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Articles from 2021 In June

Packaging spotlight: Mission-forward rebrands and other new looks for summer

As the country heats up—reaching record high temps in many parts of the U.S.—many brands are refreshing their looks with new packaging. Some environmentally forward companies are choosing to put their missions first through rebrands, highlighting their efforts toward sustainability and how they're being part of the solution, not the problem, to the climate crisis.

Fetzer Vineyards, a top-12 U.S. marketer of wines that sells in over 50 countries worldwide, recently reimagined its flagship Fetzer label to focus on the winery's B Corp certification and emphasize the company's leading sustainability attributes. The largest B Corp winery in the U.S., the company is taking its packaging in a bold new direction to increase its consumer engagement efforts around the impact work the company has been doing, including providing communities with clean water and preventing plastic pollution through its partnership with Fill it Forward.

Taking a different approach, Tofurky is creating "billboards at shelf level" with new packaging for its Plant-Based Burgers, dedicating all of the precious space to a call to action for climate change. The new designs feature bold callouts on the front of each pack such as "Talk to your reps about climate change. Call 202-224-3121" and “Can a burger save the world? It can try."

Fellow plant-based brand Good Karma is refreshing its packaging design in the coming months to include The Detox Project’s Glyphosate Residue Free certification badge in addition to improving callouts of the products' nutritional benefits. In a press release, CEO Doug Radi said, “Our mission hasn’t changed, but we’re refreshing the Good Karma brand to celebrate our joyful and optimistic outlook while inviting shoppers to join us in doing good, for the betterment of our bodies and the planet."

Check out this gallery to see these mission-forward rebrands and some other notable new looks.


Why tallow skin care is making a comeback

Fauna Skincare

Still flying just under the mainstream radar, tallow-based skin care is claiming a cult following in the natural beauty subsect and offering quick wins for brands looking to start their journey into sourcing ingredients from regenerating land that’s making the planet healthier. 

Before the mid-20th century, tallow (fat from beef or other ruminant animals) was a highly common and beloved skin care ingredient, renowned for its many and powerful healing properties. While once overshadowed by the rise of the petrochemical industry, a new wave of planet-conscious entrepreneurs are reintroducing this ingredient to the clean beauty industry. Touted for its unique properties and treasured for its often uncomplicated and clean formulations, tallow skin care (especially regeneratively sourced tallow) is outperforming many plant-based products and swifty reclaiming its place on America’s top shelf.

The unique benefits of regeneratively sourced tallow

Tallow contains the same lipids found in healthy human skin, and this unique structure allows it to absorb easily and penetrate deeply, restoring the skin at a cellular level. Tallow from grass-fed animals contains high levels of vitamins A, D, K, E and B12 and is rich in essential fatty acids that help maintain the structure and barrier function of the skin. This abundant nutrient profile supports the production of collagen and provides anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, lending tallow the ability to help treat and soothe skin irritation and immune responses like eczema and rosacea. 

As an occlusive material, tallow mimics the natural barrier of the skin, providing protection from environmental and elemental wear and tear and helping to retain essential moisture. Tallow is also shelf-stable and can be stored for years without the addition of stabilizers or preservatives, making it an invaluable ingredient for clean skin care.

Consumers looking for ‘pro-planet’ ingredients

We know that consumers want to feel good about their purchases and prefer to buy products that make the planet better rather than degrading it. In a recent quantitative study among Land to Market’s consumer panel, we found that natural consumers indicated high interest in regeneratively sourced tallow products and are also willing to pay a premium for it. Specifically, we tested product packaging, claims and attributes that emphasized being regeneratively sourced (in this case, with the Land to Market verification seal), earth-friendly and beneficial as a functional ingredient. In a product like skin care, where consumers might assume that any natural type of moisturizing ingredient will do, products that can highlight the added benefit of improving our planet’s health by being sourced from regeneratively stewarded land provides an additional reason to believe, buy and share a product with others. 

It is clear that consumers around the world want to make more mindful choices in terms of environmental impact. From the beauty aisle to the grocery aisle, natural consumers looking to buy "better," for themselves and the planet, can look for labels, like the Land to Market verification seal, that allow them to trust that their products are coming from land that’s verified as regenerating. 

Consumer Panel Graph_June 2021.png

Brands leading the way 

Partnering with the Savory Institute’s Land to Market Program, Fauna is the first skin care company to source tallow exclusively from verified regenerative farms. Co-founders Claire Frohman and Frankie Figueroa both have extensive backgrounds in the field of sustainable food systems and believe that businesses can make a meaningful difference in the way everyday lifestyle products are sourced and crafted.

Both native to the Midwest, the founders are deeply aware of the wealth of biodiversity in their region that has, unfortunately, been eclipsed by industrial agriculture. “Growing up in Indiana, you would think there was nothing here but corn and soy. Being able to participate in regenerative systems that are actively restoring that landscape and that biodiversity feels really good,” said co-founder Frankie Figueroa. “As business owners we feel we have such a tangible role in supporting those systems. It’s an enormous responsibility that we take very seriously,” adds co-founder Claire Frohman.

As they grow as a business, Claire and Frankie continually turn to their local flora and fauna for inspiration. Their flagship formula integrates medicinal herbs and locally sourced hemp seed oil, celebrating the wealth of resources within their bio-region. Their commitment to a low-waste, carbon-neutral business model informed everything from their decision to source exclusively from within the contiguous United States to their simple, reusable packaging.

A gateway ingredient into regenerative sourcing

Tallow presents a big, fat (pun intended) opportunity in skin care, as well as many other natural products categories that can utilize this kind of material. Tallow is a readily available, inexpensive ingredient and, of those working to regenerate land across the globe, beef (and therefore tallow) makes up one of the largest categories within the growing Land to Market verified supply platform. 

Fauna’s intentional business model outlines nicely for us the many ways that regeneratively sourced tallow can help raise the bar in the natural skin care category:

  • Circular economy/reclaiming waste
  • Regenerative agriculture (regenerative grazing) 
  • Honoring place-based, local resources
  • Transparent supply chain
  • Non-extractive

Brands looking to source ingredients that come from land that’s verified as regenerating can look to programs like Land to Market to access a growing and global supply platform, including raw materials like tallow, as well as meat, dairy, wool, leather and many other agricultural materials. 

Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos leads marketing communications at Land to Market, the world's first outcomes-based verified regenerative sourcing solution and product labeling program.

Medly Pharmacy to acquire Pharmaca

medly pharmaca logos

Medly Pharmacy announced today that it recently entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the pharmacy chain Pharmaca. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions.

For nearly 20 years, Pharmaca has operated 28 stores offering a combination of wellness products including supplements, vitamins and over-the-counter medications, health services and dispensing prescription medications. Pharmaca was recently named in Newsweek's list of America's Best Trending Online Shops.

When this acquisition closes, Medly will expand its presence to almost 30 markets and provide customers with same-day free delivery on health and wellness products including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements and natural beauty products, in addition to prescription medications.

With this unprecedented expansion, Medly is moving into the $1.5 trillion dollar health and wellness industry and stands apart from competitors by positioning itself as the first digital pharmacy to enter the broader health and wellness space on a national scale.

The nation's fastest-growing digital pharmacy, Medly launched in 2017 with a mission to democratize pharmacy access by providing free same-day prescription delivery. Medly provides a comprehensive solution by dispensing all types of medications, including specialty, brand, generic and topical drugs. Medly accepts all insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid, and helps with discounts whenever possible, helping customers save $13 million on their prescriptions to date.

"Health is more than prescription drugs, it encompasses the whole realm of healthcare products and services to provide holistic care. With Medly's national digital presence, more people than ever before will have convenient access to the best in medicine, and will be able to get these products delivered to their door at no cost," announced Richard Willis, CEO of Pharmaca.

"We're thrilled to welcome Pharmaca into the Medly family," said Dr. Marg Patel, CEO and co-founder of Medly. "We are excited to merge Medly's deep knowledge of the pharmacy space with Pharmaca's extraordinary wellness offerings, providing customers with a 360-degree pharmacy experience. This transformative offering will ensure customers can get the full range of their healthcare needs delivered directly to their door. In addition, we look forward to expanding Medly's presence in the west to become the first digital pharmacy to have truly national reach."

Pharmaca customers will continue to get their prescriptions and unique products and services with the intention of integrating Medly's technology-enabled services over the next 18 months.

Medly will begin the rollout of their new full-service offering starting in the third quarter of 2021. PJ SOLOMON served as strategic and financial advisor to Pharmaca Integrative in its sale to Medly Pharmacy. The transaction was led by Syed Husain, Managing Director of the Pharmacy and Healthcare practices, with support from Flore Gimello, Jeff Feigenbaum, Yanfei Gao and Oliver Blecher.

Source: Medly Pharmacy

What is the No. 1 innovation that will impact modern health?


So much has changed in modern health over the past year (thanks, COVID-19!), and many long-term natural products industry trends are accelerating as a result. 

The three experts featured in this article will speak during the Breakthrough Wellness Innovations: Top Nutrition Trends and Opportunities session at the Modern Health Innovations Event on July 14, 2021, through the Natural Products Expo Virtual platform. This fast-paced session will delve into New Hope Network’s data-backed supplement trends and opportunities, as well as input from those who are introducing leading-edge nutrition innovations to the marketplace.

Register for the Modern Health Innovations Event here to get the latest intelligence on systemic health solutions, consumer-driven trends and hot ingredients, and watch the short videos below to get a sneak preview into the topics that will be discussed throughout the event.

Marika Azoff

Todd Runestad

Kara Landau


Prairie Food Co-op president explains the importance of collective contribution

Prairie Food Co-op prairie food co-op lombard

Kathy Nash, a senior software engineer at the University of Illinois, never imagined when she became a mom more than a decade ago that she would eventually become the co-founder and president of Prairie Food Co-op in the Chicago suburbs.

After Nash had kids, sourcing organic, sustainably grown food became more important to her. That’s when she discovered Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana, Illinois. At the time it was a tiny grocery store in the basement of a church, but Nash enjoyed talking to the farmers, buying in bulk and purchasing sustainably grown organic food.

“I felt more comfortable serving it to my children,” she says. “And supporting local farmers who are really struggling.”

kathy nash headshotEventually Nash (left) and her family moved to Lombard, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago in DuPage County.

“It seems to have good schools, a family-friendly atmosphere and it’s affordable,” says Nash about the town of 43,998 where the median family household income is $79,684 and the median property value is $252,200, according to Data USA.

Already a member of CSA programs, Nash tried to supplement her grocery shopping by joining Eat Local DuPage, a private Facebook group focused on locally grown food.

“I thought, ‘This is silly, we should have a store that does this, because there's a lot of interest,’” Nash says.

Nash and her husband spent the next year investigating whether creating a co-op would be feasible or not. “There’s not a lot of co-ops in suburban areas,” she says. “It’s usually dense urban areas or college campuses.” 

After doing several feasibility studies, they attempted to launch Prairie Food Co-op in Lombard. Nash’s oldest son, now a rising high school sophomore, was in kindergarten at the time.

“We never thought we’d be working on it this long,” Nash says.

Despite the pandemic, Prairie Food Co-op recently raised $1 million in nine weeks and now has approximately 1,500 owners.

Nash says Prairie Food Co-op has secured an estimated $1.3 million in commercial loans through three lenders: West Suburban Bank, Boston-based LEAF (Local Enterprise Assistance Fund) and National Cooperative Bank.

But Prairie Food Co-op still needs to raise $2.1 million by Dec. 31, Nash says, for a total project cost of $4.4 million to purchase the designated 10,000-square-foot space in Lombard. It is slated to open in early 2023, provided they can raise funding, and will work with approximately 150 local farmers and food producers including the owners of Rustic Road Farm in Elburn, Illinois.

Below, Nash discusses the roadblocks and partnerships that have landed the business where it is today.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?

Kathy Nash: There are a lot of misconceptions about co-ops. I like to tell everyone it's a mission-driven grocery store. Of course, that doesn't fully encapsulate everything because, by law, a food co-op has to reinvest its profits into the business to offer more benefits to the community or use those profits and pay back its ownership.

It’s a confusing concept to a lot of people. A lot of people pay their $200 to become an owner and think "I’m done."  But you are a business owner. It’s somewhat on all of our owners’ shoulders to do what we can collectively do to bring this to fruition.

Why has it taken so long?

KN: When we first started, the average time to open a co-op was five to seven years, and we were hoping to be on the five-year spectrum. But food co-ops have gotten more expensive to open because financing has become more expensive. To compete against a very competitive food retail landscape, you have to look like a regular grocery store to attract customers.

What’s it like trying to start a co-op in a suburb versus Chicago?

KN: You have to be bigger. We couldn't open a 2,000-square-foot store, like what’s happened in Chicago because it's such a dense urban area people are used to walking. There’s no parking and no deliveries because I think they come through the front door. We wouldn't survive here doing that.

We had to have parking. As much as you think people might walk or ride their bikes suburban shoppers like to drive. You have to be centrally located and need truck access because semis are delivering once or twice a week, and they have to be able to deliver because our community's not going to be happy if they're parked on a main street blocking traffic.

prairie food co-op farmers

How did you find your space, Holladay Properties?

KN: It was one of those beautiful old theaters that was in disrepair. There was a real big effort to save the theater, but it got torn down anyway. The site sat vacant for a long time. The village of Lombard wanted a grocery store because residents have not had a grocery store in that area for over 40 years.

The village spent a couple of years trying to incentivize a big-box retailer to go there, but there was no interest. They issued an RFP and opened it up to any type of development. So we partnered with two different development companies on two very different proposals.

We’re moving forward with Holiday Properties; there will be a luxury apartment complex with underground parking. We will be a separate building designated as a single-use grocery store with a parking lot in the middle.

Lombard isn’t a food desert, but there aren’t a lot of options where you hope to build.

KN: Right. It is considered a low access area by the USDA because there’s not a grocery store within a one-mile radius.

What has surprised you the most throughout this process?

KN: The Food Co-op Initiative, a nonprofit in Minnesota, is our primary go-to for professional advice. We collaborate with other co-ops around the country. There are about 200 organizing around the country.

Based on what we were told, we were expecting about 20% to 25% of our owners to contribute an average of $5,000.

We had more owners, about 30%, contribute, which was higher than the average for other co-ops, but the average contribution amount was lower with a $2,500 average which was disappointing.

DuPage County is the second-wealthiest county in Illinois, the 25th overall in the country. We felt confident that the wealth was here to do this.

How did you come up with the $5,000 average?

KN: The Food Co-op Initiative tracks numbers across the country. Several co-ops ran simple campaigns and hit higher than $5,000 averages. It doesn't mean everybody contributes $5,000, but every co-op has people come through with larger investments that bring up the average to $5,000.

For example, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, there’s a food co-op located in a lower-income community, but their average was $5,000 because they had a $100,000 donor.

It sounds like you have a lot of small investments but still need the larger ones. Why is that?

KN: That’s right. We don’t know why. That’s something we are trying to better understand this summer because without those higher investments we can’t open.

What else are you doing to get funding?

KN: Lombard has a sales tax rebate program that they offer all businesses in Lombard. So we're working with them, but we need more.

A lot of co-ops get additional traditional funding sources from their community through zero or very low-interest community loans. We are hoping leadership either from DuPage County or Lombard can help us with some incentive packages or low-interest community loans. There are so many things out there right now, such as The American Jobs Plan, so we are hoping to tap into some of that funding because we were impacted by COVID-19.

[email protected]: Eat Just shoots for $3B IPO in 2021 | Average summer cookout cost falls

Eat Just eat just egg

Eat Just aiming for $3B IPO in 2021

Eat Just is reportedly targeting Q4 2021 or early 2022 for its IPO, which currently has a valuation of $3 billion. The company has raised $440 million to date; its most recent fundraise was a $200 million round led by Qatar Investment Authority earlier this year. Eat Just was notably the first company ever to achieve regulatory approval to sell cultured meat to consumers, and CEO Josh Tetrick hinted to The Spoon that regulatory approval in the U.S. is headed in a positive direction.

July 4 summer cookout costs a bit less this year

The typical Fourth of July cookout will cost U.S. consumers a few cents less this year, according to an analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). This may come as a surprise following the supply chain disruptions that have caused price fluctuations in meat and other food products such as strawberries. This year, 68% of Americans expect to return to normal Independence Day celebrations as the pandemic eases, according to consumer data specialist Numerator. Supermarket News reports.

OSHA received relatively few COVID-19 complaints related to agriculture

Through May 2021, agriculture—crop farming, cattle ranching and the like—has had relatively few complaints for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Out of roughly 67,000 complaints, agriculture accounts for 562; many of these complaints unsurprisingly state that employers were not following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Meatpacking plants are notably not included under the federal governments definition of agriculture, which may partially explain the lack of ire. The Counter has the data.

New Colorado law attempts to reduce cross-pollination between hemp and cannabis

Many cannabis and hemp farmers in Colorado farm outdoors, which can lead to instances of cross-pollination becauses hemp and cannabis are the same plant species. This Modern Farmer article shows how some growers are partnering with lawmakers to prevent this, starting with Colorado's new House Bill 21-1301. On top of existing measures, the working group assigned to the issue may suggest new zoning restrictions for crops, more female-only growth ordinances or designate strains and clones to specific areas. 

Inside the fight to become the dominant delivery app

This Eater podcast explores popular food delivery apps' tactics to win users' delivery dollars and investor funding from the point of view of the people who built them, plus what motivated the key decisions that changed how delivery works and changed how we eat. Also in the article is the link to the second part of the podcast, which delves into how these brands got started, the investors that supercharged them and the lengths they went to in order to reach the scale they needed to dominate the industry.

KeHE announces On Trend Award Winners at 2021 Holiday Trade Show

kehe on trend awards 2021

KeHE Distributors has concluded its 2021 Holiday Trade Show that brought together over 570 exhibiting suppliers and thousands of buyers using its proprietary virtual platform, KeHE CONNECT 

The virtual Holiday Show took place from June 10-18 and showcased innovation and trends for the 2021 holiday season while offering fan-favorite items for purchase. Suppliers and retailers used the platform to communicate with one another, explore promotional deals, discover product attributes and place deep deal orders online. Attendees were invited to explore KeHE’s New Product Showcase, vote for the Next Generation Innovation Faceoff winner and participate in virtual education sessions.  

“Our annual trade shows bring together food and beverage professionals for networking and product exploration,” said Ari Goldsmith, vice president of marketing at KeHE. “With the consecutive success of our virtual and in-person shows, we are excited to host our first hybrid event at the 2022 KeHE Summer Show this February. The blended event will continue to drive growth for our retailers and suppliers through digital convenience and personal connection.” 

During the show, KeHE once again demonstrated its commitment to innovation by selecting 17 On Trend Award Winners. The below winners were selected out of a pool of over 100 submissions for innovation, purpose, ingredients and salability:

Best of Show: Nuttzo 

Baking and Desserts: Enlightened 

Bars and Breakfast: Nature’s Baker 

Beverage: Fever Tree 

Condiment: Curtice Brothers 

Confection: Endangered Species 

Diversity: B.Nutty 

Fresh: You Are Loved Foods 

Frozen: Cappellos 

HBC and Personal Care: Grandpas Soap Co. 

Pet: Caboo 

Holiday Cheer: Nutpods  

Refrigerated and Dairy: Laird Superfood 

Mission-Based Brand: Small Axe Peppers 

Snack Food: Vegan Rob’s 

Pasta, Rice and Grains: Chickapea 

VMS: Goli Nutrition 

“We are excited to honor these well-deserving brands for driving innovation within our industry,” said Rachelle Radcliffe, director of brand development at KeHE. “We believe that these On Trend Award Winners are going to be extremely influential in bringing innovation to the marketplace this upcoming holiday season.” 

KeHE’s 2021 Holiday Show enabled numerous opportunities for innovation exploration with more emerging brands from KeHE’s elevate program than ever before. The show also named its Next Generation Innovation Faceoff winner, Cocacao, winning a spot in the elevate program. 

Source: KeHE

How the at-home NEXTY Awards experience elevated the program

As is true for so many things these past two years, New Hope Network's NEXTY Awards program looked a bit different for Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week.

In addition to pivoting to a virtual event, the New Hope Network team also had to make some adjustments to the way that it managed the NEXTY Awards judging process, both to emphasize health and safety and to give each product the maximum consideration possible. Watch the short video below to see how the team made it happen and then see the winners.

NEXTY Awards nominations for Natural Products Expo East 2021 are now open. The nomination window, which closes on Friday, July 9, is open to all natural products CPG brands. The winners will be celebrated virtually and at Expo East, taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Sept. 22-25, 2021. Nominate today.

What it takes to judge the NEXTY Awards during the pandemic

With the cancellation of an in-person expo this year, the New Hope Network team was excited to be able to conduct this special edition of the NEXTY Awards for Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week so that the industry could still celebrate all of the great innovation happening in the industry. 

With COVID-19 precautions as a top priority during the judging process, our judging team—made up of New Hope Network editorial, standards and NEXT Data and Insights teams as well as guest judges—had to get creative with how we judged all of the nominated products. Watch the short flick below to see how it happened and then check out the winners.

NEXTY Awards nominations for Natural Products Expo East 2021 are now open. The nomination window, which closes on Friday, July 9, is open to all natural products CPG brands. The winners will be celebrated virtually and at Expo East, taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Sept. 22-25, 2021. Nominate today.


[email protected]: Heatwave damages crops | Google tool fights hunger | Most sustainable foods

Getty Images dry crops drought heatwave

Historic heatwave in Pacific Northwest causes concerns over crops

Portland, Seattle and parts of western Canada far surpassed all-time heat records for the second straight day this past Monday. A sprawling zone of high pressure or "heat dome" is to blame here, and although events such as this are rare climate change is making them increasingly less so. So, how will all this affect what we eat? It's currently peak harvest season in the Pacific Northwest but it's far too hot to be out working in fields or groves, for one. And compounding that is the fact that heat puts stress on the crops themselves and makes them less nutritious and substantial. The Food Institute delves into the issue.

Google launches a tool to help Americans struggling with food insecurity

Google launched its Find Food Support website this week, which aims to connect food-insecure households to helpful resources such as food banks, school lunch programs and food pantries. Google said in a blog post that it worked with No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to collect data on food assistance programs around the country. Unsurprisingly, the company also said that during the pandemic searches for “food bank near me,” “food stamps application,” “school lunch pick up” and other similar phrases reached “record highs.” The Spoon reports.

The most sustainable foods, from seaweed to venison

What should we eat to save the planet? According to The Guardian, the following foods are the current expert-chosen favorites: oats, grass-fed beef or lamb, locally grown produce, mussels, pulses, seaweed and venison. Another star category in terms of reversing egregious damage to the planet is products that incorporate upcycled ingredients that are sourced from another product's waste stream.

Rethinking your post-pandemic relationship with booze

Nearly one in four adults said they managed COVID-19 stress by drinking more alcohol, according to an American Psychological Association survey, although the majority of these people don't consider themselves as having a problematic relationship with booze. On the other hand, health concerns prompted many others to give up on drinking entirely in pursuit of an ironclad immune system. Sober-curious movements are as alive as ever, consisting of “drying-out periods” of several weeks or more, inspirational hashtags such as #soberissexy, online sober coaches, “sober” bars and “craft” distilleries that make and sell plant-based faux booze. Learn more at WebMD.

Could a distaste for broccoli indicate greater resistance to COVID-19?

A study conducted earlier this year analyzed nearly 2,000 patients and found that so-called “supertasters”—individuals who are overly sensitive to some bitter compounds—were less likely to test positive for COVID-19. This indicates that taste receptors might be more intertwined than we think with innate immunity, and scientists are now hoping to find more connections between this family of receptors and other upper respiratory infections. National Geographic has the scoop.