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A quest to reduce food waste

A quest to reduce food waste

The following statistics are rather difficult to read: 40 percent of all the food produced in this country is not eaten. The average U.S household throws out between $1,300 and $2,200 of food each year. Forty nine million Americans today don’t get enough to eat.

Jonathan Bloom’s book American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (Da Copa Press, 2010) provides an in-depth exploration of both the reasons why Americans, who once valued frugality, are wasteful, and the consequences that come from this staggering food loss. 

In an interview with Organic Connections magazine, Bloom explains that a large part of unseen food waste occurs due to an unrealistic expectation that produce must always be pristine and perfect. “Anything that isn’t the exact right size or shape, or doesn’t look exactly the part in some other way—whether it’s having a small blemish or maybe a bit of discoloration—those goods get cast aside and usually end up in a landfill,” said Bloom. He stresses that if this waste was reduced only partially, a high percentage of national hunger could be alleviated.

The book also provides several tangible tips readers can take to reduce waste. “One thing we could do is, before we put that food on our plate or on the plates of our family, we could be donating more of our food to food banks.” Additionally, Bloom supports food recovery non-profits, like New York’s City Harvest and D.C.’s Central Kitchen, that pick up extra food from restaurants at the end of the night, and distribute it to food banks.

“There needs to be a more robust network, and hopefully retailers can play more of an active role in getting that food to people who need it, with the stuff that’s edible but unsellable.”

Read more in Organic Connections.

New Hope 360 Blog

What’s the value of educating your customers?

What’s the value of educating your customers?

On our first stop on  Natural Products Expo East’s Baltimore retail store tour, a local nutritionist demoing Barlean’s fish oils confidently gave shoppers at Common Market in nearby Frederick the superlative “Most Educated.” That is, they ask questions and demand the science, she said, handing me a pamphlet highlighting the latest research on omega-3 absorption.

Moments later, I was talking with Tali Mozes, lead wellness buyer, as she took me through the store’s wellness department. The vast selection of personal care offerings—everything from high-end products to more recognizable, lower-priced natural brands—has the potential to reach two types of personal care crossover shoppers: Shoppers accustomed to salon-quality beauty products and those used to mass-market drugstore bargains. But, pointing to a well-known brand, not all of those personal care shoppers will buy here.

The reason: price. A natural brand entering a conventional grocery store has the potential to broaden its reach—hence opening up the world of naturals to more customers. Unfortunately, it also often will have a much lower price at the large grocery chain than at the local co-op.  But! But! But a loyal consumer won’t make a decision on a bottle of lotion or a supplement based on a small price difference … will she?

As we passed the store’s top-selling supplements, Mozes explained the process she goes through with her customers to tailor their purchases to their specific needs. First, she asks “What are you eating?” and then she works with each customer to make necessary dietary and lifestyle changes that include a new product regimen. Common Market also carries Delicious Living as an added value and educational tool. The most gratifying part of her job, Mozes says, is when customers come back and tell her “It’s working.”

During the first day on the Expo East show floor, the word that came up in nearly every conversation was education. At Europharma and Highland’s, education is a key part of business, using webinars and store visits to ensure retailers and ultimately customers know not just the names of their products but how they work. The concept is familiar at Natural Foods Merchandiser and Delicious Living, where our mission has always been to educate natural products retailers and consumers.

Last year during Expo East, retail marketing expert Rafael Mael talked about why slashing prices is not a sustainable way to maintain consumer loyalty. And this year at Expo East it became even more apparent that it’s not. The most valuable thing for manufacturers, and those who sell and buy their products, is information. Because in the end, that’s what will get customers to adopt a long-term healthy lifestyle—one that includes your products.

 

 

Delicious Living

ARCHIVE - Cashew Curry with Kale

ARCHIVE - Cashew Curry with Kale

Prep 20 min, Cook 30 min

½ cup quinoa, well washed

1 cup water

½ cup cashew butter

2 tablespoons red curry paste

1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice

Juice of 1 lime

1/3cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 large or 2 small bunches (about 7 ounces) lacinato kale

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds

2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari

¼ cup water

Chopped toasted cashews, for garnish

1. Combine quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a full boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10–15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat but leave on burner for 5–10 minutes more; fluff.

2. Meanwhile, combine cashew butter, curry paste, diced tomatoes with juice, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender; purée until smooth. (Makes about 1½ cups.) Discard kale stems; slice leaves crosswise into ½-inch ribbons.

3. Place a heavy, large skillet over medium heat and add oil. Once hot, add onion and sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and carrot and sauté 2 minutes more. Fold in kale until coated in onion mixture and beginning to wilt (add kale in batches if necessary). Add tamari and water; fold to coat vegetables in liquid. Cover and cook 4 minutes, until kale is tender but still green.

4. Divide quinoa among serving plates; layer kale and about three-fourths of cashew mixture (or to taste) on top (or stir kale and cashew mixture together before serving). Serve hot, topped with toasted cashews.

PER SERVING: 249 cal, 18g fat (11g mono, 3g poly, 4g sat), 0mg chol, 7g protein, 18g carb, 2g fiber, 328mg sodium

 

Algae ingredients category bursting with life

Algae ingredients category bursting with life

There’s big news in the nutrition business being generated from the smallest of sources: algae, unicellular plants that inhabit dozens of different environmental niches.  Depending on the species and cultivation method, algae can yield potent carotenoids, nutrient-dense superfood-type powders, vegetarian sources of omega-3s and even biofuels that have been successfully tested by the U.S. military.

The longtime leader of the algae space, Martek, is in the process of full integration with parent company DSM Nutritional Products, which bought Market in a billion-dollar deal in  2010. Martek recently assumed its new name —Nuritional Lipids.  The new company will combine Martek’s strengths in algal oils with DSM’s existing nutritional lipids portfolio.

“The outlook is amazing for the whole space,” said Cassie France-Kelly, spokeswoman for Nutritional Lipids. “Most market research shows omega-3s is the fastest growing category of functional ingredients and nutrition.  Awareness is growing.  Even awareness for specific ingredients, like the one we make, DHA, is very high, particularly for health-conscious consumers.  DHA and EPA are among the few nutrients that have an enormous body of extremely credible science behind them.”

Martek had its first commercial application for its DHA in an infant formula in Europe in 1993 and launched in infant formula in the U.S. in 2002.  The DHA ingredient was rebranded as life’sDHA in 2008.   In March, Martek launched Ovega-3, an all-vegetarian omega-3s supplement that uses its life’sDHA plus EPA ingredient.  The company touts it as the “world’s first fish-free fish oil.”

“Consumers and retailers alike are becoming increasingly concerned with finding sustainable alternatives for in-demand products.  Certainly that is a big part of the brand proposition and part of why we think it’s successful,” said France-Kelly.  The product also avoids the fishy burps some consumers report with fish oil, she said.

As far as Nutritional Lipids is concerned, it’s too early to tell exactly what products might arise from this new collaboration, France-Kelly said. “DSM has huge strengths for premixes as well as powdered formats.  We’re pretty early in the integration; we have some great strengths they will be able to leverage, and they have some great strengths that we will be able to leverage,” she said.

Food and fuel

Another pairing in the space, the joint venture between  Roquette and Solazyme, has also produced recent news as it makes strides toward a January release of a new “flour” derived from algae.  Food formulators will be able to use the powdery yellow ingredient to mimic a full-fat mouthfeel in products like soy milk or shortbread cookies.

Solazyme has also leveraged its algae expertise into a series of research and demonstration contracts on algae biofuels for the U.S. Navy, which has successfully demonstrated the fuels in aircraft and patrol boats.  The latest contract runs through this year and calls for a delivery of 150,000 gallons of fuel.

Algae ingredients from photosynthesis

Nutritional Lipids and Solazyme make their products in tanks via a fermentation process.  Other companies are competing in the algae ingredients sphere with a different technology, growing algae in a more familiar setting in shallow, open tanks bathed in sunlight.  A reliably sunny, lower-latitude location is ideal for this kind of growing operation.  These companies girdle the globe in locations such as Arizona, Hawaii, Australia, India and Israel.

Also important is a supply of good water, which is what led Cyanotech to locate its tanks alongside the Pacific Ocean on the lava fields of Hawaii’s Kona Coast.  Drawing water from the ocean depths yields a nutrient-rich medium in which to grow its signature product called Spirulina Pacifica. The company harvests the algae, dehydrates it and supplies it in a nutrient-dense and protein-rich powdered form for use principally in supplements and to some extent in green superfood-type drinks.

Cyanotech also cultivates a Haematococcus species from which it extracts BioAstin, a branded form of astaxanthin, a potent carotenoid and antioxidant.  Sales of this ingredient spiked this year after a favorable mention in January by Dr. Mercola on the Dr. Oz television show.

Sales of the ingredient almost doubled after the show first aired, said Bob Capelli, vice president of sales at Cyanotech. “That isn’t only because of Oz.  Mercola and Oz were definitely the triggers.” Mercola continued to tout the ingredient in newsletters, as have other healthy product popularizers such as Suzy Cohen ("America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist").  Unlike other fads he has witnessed in the healthy products business, this one seems to have staying power, he said.

Another astaxanthin producer that benefited was Valensa, which actually supplies the astaxanthin for a Dr. Mercola-branded product.  The supplement was developed after the Dr. Oz astaxanthin segment aired, said Valensa CEO Dr. Rudi Moerck.  In addition to astaxanthin, Valensa has developed a spirulina supplement product encased in a blue coating made primarily of phycocyanins, the substances that give the algae its blue-green tint.  The spirulina is supplied by Valensa’s majority shareholder, Parry Nutraceuticals of Chennai, India, located along the shores of the Bay of Bengal.

Algae in the desert

Water was also part of the story for startup Algae Biosciences, Inc., a paradox considering it’s located in a bleak, albeit beautiful, desert.  The company plans to start commercial-scale production of omega-3 ingredients in 2012 from algae grown in a photosynthetic process at its Holbrook, Ariz. plant  where an expansion is underway.  Many species of algae thrive in brackish water, water that is usually too salty for other uses.  AlgaeBio’s plant in the Painted Desert sits atop the Coconino Aquifer, a briny water source that poisons the ground above so that little will grow besides a bit of saltbrush.  But the water is extremely clean, with all of the nutrients the algae needs to thrive.  And, being located in a desert means there’s plenty of sun.

“When you look at what we can produce in this pristine water, the most valuable thing is the omega-3 fatty acids,” said Mark Edwards, a professor at Arizona State University who’s also the vice president of corporate development for AlgaeBio.

Demand will remain high

Demand is likely to increase for the high quality ingredients derived from algae, which are backed by credible science and now consumer awareness, too.

Sustainability concerns will drive demand as well.  It has often been noted that if every man, woman and child in the world were to receive their recommended daily allotment of omega-3s, there aren’t enough fish in the ocean to fill that need, however carefully harvested.   And underlying it all is the brass ring of sustainable biofuel production.

“The impetus for this seemingly urgent demand across the globe is because algae, compared to other feedstocks, can provide a high-yield source of the material under consideration without compromising food supplies, rainforests, arable land, or the atmosphere,” said Kantha Shelke, a principal in Corvus Blue LLC, a Chicago-based food consultancy.
 

Bioforce USA passes GMP inspection

 

In its first inspection under the new dietary supplement GMP’s Bioforce USA was given a clean bill of health. “The FDA inspector said that our GMP’s were well thought out and obviously being followed” stated Robert Sheets, Operations Manager for Bioforce USA.

Pierce Sioussat, President of Bioforce USA stated “It is very gratifying that all the time, effort and resources that went into developing our GMP’s and training staff to carefully follow them has been acknowledged in such concrete way. It also shows that even smaller companies can be committed to excellence. We carefully vet the manufacturers we choose to partner with and only work with those that are certified as meeting GMP’s. Now we have demonstrated that we continue that commitment to quality. We do this because we believe our customers deserve only the very best in highly effective, quality health products.”

The regulations for Dietary Supplement Good Manufacturing Practices were greeted with mixed feelings. Obviously a lot of work is required to bring companies into compliance. However, in the end this is a positive development in the natural products industry. As companies are meeting these standards, it provides strong positive response to the negative press that has plagued the industry.

Americans are turning more and more to dietary supplements to improve and protect their health. It is good that they can now choose products from companies that have demonstrated the ability to meet quality standards as set out in the GMP’s.

About Bioforce USA

Bioforce USA has created long-term strategic alliances with European manufacturers of product lines that have years of clinical research support for safety and efficacy, plus years of repeat consumer use. Bioforce USA has brought these lines, which include A. Vogel, Sanhelios, Herbatint, Bionorica and SECURE exclusively to the United States for distribution through natural products and health food stores.

For more information call Eileen Sheets at 800-641-7555 x100.

 

Columbia Gorge Organic unveils gluten-free quinoa snack bars

Columbia Gorge Organic unveils gluten-free quinoa snack bars

 

Columbia Gorge Organic is excited to introduce CoGoBars—vegan, gluten-free food bars for planet-conscious people on the go. The all-organic bars are made with a proprietary, gluten-free fruit and grain mix.

“We couldn’t source a bake mix up to our standards for organic ingredients and great taste, so we created our own, and named it CoGoMix™, said Jimmy Stewart, co-owner of Columbia Gorge Organic.

CoGoMix™ is a tasty, gluten-free blend of organic amaranth, quinoa, millet and Columbia Gorge Organic pears from their Hood River, Oregon orchards.

“We are very proud that CoGoMix is made with our own pears,” said Jimmy’s mom, Cheryl. “Nobody is making a vegan bar like this. Our customers are happy,” she added.

Each of the 1.9 oz CoGoBars is gluten free, vegan, and contains no refined sugars. The company offers two soy free varieties, and one featuring 6 g protein. All of the bars are 170-180 calories. The flavors include Peanut Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Almond Banana, Superberry and Hemp Apricot.

Columbia Gorge Organic was one of the first organic, family farms in Hood River, Oregon, and now produces over 60 varieties of fruit to make fresh juices, smoothies, canned fruit and now, food bars.

 

Natural Alternatives International, Inc. announces fiscal 2011 results

Natural Alternatives International, Inc. announces fiscal 2011 results

 

Natural Alternatives International, Inc. ("NAI") NAII +0.20% , a leading formulator, manufacturer and marketer of customized nutritional supplements, announced net income of $5.1 million or $0.72 per share on net sales from continuing operations of $55.9 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. The fiscal 2011 results include net income from discontinued operations of $71,000 or $0.01 per share compared to $157,000 or $0.02 per share for the prior year period.

Fiscal 2011 net sales from continuing operations decreased $9.7 million from $65.6 million for fiscal 2010. This decrease included a decline in contract manufacturing sales of $9.3 million due primarily to lower volumes of existing products sold to our two largest customers. These sales decreases were partially offset by increased sales volumes from other existing customers, new customer sales and increased royalty income related to license agreements for the use of our beta-alanine related patents and trademarks. Royalty and licensing income from beta-alanine sales and supply agreements increased 82% to $1.7 million during fiscal 2011 as compared to $958,000 for fiscal 2010. Net sales from our branded products declined $382,000 during fiscal 2011 as compared to the prior fiscal year associated with the continued softening of the Pathway to Healing® product line.

Net income from continuing operations for fiscal 2011 was $5.0 million or $0.71 per share as compared to net income of $4.0 million for fiscal 2010 or $0.56 per share. Net income from continuing operations for fiscal 2011 included a net tax benefit of $2.7 million or $0.38 per share associated with the reduction of a valuation allowance on our net deferred tax assets. Net income from continuing operations for fiscal 2010 included a net tax benefit of $943,000 or $0.13 per share associated with the tax loss recognized as a result of the write-off of our tax basis in the stock of Real Health Laboratories, Inc. during fiscal 2010.

Net sales from continuing operations for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2011 and June 30, 2010 totaled $14.4 million. Net income from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was $3.1 million or $0.43 per share as compared to net income of $218,000 or $0.03 per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. The increase in net income from continuing operations was attributable primarily to a net tax benefit of $3.1 million associated with the reduction in a valuation reserve on our net deferred tax assets.

Income from discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 totaled $71,000 or $0.01 per share as compared to zero in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Overall, net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was $3.1 million or $0.44 per share as compared to net income of $218,000 or $0.03 per share in the comparable prior year quarter.

As of June 30, 2011, NAI had cash and cash equivalents of $15.5 million and working capital of $22.9 million compared to $8.5 million and $18.1 million, respectively, as of June 30, 2010. As of June 30, 2011, we had no debt outstanding and $5.8 million available under our working capital lines of credit.

Mark A. LeDoux, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "With the implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices for Dietary Supplement manufacturing under U.S. law, NAI has enjoyed greater opportunities to partner with domestic and international clients. We look forward to expanding our business interests with existing customers, as well as adding new customers in the year ahead. As the supply interruption to our CarnoSyn® beta-alanine appears to have come to an end, we anticipate continued growth of this business and securing even more compliance with our intellectual property rights. I am pleased with the results of the past fiscal year and look forward to even greater opportunities for NAI in the year ahead."

NAI, headquartered in San Marcos, California, is a leading formulator, manufacturer and marketer of nutritional supplements and provides strategic partnering services to its customers. Our comprehensive partnership approach offers a wide range of innovative nutritional products and services to our clients including: scientific research, clinical studies, proprietary ingredients, customer-specific nutritional product formulation, product testing and evaluation, marketing management and support, packaging and delivery system design, regulatory review and international product registration assistance. For more information about NAI, please see our website at http://www.nai-online.com.

Web site: http://www.nai-online.com

 

Monk fruit concentrate debuts at American Dietetic Association conference

Monk fruit concentrate debuts at American Dietetic Association conference

 

Monk fruit concentrate, an all-natural and fruit-based sweetening ingredient, will debut to the nutrition community at this year's national American Dietetic Association's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in San Diego, CA, September 24-27. By using the calorie-free sweetening ingredient in their products, a variety of leading brands such as Kashi, Bear Naked and So Delicious® Dairy Free have been able to significantly reduce their sugar levels, while maintaining their signature great taste. Attendees at FNCE will have the opportunity to sample new foods and beverages using monk fruit coming to retail shelves this fall.

Monk fruit is a type of small subtropical melon, and has been used in Asia for its remarkable sweetness and health-giving properties for hundreds of years. Monk fruit's unique sweetness comes from natural antioxidants in the fruit that have a delicious sweet taste, but are calorie-free. With a supply of the best quality fruit grown to strict quality standards, a New Zealand-based company, BioVittoria, has developed a simple, natural process that concentrates the delicious calorie-free sweetness of the fresh fruit. This unique natural ingredient, which gained the U.S. FDA's GRAS status in 2010, allows food and beverage manufacturers to improve the nutritional profile of their products and provide the great taste families demand.

"Every day, children consume about 400 calories from added sugar, which is far more than the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends," said Elizabeth Ward, registered dietitian, nutrition editor and author of the new book MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better. "Families looking to reduce their sugar intake and maintain a healthy lifestyle should absolutely be on the lookout for products containing monk fruit concentrate."

This fall, two new grocery products will hit store shelves featuring monk fruit concentrate to naturally reduce the sugar content in their food and beverage products:

Answering their number one consumer request of lower sugar options, So Delicious® Dairy Free recently launched a new "No Sugar Added" line of coconut milk frozen desserts. Featuring natural monk fruit concentrate and boasting only one gram of sugar per serving, the "No Sugar Added" desserts are a delicious and dairy-free way to indulge.

With a proprietary blend of clinically-tested probiotic strains coupled with the highest quality prebiotic fibers, the GoLive line of Probiotic and Prebiotic Dietary Supplement Beverages now features 50 percent less sugar by using monk fruit sweetness. The line, available in single serve packets and 15 ounce bottles, uses only natural extracts from fruits and vegetables and now has approximately five grams of sugar per serving

To sample So Delicious® Dairy Free's No Sugar Added Fudge Bars and GoLive Probiotic and Prebiotics beverages at FNCE, visit BioVittoria at booth #448 in the Natural and Organic section of the Expo. For more information on this delicious fruit, the natural process of deriving its sweetness and how it is used to reduce sugar in foods and beverages, visit www.MonkFruit.org.

About BioVittoria

BioVittoria is headquartered in Hamilton, New Zealand and is the world's largest producer and processor of monk fruit (also known as luo han guo). For more information visit http://www.biovittoria.com and www.monkfruit.org.

About Turtle Mountain, LLC

Based in Eugene, Oregon since 1988, privately held Turtle Mountain provides consumers with healthier alternatives to dairy-based foods and beverages, under the brands So Delicious® and Purely Decadent®. For full product offerings and complete nutritional information, please visit us at http://www.SoDeliciousDairyFree.com

About Mass Probiotics, Inc. and GoLive(TM) Probiotic & Prebiotic Products

Mass Probiotics, Inc. researches, develops, produces and markets a family of probiotic and prebiotic bottled beverage and supplement products under the brand name GoLive(TM). For additional information about Mass Probiotics, Inc. and the GoLive(TM) family of products, please visit us at www.golive-now.com, http://www.massprobiotics.com.