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Articles from 2014 In July


5 questions with Jeff Church of Suja

5 questions with Jeff Church of Suja

Suja has become one of the fastest-growing organic juice brands ever. But just a few years ago, co-founders Eric Ethans and Annie Lawless were hand-delivering Igloo coolers full of the cold-pressed juice to eager local customers, without a name or a scalable business model. Since cold-pressed juice is unpasteurized to preserve nutrients, it normally only has a shelf life of just three to four days, making it unfit for store distribution.

It wasn't until co-founder James Brennan, one of the company's passionate early customers, introduced the two entrepreneurs to Jeff Church that a larger vision began to take shape. Church, a Cleveland native and Harvard Business School graduate, came across high-pressure processing (HPP), a method of killing pathogens without heat, which extends the shelf life of cold-pressed juice tenfold without altering its taste.

Now, Suja ranks at No. 3 on Forbes' 2014 list of America's Most Promising Companies. We asked Church, who has been co-founder and CEO of Suja since 2012, five questions about the initial challenges the juice operation faced on its way to becoming a major success story.

What do you wish you would’ve known when you first started out in the natural products industry?

Church: We understood the momentum that was behind the organic and non-GMO movements, but we underestimated the growth of the fresh-pressed, HPP juice category. In less than two years, we have outgrown three production and distribution facilities while proliferating to over 40 SKUs. This is an aspect of the business that none of us anticipated when launching into the industry.

Once Suja began to take off, what are some challenges you faced with distribution, supply, cost, etc?

Church: Every week we source fresh, organic produce from farmers in California based on demand. As our company scaled to become nationwide and production increased from a few hundred bottles a week to a few hundred thousand bottles per week, we had to spend time educating our customers on what it means to buy a fresh juice with a shorter shelf life than the pasteurized juices most buyers were familiar with.  

To what do you attribute Suja’s success as a brand?

Church: Our success is attributed entirely to the team's dedication since day one. Each bottle of juice is viewed as the “hero” of our entire group's efforts. We have a dedicated team of chefs working to keep the taste profiles consistent as we process thousands of pounds of fresh produce every day. The Suja culture allows us to remain agile while simultaneously growing to become one of the country’s top juice brands.

What’s been your biggest learning experience since launching Suja?

Church: Launching Suja and experiencing the early demand for our products taught us how powerful the health and wellness category is. Many doubted the sustainability of an $8.99 juice product on the market. We quickly learned that the demand for consistent, healthy products was here to stay and it was growing fast.

Has the citrus greening outbreak in the U.S. impacted Suja at all in terms of sourcing and supply?

Church: No, fortunately Suja was able to develop great relationships with many organic produce suppliers early on. We have learned a lot about organic seasonality and availability. Retaining and supporting our relationships with the farmers is one of our most important aspects of growth.

 

Soy makes women’s hearts happier

Lifelong soy consumption can be linked to better heart health for post-menopausal women according to a new primate study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society. The study was noted on sciencedaily.com.
Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, studied a group of cynomolgus monkeys (crab-eating macaques) who ate diets containing various level of soy (and crabs, apparently). They fed premenopausal monkeys a diet with protein mainly from animal sources or a diet with protein from high-isoflavone soybeans. After their ovaries were removed to mimic human menopause, one group of monkeys continued to eat a soy diet, another switched from animal protein to soy, a third group continued to be fed animal protein, and a fourth was switched from animal protein to soy.
Researchers checked their cholesterol levels after 34 months, comparing them to the monkeys’ levels at the start of the study. The monkeys who ate soy before and after menopause had “good” levels, according to a release about the study.  Cholesterol levels improved “significantly” for monkeys that were switched to a soy protein diet after menopause, similar to women who become concerned about heart health at this time in life and change their diet.
The monkeys who ate a lifelong diet of soy had much lower proportions of complicated plaque in the arteries than the other monkeys. A postmenopausal switch to soy for the monkeys who had plaque in the arteries at the time of menopause, “markedly reduced the progression of plaque in the arteries.”
Beyond its impact on plaque levels, there’s another reason women may want to consider adding soy to their diet. An earlier study conducted by researchers at the Group Health Research Institute, University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute found that eating more soy was associated with larger reductions in menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as hot flashes, among some women.

Chew on this: Solgar Vitamin D3 1000 IU tablets

Chew on this: Solgar Vitamin D3 1000 IU tablets

Solgar® Vitamin D3 1000 IU Chewable Tablets are ideal for consumers who want to supplement their diet with vitamin D but have difficulty swallowing tablets, capsules or softgels.

Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and is involved in bone mineralization. It also helps to support a healthy immune system and neuromuscular function.

Vitamin D3 is a potent and active form of vitamin D, the form naturally produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. As we age, our bodies produce this nutrient less efficiently. That’s why vitamin D supplementation may be important for many people.

Solgar Vitamin D3 1000 IU Chewable Tablets are easy to take and available in a great-tasting natural strawberry banana swirl flavor. They’re also kosher certified and free of gluten, wheat, and dairy. Solgar Vitamin D3 1000 IU Chewable Tablets are for adults and children ages two and up. This formula will be available in health food stores worldwide.

Cyactiv: new, blue antioxidant powerhouse

Cyactiv: new, blue antioxidant powerhouse

A brilliant “blue antioxidant” provides a new path to a healthy inflammation response allowing for an active lifestyle and overall wellness. Cyactiv™, a natural, GRAS-designated microalgae extract is clinically proven to reduce physical discomfort in joints and muscles during daily activity. Backed by solid scientific research, Cyactiv’s unique concentration of Phycocyanin and other active blue-green algae-derived compounds helps rebalance the body to support a healthy inflammation response.

Cyactiv works by managing the “reaction cascade," the body’s complex inflammation response as it reacts to a stressor, to maintain inflammation within a normal range. Other benefits include promoting healthy joints, healthy aging through antioxidant activity and increased joint and muscle comfort during daily activity. Cyactiv has been scientifically tested for performance using “mechanism of action” research in human clinical trials.

Cyactiv is based on a natural, proprietary water extraction process, which is as unique as its brilliant blue color. Cyactiv is controlled for purity and quality at every step of the manufacturing process under strict QC standards and compliance with cGMP. For more information on the benefits of blue Cyactiv, visit cyactiv.com  or stop by booth #34143 at the SupplySide West Global Expo and Conference. 

6 CRN members win NBJ Summit awards

6 CRN members win NBJ Summit awards

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, congratulates its six member companies honored last week at the NBJ Summit in Dana Point, Calif. The annual NBJ Business Achievement Awards recognize individuals and companies making significant advancements in health, wellness and nutrition.

This year’s award winners included 24 companies in 12 categories, with an additional “Lifetime Achievement” winner named. CRN congratulates its six member company award winners in the following categories:

  • Growth: Alkemist Labs
  • Management Achievement: Healthy Directions
  • Deals of the Year:
    • BASF’s acquisition of Pronova BioPharma
    • Enzymotec’s successful IPO
    • Omega Protein’s acquisition of Wisconsin Specialty Protein
    • Permira Advisers acquisition of Atrium Innovations

According to CRN President and CEO Steve Mister, “We congratulate all of the winners, and are particularly proud that one-quarter are members of CRN. Our member companies are experiencing growth, creating value for their investors and leading the industry; these awards are an affirmation that these CRN members are doing something right.”

For a full list of award winners, subscribe to Nutrition Business Journal.

 

Entrepreneur Profile: Jeff Church, co-founder & CEO of Suja

Entrepreneur Profile: Jeff Church, co-founder & CEO of Suja

 

Jeff Church, CEO of Suja JuiceSuja has become one of the fastest-growing organic juice brands ever. But just a few years ago, co-founders Eric Ethans and Annie Lawless were hand-delivering Igloo coolers full of the cold-pressed juice to eager local customers, without a name or a scalable business model. Since cold-pressed juice is unpasteurized to preserve nutrients, it normally only has a 3 to 4 day shelf life, making it unfit for store distribution.

It wasn't until co-founder James Brennan, an avid early customer, introduced the two entrepreneurs to Jeff Church that a larger vision began to take shape. Church, a Cleveland native and Harvard Business School graduate, came across high-pressure processing (HPP), a method of killing pathogens without heat, which extends the shelf life of cold-pressed juice tenfold without altering its taste. 

Now, Suja ranks at #3 on Forbes' 2014 list of America's Most Promising Companies. We asked Church, who has been co-founder and CEO of Suja since 2012, five questions about the initial challenges the juice operation faced on its way to becoming a major success story. 

What do you wish you would’ve known when you first started out in the natural products industry?

We understood the momentum that was behind the organic and non-GMO movements, but we underestimated the growth of the fresh-pressed, HPP juice category. In less than two years, we have outgrown three production and distribution facilities while proliferating to over 40 SKUs. This is an aspect of the business that none of us anticipated when launching into the industry. 

Once Suja began to take off, what are some challenges you faced with distribution, supply, cost, etc?

Every week we source fresh, organic produce from farmers in California based on demand. As our company scaled to become nationwide and production increased from a few hundred bottles a week to a few hundred thousand bottles per week, we had to spend time educating our customers on what it means to buy a fresh juice with a shorter shelf life than the pasteurized juices most buyers were familiar with.  

To what do you attribute Suja’s success as a brand?

Our success is attributed entirely to the team's dedication since day one. Each bottle of juice is viewed as the “hero” of our entire group's efforts. We have a dedicated team of chefs working to keep the taste profiles consistent as we process thousands of pounds of fresh produce every day. The Suja culture allows us to remain agile while simultaneously growing to become one of the country’s top juice brands. 

What's been your biggest learning experience since launching Suja?

Launching Suja and experiencing the early demand for our products taught us how powerful the health and wellness category is. Many doubted the sustainability of an $8.99 juice product on the market. We quickly learned that the demand for consistent, healthy products was here to stay and it was growing fast. 

Has the citrus greening outbreak in the U.S. impacted Suja at all in terms of sourcing and supply?

No, fortunately Suja was able to develop great relationships with many organic produce suppliers early on. We have learned a lot about organic seasonality and availability. Retaining and supporting our relationships with the farmers is one of our most important aspects of growth.

New standouts in sustainable packaging

When brothers Caleb and Chris Simpson set out to create a super clean, vegan, raw bar, packaging was always part of the picture. The company first turned out fruit, seed and nut bars in a resealable package that customers were encouraged to reuse for everything from snack to seed bags. Then the idea of compostable packaging came into the picture. The brothers doggedly pursued the concept, researching and negotiating with multiple different packaging companies, until they found a way to package their bars in a compostable wrapper with a brown bag-esque charm.

The brothers were right on track with consumer demand. A 2013 article from the Hartman Group reports findings that sustainably oriented packaging is quickly becoming not only a consumer expectation but also a “primary purchase motivator.”

Biodegradable packaging is one sustainable packaging trend that is quickly spreading across product categories. Everything from chocolates to chips to nutrition bars are now finding homes in compostable packages. Many of the products are also able to decompose in home composting systems, a major plus in the many places where industrial composting systems are still a long ways off.

Within the compostable packaging realm, sugarcane is an especially sweet solution that many are turning to. Besides being plastic-free and easily compostable, the material would otherwise be burned or disposed of as a waste product from the sugar extraction process.

And then there are companies looking to creative inputs like locally-grown potatoes and plastic polluting the ocean as the base for their packaging.

Here are a few of the brands, big and small, taking notable steps toward making their packaging greener on the front end and the back. It's a taste of how far and wide sustainable packaging trend is reaching.

Can you think of a brand I missed that's rocking the green packaging trend? Give a shout in the comments below!

 

DuPont develops new BAX System assay

DuPont develops new BAX System assay

Food processors and service labs who need a fast, accurate test for Listeria monocytogenes can now use the latest DuPont™ BAX® System assay from DuPont Nutrition & Health to help support food safety and quality standards. This next-generation test—which combines shorter, simpler sample preparation and faster real-time processing, without sacrificing accuracy or reliability—will be introduced at the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) annual meeting in Indianapolis Aug. 3 to 6.

The DuPont BAX System Real-Time PCR Assay for L. monocytogenes is a quick and reliable method for detecting L. monocytogenes in a variety of products and has been validated on frankfurters, cooked shrimp, spinach, queso fresco and environmental surfaces. Furthermore, the assay provides additional flexibility by allowing customers to test for L. monocytogenes, Listeria spp. and Salmonella in the same batch, with results for all organisms in a little over an hour.  

“Listeria monocytogenes is widely recognized as an important cause of human foodborne illness, particularly for persons with heightened susceptibility,” said Rob McPheeters, diagnostics leader at DuPont Nutrition & Health. “With this new real-time PCR assay, we are reconfirming our commitment to helping food producers and manufacturers detect this pathogen with speed, accuracy and reliability to provide the best value in science-based solutions.”

In addition, this new assay completes the BAX System portfolio of real-time PCR assays for the common U.S. pathogens, which allow for superior specificity, shorter processing time and faster results. With this offering, DuPont Nutrition & Health can provide a complete testing solution for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 STEC, Genus Listeria, L. monocytogenes, Campylobacter and more on a single, easy-to-use platform.

“Real-time PCR technology is a reliable and trusted method for rapid pathogen detection in food,” said Shannon Bullard, Diagnostics global product manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health. “We are proud to offer a complete real-time testing solution for all the common pathogen testing needs with the DuPont BAX System, including the accuracy, reliability and support you expect from DuPont.”

 

 

Probium probiotics now sold nationwide

Probium probiotics now sold nationwide

Probium® LLC Single Blend 6B, Dual Blend 6B, Multi Blend 12B, 10 Strain Blend 50B, Pro-Cran Blend 6B, Kids Blend Wild Berry Chewable 6B and Oral Blis Combo 4B are now available nationwide through Walgreens.com and Drugstore.com. They are also available through Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Super Natural Distributors, KEHE Distributors, Threshold Enterprises, Palko Services and Nature’s Best.

Probium LLC makes Premium Probiotics to help improve both digestive and oral health. All the adult digestive probiotics are free of maltodextrin and magnesium stearate and use Sunfiber® to create the ultimate digestion assistance by combining probiotics, prebiotics and a high-quality fiber. They also use Delayed Release Veggie Capsule.

All Probium LLC Premium Probiotics are bottled in a unique, patented Activ-Polymer® moisture-absorbing desiccant sleeve plastic bottle with an oxygen-absorbing pack to enhance the shelf life. While all of the products target customers with varied probiotic requirements, Pro-Cran Blend 6B has been made exclusively for women and Kids Blend Wild Berry Chewable 6B for children above age 2. Oral Blis Combo 4B containing BLIS K12® and BLIS® M18 is a comprehensive oral health probiotic aimed at supporting the teeth, gums, sinus and throat.

AstaReal gains Health Canada approval

AstaReal logo

AstaReal Inc. announced its successful Canadian Product License approval for astaxanthin of up to 12 mg per day. On July 25, AstaReal, Inc. received its notification from Health Canada approving the use of AstaReal natural astaxanthin as a “source of antioxidants” and to “help improve muscle endurance.”

Many years of extensive research has proven astaxanthin to be the most potent antioxidant against singlet oxygen, one of the strongest reactive oxygen species (ROS). There are many benefits attributed to this antioxidant property of astaxanthin. One of those benefits is its ability to modify muscle metabolism, resulting in improved muscle performance and endurance.

Charles DePrince, president and CEO of AstaReal Inc., said, “This is very exciting and a testament to our dedication to the continued research of natural astaxanthin. With more than 100 published studies involving AstaReal astaxanthin under our belt, AstaReal’s research program shows no sign of slowing.”

Other areas of astaxanthin study that AstaReal is actively supporting include cardiovascular, liver and metabolic support. AstaReal Inc. is a biotech company within the Fuji Group exclusively dedicated to the production, research and marketing of natural astaxanthin. AstaREAL is the only astaxanthin that has gone through the successful notification process for GRAS with the FDA.