advanced products on a commercial basis.

"We launched the revolutionary products in 2013 and they have been receiving wide acceptance in the U.S. by our customers. The new patent will protect our intellectual rights for our advanced enzyme-treated stevia products. Management expects the demand for our enzyme-treated stevia products will be increased substantially in the years to come," commented Ms. Dongdong Lin, CEO of Sunwin Stevia. "We believe our enzyme-treated stevia products will be a mainstay in the industry and will dominate the global stevia markets for years to come."