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Articles from 2018 In July


Nutrition Capital Network

Nutrition Capital Network Deal Download: July 2018

Natural ingredient deals

As the global colors, flavors and fragrances industry responds to consumer demand for natural products, large players have been acquiring or investing in natural ingredient companies. Sensient Technologies acquired Mazza Innovation Ltd.,—developer of a solvent-free, environmentally friendly botanical extraction technology—in July for an undisclosed amount. Mazza’s PhytoClean method extracts bioactive ingredients from plants by applying heat and pressure to water to lower its polarity, causing it to behave like an organic solvent and eliminating the need for chemical solvents. This means Sensient can offer more natural botanical ingredients to clients developing clean-label products. Other transactions this year include:

  • International Flavors & Fragrances’ acquisition of Frutarom for approximately $7.1 billion.
  • Synergy Flavours’ acquisition of herbal extract and natural flavoring supplier Janoušek of Italy.
  • Givaudan’s acquisition of the Nutrition Division of Centroflora Group of Brazil and investment in French botanicals company Naturex.
  • Firmenich’s purchase of Natural Flavors.

Mazza Innovation presented its business plan at NCN investor meetings in the United States and Europe.

Nutritional ingredient supplier Cambridge Commodities Ltd. of the United Kingdom strengthened its U.S. infrastructure by acquiring Earth Circle Organics LLC. Earth Circle Organics' raw and organic superfood ingredient business will merge with the U.S. arm of Cambridge Commodities to create Earth Circle Ingredients based in northern California. The deal will provide Earth Circle with access to vegan and dairy proteins, natural extracts, and fruit and vegetable powders. Cambridge Commodities has supplied the sports nutrition, health & wellbeing, nutraceutical and animal nutrition industries for two decades and has seen revenues grow from $35 million in 2014 to $55 million in 2018.

Supplement deals

Mitsui & Co. and Kirin Holdings of Japan will jointly acquire an 80 percent stake in the holding company of Thorne Research Inc., a prominent supplement brand in the U.S. practitioner channel with sales of approximately $90.3 million, according to its acquirers. Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) estimates that consumer sales of supplements through the practitioner channel grew 8 percent to $4 billion in 2017, faster than the supplement industry at large, led by Atrium Innovations (acquired by Nestlé in March 2018 for $2.3 billion), Metagenics and Standard Process. While Thorne ranked ninth in supplement revenues, an NBJ survey found that Pure Encapsulations and Thorne Research were the highest-ranking brands among consumers who purchased supplements through the practitioner channel.

Zarbee's Naturals agreed to acquisition by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., the maker of Johnson's Baby products, Tylenol and Motrin. Founded in 2008, Zarbee’s Naturals produced a natural cough syrup for kids, an alternative to existing OTC products; the company now offers a range of health-and-wellness products for children and adults which are free of alcohol, drugs and artificial flavors. Since 2011, Zarbee’s partnership with its majority owner L Catterton has produced roughly 15-fold organic revenue growth and generated exceptional returns for investors, according to Scott Dahnke, global co-CEO of L Catterton.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) is to acquire Probiotics International Limited of the United Kingdom—a provider of probiotic supplements for humans, pets and livestock—for £185 million (US$240.9 million on July 19). Probiotics International makes the Bio-Kult brand of probiotic supplements, in addition to contract-manufactured products. Earlier this year, ADM brought its animal and human nutrition product lines together into a single nutrition business platform that houses ADM’s health and wellness business, including bioactive ingredients, botanical extracts and specialty nutritional oils.

Branded food deals

Plant-based dairy alternatives chalked up two investments in July. Dairy company Dean Foods took a majority stake in Good Karma Foods a year after announcing a minority investment in the flaxseed-based milk and yogurt brand. Good Karma will operate as an independent company led by its existing leadership team. 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners remains a material investor. Dean Foods owned the Silk soy milk and almond milk brand as part of WhiteWave Foods from 2002 to 2013, when Dean Foods spun off WhiteWave into a publicly traded company. “Good Karma is a fast-growing brand that gets us back into the growing plant-based food and beverage category,” said Dean Foods CEO Ralph Scozzafava.

California Farms closed an additional $50 million in funding led by Ambrosia Investments, with existing investors Sun Pacific and Stripes Group participating. California Farms makes refrigerated nut milks, plant-based non-dairy creamers and dairy-free probiotic yogurt drinks. A former managing director at Barclays and Goldman Sachs was appointed chief financial officer.

B&G Foods added to its better-for-you portfolio with the acquisition of McCann's Irish Oatmeal from TreeHouse Foods Inc. for $32 million. McCann’s, which had sales of approximately $13 million in 2017, joins SnackWell’s cookies and Back to Nature granola in B&G’s portfolio—two brands acquired by B&G for around $162.5 million last year. B&G also owns Pirate’s Booty natural snacks, Mrs. Dash salt-free seasonings, Cream of Wheat and Green Giant. For TreeHouse, the divestiture will help streamline business, pay down debt and concentrate on private label.

Healthy beverage deals

Tea was the magic ingredient for beverage deals last month, with MatchaBar completing an $8 million Series A round led by celebrity investors including producer and DJ Diplo and NFL Super Bowl MVP and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. MatchaBar also launched Hustle, a sparkling matcha energy drink, claiming the “clean, natural alternative to energy drink staples” would shake up the $22 billion energy drink market. Funding will be used to expand the brand's line of bottled and canned drinks made with organic matcha green tea, which the company says offers sustained energy rather than the crash and burn of espresso or conventional energy drinks.

Tea Drops closed a $1.9 million seed round for its alternative to teabag brews led by AccelFoods; co-investors included Halogen Ventures and Cue Ball Capital. The tea “drops” are made from pressed organic loose-leaf teas that are finely ground and disintegrate in the cup when boiling water is added. The teas are lightly sweetened and flavored with organic spices, dried fruits and other natural ingredients.

Nestlé Waters acquired a majority stake in Princes Gate Spring Water Ltd., the eighth-largest manufacturer of bottled water in the United Kingdom, where the £3.7 billion bottled water market (US$4.9 billion) has grown by 8 percent each year for the past five years, according to Nestlé. Princes Gate Spring Water was founded in 1991 on organic land farmed for generations by a family in South Wales.

RETHINK Brands received a $6.7 million investment led by AccelFoods to grow sales of its unsweetened organically flavored water for children. In addition to providing an alternative to juice, RETHINK Kids Water is the first boxed water line for kids to be sold at grocers nationwide, the company said, with distribution in more than 11,000 stores, including Walmart, Target and Kroger.

Agtech deals

The biggest challenge for indoor farming is access to capital, according to Agrilyst, developer of a software program for indoor farming and publisher of reports on the sector. BrightFarms met that challenge in July by securing $55 million in a Series D equity financing led by Cox Enterprises, joined by existing investors Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGEN Partners. BrightFarms builds and operates greenhouse farms near major metropolitan areas to provide supermarkets with a consistent supply of locally grown produce that requires significantly less water, land and shipping fuel than centralized and field-grown suppliers. BrightFarms was a presenting company at the NCN Spring 2016 investor meeting.

Farmers Business Network (FBN), an agribusiness marketplace and data platform, invested in AgriSecure, a startup run by fifth-generation farmers that offers a program to help crop farmers transition to organic farming, according to Agfunder News. FBN has raised around $200 million in venture funding to date.

Biotech deals

Mosa Meat of The Netherlands raised €7.5 million (US$8.8 million on July 16) to bring its cultured meat to market by 2021. The round was led by M Ventures (Merck) and Bell Food Group, a Swiss meat processor. Mosa Meat will use the Series A funding to reduce the cost of producing its cultured meat and prepare for construction of a pilot plant in 2021. “M Ventures … is the perfect door-opener to Merck’s deep expertise in culturing cells and producing high quality and scalable cell media,” said Mosa Meat CEO Peter Verstrate. “This is significant given that the cell media currently comprises 80 percent of the cost of cultured meat.”

Terramino Foods announced a $4.25 million seed round co-led by True Ventures and Collaborative Fund. Terramino is developing a source of meat and seafood alternatives produced from sustainably grown fungi; its first product is a sustainable salmon burger. Terramino's prototype was developed at the Alternative Meat Lab at UC Berkeley.

Health & fitness deals

Neurotechnology startup Dreem announced $35 million in new funding to advance its sleep technology. Johnson & Johnson Innovation Inc. led the round, with Bpifrance participating. Last year, Dreem introduced the Dreem headband to monitor brain activity, track sleep and use auditory stimulation to help people fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Dreem has raised nearly $60 million in less than four years, according to the company.

Fitplan Technologies raised a $4.7 million funding round led by Lerer Hippeau. Founded in 2016, the Fitplan app connects users with one-on-one fitness plans designed by professional athletes, Olympians, army veterans, wellness coaches, bodybuilders, cancer survivors and psychologists. “Fitplan is the only digital resource connecting fitness enthusiasts with the actual workout plans and methods of their favorite social influencers and athletes,” said Landon Hamilton, co-founder and CEO.

Meal kit & food delivery deals

True Food Innovations—a fresh-food technology, CPG and manufacturing company—acquired the assets of the meal-kit company Chef'd after it reportedly ceased trading in July. Chef’d raised $35.2 million in Series B funding last year from meat processor Smithfield Foods, which invested $25 million, and Campbell Soup, which contributed $10 million. Forbes contributor Brittain Ladd observed that the Achilles’ heel of meal-kit companies is their “exceptionally high customer acquisition costs, high operational and supply-chain costs, high logistics costs and low customer retention.”

Other deals

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) acquired Supervalu for approximately $2.9 billion, including the assumption of debt and liabilities, accelerating UNFI’s "Build out the Store" growth strategy and combining UNFI’s leading position in natural and organic foods with Supervalu's presence in fast-turning products.

1908 Brands acquired Bundle Organics, a producer of teas and fruit and vegetable juices for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant or nursing. Bundle joins other 1908 Brands including Boulder Clean, Thrive Tribe, Fruitivity Snacks, Schultz's Gourmet, Three Bears and Pasta Jay's.

True Food Kitchen, a healthy restaurant chain, announced that Oprah Winfrey has made an equity investment to support national expansion and will join the board of directors. Founded in 2008, True Food Kitchen has a “health-driven” menu modeled on founder Dr. Andrew Weil's anti-inflammatory food pyramid. True Food Kitchen operates 23 restaurants and plans to double its store count in the next three years. The menu features vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals, in addition to fish and grass-fed meat.

Charlee Bear Products, owner of Charlee Bear Dog Treats, acquired Hound & Gatos, a line of canned pet food designed around the Paleolithic diet and without soy, grains, gluten or artificial additives. A June editorial in Petfood Industry online noted that 31 M&A pet food deals have taken place in 2018. The familiar model of one pet food manufacturer or marketer buying another is evolving, as food conglomerates purchase large or iconic pet food brands and new, smaller companies buy up equally small brands.

NCN presenter updates

In addition to past presenters Mazza Innovation Ltd. and BrightFarms, detailed above, Feel Good Foods Inc. achieved a growth milestone by attracting investment from City Capital Ventures LLC. Feel Good Foods’ current owners participated. Founded in 2011, Feel Good Foods provides chef-inspired, frozen better-for-you snacks, sides and entrees that are gluten-free and contain no preservatives, GMO ingredients or fillers. Feel Good Foods was a presenting company at the Fall 2017 NCN Investor Meeting.

 

Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.

Looking out for birds? Bees? There’s a certification for that.

animal-certifications-promo.jp

There’s a certification for seemingly everything these days — including, increasingly, being friendly to animals, from bees to birds to orangutans. For people who want to know how their purchases may impact animals, we highlight the animal-focused certifications you can look for when you’re shopping for natural foods and products.

Wildlife-friendly

The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network issues Certified Wildlife Friendly and Predator Friendly labels to recognize producers who use practices that contribute to wildlife conservation around the world. They are designed to “showcase production practices that allow people and wildlife to coexist and thrive.”

Cruelty-free

If you shop in the natural channel, chances are you’ve seen the Leaping Bunny logo. It’s Cruelty Free International’s assurance that the brand making that product has committed to avoid animal testing in its products and ingredients. The certification is used by cosmetic, personal care and cleaning products, and managed by Cruelty Free International and international partners.

Pollinators

A lot of folks are looking out for bees these days. In Europe, Certified Bee-Friendly can guide you to bee-friendly products; in the U.S., the Xerces Society’s Bee Better Certified seal is given to farmers and companies making sure their agricultural lands are hospitable places for bees and other pollinators. The goal is to help consumers make informed choices while rewarding conservation-minded farmers and incentivizing businesses to incorporate pollinator conservation into their supply chains.

Birds

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly Coffee certification came about after the center started finding that shade removal on coffee farms was threatening tree canopies that migratory birds depend on. Bird Friendly coffee is an organic, shade-grown coffee certification designed to incentivize the use of agroforests in tropical regions rather than cleared plantation-style farms—the agroforestry approach helps preserve the trees that migratory birds depend on for critical habitat.

Rainforest Alliance also offers a bird-friendly certification, but that has been criticized for being less rigorous than other certification standards, and for being watered down in recent years.

Orangutans

Palm oil production is considered the single biggest threat to critically endangered orangutans—it drives massive deforestation and habitat loss and shows little sign of slowing down. Some certifications attempt to encourage more sustainable, orangutan-friendly production of palm oil, such as from the Rainforest Alliance and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The Orangutan Foundation International, meanwhile, encourages people to try to avoid palm oil altogether, and keeps a running list of products that steer clear of the nearly-ubiquitous ingredient.

Plant-based product sales increase an incredible 20 percent

Almondmilk

If you need even more proof that plant-based eating is here to stay, a new study conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association found that sales of plant-based foods grew by an incredible 20 percent in the 52 weeks ending June 16, 2018, reaching a total of $3.3 billion. With total food sales growing at just 2 percent, the data depicts a picture in which plant-based products are no longer just a niche market.

“The new data confirm what we are hearing and seeing every day from our members: sales are up, investment is increasing and new jobs are being created in the plant-based foods industry,” Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, said in a statement.

Nondairy milk continues to be a leading category, representing $1.6 billion at 9 percent growth—up 3 percent from the previous year. The meat alternative category, which excludes tofu and tempeh, grew an impressive 24 percent to $670 million—good news for the slew of high-profile food-tech brands such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger that are attempting to cull customers who want to experiment with plant-based eating but who aren’t necessarily vegan. Nielsen reports that animal meat sales grew just 2 percent in the 52 weeks ending June 2018.

Why the rise in plant-based sales? According to Jaime Athos, president and CEO of the legacy plant-based alternative company Tofurky, while readily accessible access to information about the health, environmental and moral downfalls of eating meat has contributed to more people experimenting with plant-based eating, it is the sheer existence of high-quality alternatives that pushes the category forward.

“The quality and broad availability of plant-based foods has really been the turning point,” he says. “Consumers are showing us that if they are presented with the option to choose healthier and more ethically produced plant-based foods without sacrificing taste, they will jump at it.”

[email protected]: Amazon hides Whole Foods' earnings | Evolution more than diet affects gut biome

Getty Images A male black gorilla eats leaves

What’s so secret about Whole Foods? Under Amazon, a lot it seems

Once, Whole Foods Market was the bellwether of the natural and organic foods industry. Hedge fund managers eagerly anticipated the company’s earnings announcements. But since Amazon closed on its purchase of the once-independent grocery chain, no one outside of the board room can be sure of how it’s doing or what its results mean. Read more at Bloomberg

 

Diet matters less than evolutionary relationships in shaping gut microbiome

Our gut biomes may not depend on what we eat, but rather on what our ancestors ate. Scientist have known that mammals who eat specialized diets possess gut biomes that are unique to each diet. But a study at Northwestern University found that evolution affects the gut biomes of non-human primates much more than diet does. The study involved only wild primates, so the results would not be altered by the diets of captive primates. Read more at Science Daily

 

What is a genetically modified crop? A European ruling sows confusion

The top court in the European Union has ruled that crops whose genes have been edited are genetically modified organisms and must follow the same rules as plants that are altered with genes from other species. Scientists are dismayed, in part because the ruling could lead to developing countries also banning the gene-edited crops. The decision also could limit exports from the United States, which is more relaxed about gene-edited food. Environmental organizations have raised concerns about the safety of genetically modified crops. Read more at The New York Times

 

Should big corporations pay for clean energy? Portland voters will decide.

A coalition of community and environmental organizations—led by people of color—is campaigning in favor of the Portland Clean Energy Fund, which would tax giant retailers to raise money for clean energy. Voters will decide in November whether mega-retailers should pay a 1 percent tax on revenue from sales in Portland, Oregon. Groceries and medicines would be exempt from the new fee. Half of the money designated for renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects would have to benefit low-income resident and people of color. Read more in Grist

 

Feed your head: Foods that target depression and anxiety

An up-and-coming California chef stepped away from her vocation to work on her mental health. A holistic counselor suggested that what the former chef was eating might be contributing to her depression and anxiety. So Jessica Largey changed her diet to include more whole grains, leafy greens, avocado and other foods, and increase her consumption of turmeric and ginger. The adjustment helps her cope with her depression; she even returned to the kitchen recently and opened her own restaurant in Los Angeles. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Fitness star Denise Austin talks about changes in fitness and dietary supplements

Denise Austin

Few people can claim a longer presence and a greater impact in fitness than Denise Austin. With shows on Lifetime and ESPN2 and a library of step aerobics, Pilates and “Fast Blasting Yoga” videos dating back to the leotard-and-leg-warmers days of the 1980s, Austin has explored just about every fitness and nutrition trend of the last three-and-a-half decades. Before her NBJ Summit 2018 appearance, we talked to her about the changes she’s seen and where she sees the fitness and nutrition world going next.

Looking at how habits have changed since you started your fitness career, is it easier or more difficult for Americans to be fit in 2018?
Denise Austin:
 Well, there's so much out there to help people get fit now, which is fantastic. Whether through websites, apps or the internet, there's the opportunity now to get fit anywhere with some form of fitness, whether it's cycling inside or just walking. That's the beautiful part about it. But people need to get motivated; and that's the most important part. How do you motivate them and get them going and starting on a program? Because once you get them started, they feel so much better about themselves. They feel healthier, and their attitude improves. So, it's just getting started. Make that habit cemented in your schedule and then it'll fit into your lifestyle. That's the key: making it a part of life. 

What keeps people from getting started?
It’s more difficult because people are overwhelmed, I think, with working so much. There are changes in the workplace, too, since I started 35 years ago. In my own business, everything is on my website now and I make personal connections. What I love about it is that I get to reach out to my community and to the women who follow me and really talk to them. Years ago when I had my TV show, I would show yoga and people would write me letters and then I would do a yoga exercise video because I knew, from the letters, that people loved it. But it took awhile to get the letters. So, now I just do a Facebook post about something like an ab challenge. They get so excited instantly and I know it’s a great idea. The instantaneousness of it is beautiful. And the connection that I have with my followers is amazing. But the difference, I think, is keeping people healthy in their attitude. A lot of times people get down on themselves for not doing enough because of Instagram and Facebook. I get a lot of letters from women, like ‘Oh, I don't go on these vacations,’ or ‘I don't get to do all these things.’ That hurts the psyche of a lot of people and I’d love to help improve that for people and make them feel better about themselves. That's pretty much what I do on my website. My focus is on keeping people moving and nourished. Motivation is 80 percent of it.

What other technology interests you?
Fitbit is amazing. It keeps people accountable for their steps and it really helps them. I believe in that because we all want to challenge ourselves and see how many steps we did in a day. The other thing I like is all the different connected bikes that are out there. I do a live workout on the bike for Echelon, which is really cool. People love to get fit in their home. It's really encouraging.

What's the health trend you find most discouraging?
People are on their phones too much. They are slouching and I've noticed a lot of people with neck, shoulder and back issues. In the last two years it's really been a problem. I get letters, like, ‘Oh, my God, my shoulders!’ Your spine is your lifeline.

What do you think is the bigger problem right now, inactivity or overeating?
They go hand-in-hand. People don't get up out of their chairs. I'm a big believer in getting off your rear end. Standing burns more calories than sitting and I have a whole series of exercises you can do. We need more circulation and people are sitting too much. Inactivity is the worst. The average American is now sitting 81/2 hours every single day. And then we find an issue with sleep, too. I think a lot of it has to do with your inactivity all day long. You've got to get out of your chair, stand up more often. I suggest to people to stand up, stretch your arms, stretch your legs, get circulation—that’s what helps heal your body. 

Do you take any dietary supplements?
Yes, I take just a few, like vitamin D. I take a fish oil. I do a little bit of flaxseed with chia seeds every day. I also take this one with collagen, made by Purity, and I take that every day. That's pretty much it. I believe eating a good, healthy diet really helps also with your vitamin intake. We are looking to find great products that will help my followers improve their health and their well-being. That's really what my focus is. Because everyone asks me what I use for skin, what I eat, what supplements I take. So, I'm looking for some of the best products to help my followers improve their wellness, their health and beauty, and their overall well-being. 

What do you tell your fans about the balance between healthy eating and supplementation?
I tell them good nutrition and balance are the keys. I'm a true believer in moderation and trying to get the good vitamins and nutrients from our food first and foremost. But we all need supplementation to help us go to the next level, to feel our optimum, and we're not perfect. I'm a true believer in eating right, and exercise is key. And keeping people positive in their mental well-being too, how brain health is so important as we age and how oxygen equals energy. I discuss a lot about that. But mainly I'm very open with them about making sure they have a balanced life. It's not all about pills or it's not just juicing. It's all about balance and moderation. And that's how I've truly lived my life.

You have a big presence on the internet. Do you have advice for nutrition companies seeking attention in that online influencer world?
I personally I think a lot of times you've got to reach out to people who understand your followers. Like, I know my followers really love anything that's going to improve their health and their well-being. So, I personally think that a lot of these companies need to find authentic people but also people with some great reputations. It's really important, reputation. Also, some form of education with it, you know. I have my degree. I continue to learn from the top doctors in the industry and the top people. So I stay on top of it. But that's me. So I don't know about others.

What’s new in your approach to online connection?
I have a 10-week plan that people are loving. I put them through how to eat right, how to exercise every day and how to get motivated, be more positive. It's like I come to them into their living rooms with either their phones or their iPads or their computers. Each day of the week, we do a different workout. So, it's kind of like I hold their hand for 10 weeks straight on a healthier lifestyle. The average person has been losing about 22 pounds, which has been great. And it's mainly eating healthy and exercise, getting on the right lifestyle plan.

Do you think the personalized nutrition movement using genetic tests and other diagnostic information is good or necessary?
Oh, I love it. Why not? I think it's fantastic. If you can afford it, why not do it? I'm a true believer in that. It's so fantastic. It's science. Why not follow the science and understand what everybody needs for their own body? We're all different and I love it. And everyone exercises at different levels. I think that it's a way of really being in tune with your health and your well-being and why not be better? Why not have optimal health?

17 natural products to entice outdoorsy shoppers

Outdoor Retailer Outdoor Retailer Show Floor

We scoured Outdoor Retailer, the largest outdoor sports conference and exposition in the United States, to find products that can support the adventure and outdoor recreation-loving community in your area.

It's particularly important to create outdoor-focused product sets if your natural store is located in close proximity to hiking trails, lakes, beaches, camping, biking or rock climbing, as there's a higher likelihood that consumers who care about what they put into their bodies from a performance standpoint will wander into your store to stock up on provisions, personal care items and sustainable sundries. Here are a few products that caught our eye.

Zuke’s Power Bone Chicken & Cranberry Recipe


Like an energy bar for your best furry friend, this liver-based, human-grade bar is designed to supercharge your pup to help her finish those last few miles of trail running or Frisbee catching. We love how this bar is packaged just like your traditional human-made meat bar—it even has the grill marks on it for authenticity. Clean ingredients (this flavor contains chicken, pork, cranberries, peas, honey and salt) ensure that your pup doesn’t consume any additives or preservatives.

Backpacker’s Pantry Chicken with Rice

 

Some dehydrated meals have a reputation for being flavorless, overly salty mush piles packed with artificial ingredients. But Backpacker’s Pantry makes impressive meals for a variety of special diets. The company has a full line of whole-food vegan and vegetarian options in satisfying flavors such as Chana Masala and Pad Thai. And several SKUs, such as Organic Cinnamon Apple Oats & Quinoa are USDA Organic.

The pictured Chicken with Rice flavor is a part of a new line of heartier, higher-calorie meals designed to appeal to famished anglers and hunters.

Good to Go Chicken Gumbo


Chef-created dishes, like this satisfying Chicken Gumbo, is what sets Good To Go apart from most other dehydrated meal brands. Every ingredient inside is something you would find in a well-stocked home kitchen. We’re particularly enamored with the Herbed Mushroom Risotto, a gourmet, vegan blend of Arborio rice, cremini mushrooms, onions, white wine, extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast and more. The fact that you can eat this white tablecloth-worthy meal on the trail (when you’re probably covered in dirt) is really, really cool.

Light My Fire of Sweden ReStraw

 

As reducing single-use plastic such as drinking straws becomes more widespread, these wide-diameter drinking straws will fly off your store shelves. Made from cane sugar-derived bioplastics, these BPA-free straws are suitable for sipping smoothies, soups, bubbly water and more.  

J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo Moisturizing Formula

 

Even natural shampoos are typically packaged in a plastic bottle, which doesn’t win any bonus points with waste-conscious consumers. This solid shampoo bar is contained in a compostable paper wrapper, and features healthy-hair ingredients such as saponified olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, RSPO palm kernel oil, mango butter and more.

Stock it near your outdoor set (if you have one), but don’t be surprised if shoppers start purchasing it for daily use.

YumButter Inergy Almond Almond Butter

 

Not only is this almond butter packed in a portable—resealable!—container, but also this USDA Organic blend features functional ingredients such as sunflower seeds, maca powder and yerba mate extract, which contains a touch of caffeine for an added boost.

Slather it on everything from toast to carrots to celery sticks (or eat straight from the pouch).

Cusa Tea Premium Instant Tea

 

It’s portable. It’s light. It’s ready in seconds. It’s just what you need on a cold morning. Chai Tea is the newest flavor from Cusa Tea, a company that transforms tea leaves into an instant powder using Cold Steep Technology, a method that preserves flavor. Inside: warming spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove and black pepper.

RX Nut Butter Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

 

A handy pouch packed full of peanut butter, dates, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, sea salt and egg whites, which elevates the protein content to an impressive 9 grams per serving.

Opinel Nomad Cooking Kit

This mini picnic-perfect cooking kit from the knife maker Opinel is an adorable way to encourage your customers to embark on an al fresco adventure. Included in this kit is a cutting board, microfiber cloth and three wood-handled knives: one with a serrated blade (all the better to saw through crusty baguette), a peeler and a knife with a corkscrew in it—Opinel is a French company, after all.

Nomadix Towels

 

These superabsorbent graphic-printed towels are lightweight, durable and made with recycled plastic bottles. While Nomadix is known for selling large, picnic-style blankets perfect for a music festival or a day at the beach, natural shoppers would love the 27.5-by-18-inch’ hand towel size for wiping down after the gym or an intense yoga session. Merchandise next to the yoga mats, meditation items or candles.

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Neon Sunscreen Sticks

 

Bare Republic’s easy-to-apply zinc oxide sunscreens look beautiful on the shelf, and effectively help protect against sunburn. These brightly colored neon sunscreen sticks are a favorite with children—who could more easily be encouraged to wear sunscreen if their face is rainbow tinted—and with festival goers who want to tint their face (safely!) for outdoor concerts. Also check out Bare Republic’s light-as-air sunscreen mousse.

Klean Kanteen 5 Piece Stainless Steel Straw Set

Paper straws often disintegrate in hot liquid, silicone straws are hard to clean and straight-up stainless steel straws can scratch your teeth if you’re not careful. Klean Kanteen solves the straw dilemma with colorful, reusable straws that feature a stainless steel body with a removable, silicon flex tip. Perfect for cold or hot drinks, an included straw brush makes cleaning the inside of your straws a breeze. Also dishwasher safe.

Green Goo Skin Repair

Green Goo blends together herbal remedies made with organic ingredients to soothe small scrapes, bites and blisters. Also check out Green Goo’s healing Poison Ivy salve, which is made with olive oil, chickweed, yarrow, calendula, comfrey leaf and more. Bonus: Green Goo is a Leaping Bunny and a Certified B Corp brand.

Nuun Hydration Performance

Perfect for those who have trouble eating during endurance activities like long-distance running or biking, this drink mix features a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes to help promote healthy fluid balance and muscle function. Whereas similar drink mixes add natural flavoring, Nuun adds dried fruit powder for real-food taste.

Bitchstix Quit Your Bitchin’ Muscle Rub

Bold, cheeky packaging stands out on the store shelf and attracts younger demographics to natural remedies for sports-induced aches and pains. This soothing stick is made with organic ingredients, and consciously excludes palm oil and petroleum from the formulation. Bitchstix is dedicated to supporting initiatives that bring domestic violence and sexual assault to an end, too.

CW Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract Oil Mint Chocolate

Natural retailers likely know that wellness-minded shoppers are increasingly interested in products that contain CBD. This hemp-derived CBD oil from Charlotte’s Web (a vertically integrated brand) contains about 10mg hemp extract per 1 mL serving, and is mint chocolate-flavored, which makes it easy to incorporate into coffee, tea or (my favorite idea) hot chocolate. 

Rinse Bath & Body Co. deBug


Sure, DEET works well to keep mosquitoes and gnats at bay, but that stuff is nasty! That’s why we think natural customers will appreciate this safe, DEET-free bug-repelling body oil and spray. Rinse carefully formulated this product with lemon eucalyptus, rosemary, lemongrass, witch hazel and more to keep pests (including ants and spiders!) away from your body for ultimate outdoor enjoyment.

(Preview) 17 natural products to entice outdoorsy shoppers

Outdoor Retailer Outdoor Retailer Show Floor

We scoured Outdoor Retailer, the largest outdoor sports conference and exposition in the United States, to find products that can support the adventure and outdoor recreation-loving community in your area.

It's particularly important to create outdoor-focused product sets if your natural store is located in close proximity to hiking trails, lakes, beaches, camping, biking or rock climbing, as there's a higher likelihood that consumers who care about what they put into their bodies from a performance standpoint will wander into your store to stock up on provisions, personal care items and sustainable sundries. Here are a few products that caught our eye.

Zuke’s Power Bone Chicken & Cranberry Recipe


Like an energy bar for your best furry friend, this liver-based, human-grade bar is designed to supercharge your pup to help her finish those last few miles of trail running or Frisbee catching. We love how this bar is packaged just like your traditional human-made meat bar—it even has the grill marks on it for authenticity. Clean ingredients (this flavor contains chicken, pork, cranberries, peas, honey and salt) ensure that your pup doesn’t consume any additives or preservatives.

Backpacker’s Pantry Chicken with Rice

 

Some dehydrated meals have a reputation for being flavorless, overly salty mush piles packed with artificial ingredients. But Backpacker’s Pantry makes impressive meals for a variety of special diets. The company has a full line of whole-food vegan and vegetarian options in satisfying flavors such as Chana Masala and Pad Thai. And several SKUs, such as Organic Cinnamon Apple Oats & Quinoa are USDA Organic. The pictured Chicken with Rice flavor is a part of a new line of heartier, higher-calorie meals designed to appeal to famished anglers and hunters.

Good to Go Chicken Gumbo


Chef-created dishes, like this satisfying Chicken Gumbo, is what sets Good To Go apart from most other dehydrated meal brands. Every ingredient inside is something you would find in a well-stocked home kitchen. We’re particularly enamored with the Herbed Mushroom Risotto, a gourmet, vegan blend of Arborio rice, cremini mushrooms, onions, white wine, extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast and more. The fact that you can eat this white tablecloth-worthy meal on the trail (when you’re probably covered in dirt) is really, really cool.

Light My Fire of Sweden ReStraw

 

As reducing single-use plastic such as drinking straws becomes more widespread, these wide-diameter drinking straws will fly off your store shelves. Made from cane sugar-derived bioplastics, these BPA-free straws are suitable for sipping smoothies, soups, bubbly water and more.  

J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo Moisturizing Formula

 

Even natural shampoos are typically packaged in a plastic bottle, which doesn’t win any bonus points with waste-conscious consumers. This solid shampoo bar is contained in a compostable paper wrapper, and features healthy-hair ingredients such as saponified olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, RSPO palm kernel oil, mango butter and more. Stock it near your outdoor set (if you have one), but don’t be surprised if shoppers start purchasing it for daily use.

YumButter Inergy Almond Almond Butter

 

Not only is this almond butter packed in a portable—resealable!—container, but also this USDA Organic blend features functional ingredients such as sunflower seeds, maca powder and yerba mate extract, which contains a touch of caffeine for an added boost.

Slather it on everything from toast to carrots to celery sticks (or eat straight from the pouch).

Cusa Tea Premium Instant Tea

 

It’s portable. It’s light. It’s ready in seconds. It’s just what you need on a cold morning. Chai Tea is the newest flavor from Cusa Tea, a company that transforms tea leaves into an instant powder using Cold Steep Technology, a method that preserves flavor. Inside: warming spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove and black pepper.

RX Nut Butter Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter

 

A handy pouch packed full of peanut butter, dates, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, sea salt and egg whites, which elevates the protein content to an impressive 9 grams per serving.

Opinel Nomad Cooking Kit

This mini picnic-perfect cooking kit from the knife maker Opinel is an adorable way to encourage your customers to embark on an al fresco adventure. Included in this kit is a cutting board, microfiber cloth and three wood-handled knives: one with a serrated blade (all the better to saw through crusty baguette), a peeler and a knife with a corkscrew in it—Opinel is a French company, after all.

Nomadix Towels

 

These superabsorbent graphic-printed towels are lightweight, durable and made with recycled plastic bottles. While Nomadix is known for selling large, picnic-style blankets perfect for a music festival or a day at the beach, natural shoppers would love the 27.5-by-18-inch’ hand towel size for wiping down after the gym or an intense yoga session. Merchandise next to the yoga mats, meditation items or candles.

Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Neon Sunscreen Sticks

 

Bare Republic’s easy-to-apply zinc oxide sunscreens look beautiful on the shelf, and effectively help protect against sunburn. These brightly colored neon sunscreen sticks are a favorite with children—who could more easily be encouraged to wear sunscreen if their face is rainbow tinted—and with festival goers who want to tint their face (safely!) for outdoor concerts. Also check out Bare Republic’s light-as-air sunscreen mousse.

Klean Kanteen 5 Piece Stainless Steel Straw Set

Paper straws often disintegrate in hot liquid, silicone straws are hard to clean and straight-up stainless steel straws can scratch your teeth if you’re not careful. Klean Kanteen solves the straw dilemma with colorful, reusable straws that feature a stainless steel body with a removable, silicon flex tip. Perfect for cold or hot drinks, an included straw brush makes cleaning the inside of your straws a breeze. Also dishwasher safe.

Green Goo Skin Repair

Green Goo blends together herbal remedies made with organic ingredients to soothe small scrapes, bites and blisters. Also check out Green Goo’s healing Poison Ivy salve, which is made with olive oil, chickweed, yarrow, calendula, comfrey leaf and more. Bonus: Green Goo is a Leaping Bunny and a Certified B Corp brand.

Nuun Hydration Performance

Perfect for those who have trouble eating during endurance activities like long-distance running or biking, this drink mix features a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes to help promote healthy fluid balance and muscle function. Whereas similar drink mixes add natural flavoring, Nuun adds dried fruit powder for real-food taste.

Bitchstix Quit Your Bitchin’ Muscle Rub

Bold, cheeky packaging stands out on the store shelf and attracts younger demographics to natural remedies for sports-induced aches and pains. This soothing stick is made with organic ingredients, and consciously excludes palm oil and petroleum from the formulation. Bitchstix is dedicated to supporting initiatives that bring domestic violence and sexual assault to an end, too.

CW Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract Oil Mint Chocolate

Natural retailers likely know that wellness-minded shoppers are increasingly interested in products that contain CBD. This hemp-derived CBD oil from Charlotte’s Web (a vertically integrated brand) contains about 10mg hemp extract per 1 mL serving, and is mint chocolate-flavored, which makes it easy to incorporate into coffee, tea or (my favorite idea) hot chocolate. 

Rinse Bath & Body Co. deBug


Sure, DEET works well to keep mosquitoes and gnats at bay, but that stuff is nasty! That’s why we think natural customers will appreciate this safe, DEET-free bug-repelling body oil and spray. Rinse carefully formulated this product with lemon eucalyptus, rosemary, lemongrass, witch hazel and more to keep pests (including ants and spiders!) away from your body for ultimate outdoor enjoyment.

The Vitamin Shoppe introduces Launchpad to spur innovative vendors

vitaminshoppe-logo-2018-promo.png

The Vitamin Shoppe, an omni-channel specialty retailer of nutritional products, has announced its new vendor incubation program, Launchpad.

Designed to introduce emerging brands and innovative products to The Vitamin Shoppe customers, Launchpad further illustrates the retailer's commitment to incubating the next wave of industry innovators. Since its inception, The Vitamin Shoppe has fostered relationships with some of the world's most notable vitamin and supplement brands in their infancy, helping these brands gain national recognition. With more than four decades of successful collaborations and approximately 1,000 national brands, The Vitamin Shoppe is continuing its mission to discover and foster game-changing brands and industry disruptors.

“We strive to bring only the best products to market and pride ourselves on our ability to identify brands that have the potential to become market leaders,” says Dave Mock, executive vice president/chief merchandising and marketing officer at The Vitamin Shoppe. “As a trusted specialty wellness retailer, not only do we strive to bring the most innovative solutions to our customers but also provide guidance, resources and support that will help empower our vendor partners to create quality supplements customers can trust.”

Over the years, The Vitamin Shoppe has launched several notable health and wellness brands, such as Garden of Life. Since the relationship started nearly 20 years ago, Garden of Life has grown from a humble nutritional supplement company into the No. 1 brand in the natural products industry today.  Brian Ray, CEO of Garden of Life and long-time vendor partner said, “We have partnered with The Vitamin Shoppe over the years to help launch innovative products nationwide, and [we] believe their health enthusiasts are the No. 1 resource for education and information. We're two amazing companies with a common goal of leading by example to deliver outstanding results.”

The success of this relationship and others, including NeoCell, America's top collagen brand, and No Cow, whose 21-year-old founder, Daniel (he goes by D) Katz, credits The Vitamin Shoppe with giving him his first purchase order, is a testament to the level of care and attention The Vitamin Shoppe provides to its vendors. When asked about his relationship with The Vitamin Shoppe, Katz said, “We could not have asked for a better partner from the beginning. I'm not sure where we would be without The Vitamin Shoppe.”

While these brands continue to thrive, The Vitamin Shoppe is on the hunt for the next innovative wellness product it can help flourish and grow. Just this month, vegan supplement company, Ora Organic, made its retail debut at The Vitamin Shoppe.  The young brand, driven by a team of passionate millennials who made an impression on The Vitamin Shoppe buyers after turning down an offer on Shark Tank, is on a mission to set the bar for quality, efficacy and radical transparency with its line of plant-based protein and nutritional supplements made from real, organic foods.

With greater visibility in close to 800 The Vitamin Shoppe stores nationwide, prominent placement on its digital commerce site, and access to the company's community of health-and-wellness enthusiasts, Ora Organic is extending its reach with a trusted partner. “The team at The Vitamin Shoppe have been incredible to work with,” says Erica Bryers, co-founder of Ora Organic “Their support for new vendors and thoughtfulness in launching our brand in-store has blown us away. We're absolutely thrilled to become part of the VS family.”

The Vitamin Shoppe Launchpad program is currently accepting submissions from nutritional supplement, natural health and organic beauty vendors. Visit the program’s website for more information and to submit a product for consideration.

Source: The Vitamin Shoppe

Walmart or Amazon? 4 factors grocery shoppers consider

Despite rising competition, Walmart remains the largest retailer in the world. By a wide margin, more people purchase groceries in-store or online from Walmart than other leading food retailers and supermarkets, although Amazon is the online grocery purchasing leader, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in U.S Grocery Market Focus: The Walmart Food Shopper. This is the first of four reports on Walmart that will look at grocery and consumables, pets products, and financial services. 

Packaged Facts estimated that 59 percent of grocery shoppers have purchased groceries from Walmart in last three months, with 58 percent purchasing in-store and 5 percent purchasing online. About 9 percent of grocery shoppers have purchased groceries online from Amazon.

Packaged Facts also revealed that among Walmart's food retail competitors, Amazon’s penetration grew most quickly between 2014 and 2018. However, more than half of Amazon shoppers also purchased something from Walmart in the last three months, up significantly since 2014.

In the report, Packaged Facts identified four clear-cut differences that emerge between the Walmart and Amazon online grocery loyalists:

  • Price. Consumers who use Walmart most to purchase groceries online are more likely than other online grocery purchasers to cite lowest prices and price matching as important to choosing an online grocery provider. In comparison, the Amazon-loyal online grocery purchaser is more apt to cite free delivery.
  • Convenience. The loyal Walmart online grocery purchaser is more likely than average to cite website grocery descriptions, customer service and one-stop shopping as important convenience factors. The Amazon purchaser is less likely than average to cite any of the listed convenience factors as important, but especially website grocery descriptions, customer service, same-day delivery, and one-day delivery.
  • Brand/selection. The Walmart online grocery purchaser is more apt than average to cite high-quality store brands and fresh food variety as important brand and selection factors that influence their choice of online grocery provider; they are less apt to cite organic/natural variety. The Amazon purchaser is more likely than average to cite bulk purchasing and the ability to obtain unique, exclusive products.
  • Online ordering. Compared to the loyal Amazon online grocery purchaser, the Walmart purchaser is more apt to cite online payment options and in-store pickup/curbside service as important to choosing an online grocery provider. However, subscription services are more likely to be important among Amazon purchasers.

Source: Packaged Facts

[email protected]: Importing Mexican fish banned to save a porpoise | Water contamination a nationwide problem

Thomas A. Jefferson / VIVA Vaquita Endangered vaquita porpoise

Court grants ban of fish imports from Mexico caught with nets that hurt endangered porpoise

The United States Court of International Trade has ordered the federal government to ban the import of Mexican seafood caught with gillnets, a technique that injures and kills that critically endangered vaquita porpoises. There may be as few as 15 wild vaquitas remaining in the wild, according to scientists. Three conservation groups sued the U.S. Department of Commerce to force the administration to impose the ban. Read more at The Hill …

 

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

While the lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, has fallen from the nation’s consciousness, three other communities are finding themselves with undrinkable water:

PFAS found in Parchment drinking water at 20 times advisory level

Three thousand people in Parchment, Michigan, have been told not to drink their tap water because officials on Thursday found it contained levels of perflourinated compounds at least 10 times higher than acceptable levels. Read more at M Live

In the blue-collar town where the Hamptons ‘help’ lives, tainted water 4 times in 2 years

Water officials in Hamptons Bay, New York, discovered perfluorooctane sulfonate in the water supply in May 2016. Eventually, the town installed a carbon filtration system. With three wells out of service though, town residents have sediment dislodging from city pipes and depositing in their sinks and toilets. Read more at Huffington Post …

The EPA says TCE causes cancer, so why hasn't it been banned?

Thousands of workers from the now-shuttered View-Master plant in Beaverton, Oregon, have suffered and died from cancer linked to the company’s use of TCE and its contamination of the company’s drinking water. The Environmental Working Group estimates 14 million people are exposed to TCE through their tap water. Read more at Marketplace …

 

Trump’s EU deal won’t do a thing to help soybean farmers

President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday that European Union representatives will start buying soybeans from U.S. farmers. But members of the EU recently increased their purchases of U.S. products—and the bloc isn’t a big market for soybeans in the first place, especially when compared to China. Read more at Mother Jones …

 

L.A.’s incentive for urban farming fails to take root

More than 8,000 vacant lots in Los Angeles are eligible to become Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones, which offers a $5,000 tax break when the property owner transforms a lot into an urban farm. So far, only four lots have changed. The program requires the lots be used for agriculture for five consecutive years, but many of them have been vacant for decades. So why aren’t property owners participating? Read more at City Lab …