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Articles from 2015 In September


[infographic] Calendula: a staple in the medicine cabinet

Is your business ready for a co-packer? Here’s what you need to know


Take it from industry consultant and author William Madden—finding the right co-packer is no easy feat. That's why the founder and senior partner of Right Brain Consulting authored "Separating the Con Man From the Co Man: How to Source a Contract Food Manufacturer." Here, he shares tips for sourcing the right co-packer, spotting a not-so-great-fit and achieving success with the right support.

How does a brand know it's the right time to start exploring contract manufacturing?

William Madden: My stance? I tell my clients they need to make a decision: either make the product or sell the product. If you enjoy making product, become the co-packer. If you like branding and selling, become a brand. Don't try to be both. I say this because you only have so much capital and time. Whatever you spend on a plant is that much less you have for building your brand. It's also a huge distraction to run a plant. You have to deal with a thousand issues every day and it takes away your most valuable resource—time—which can hinder the growth of your brand.

Also, if you're growing your business for the purpose of selling it at some point in the future, you're not really getting value by focusing your resources on manufacturing, because large businesses already have that capability and then some. You're better off using a contract manufacturer and focusing your efforts on branding and marketing.

What would you say to a brand that is intimidated by the process of finding a co-packer?

WM: I know it can be a scary process. There are a lot of co-packers out there that will take advantage of smaller companies. My advice is to work with your industry contacts that already use co-packers. Read my book so you know what to look for. And make sure you have a good, solid contract.

Don't rush the process. Selecting a co-packer should not be a quick process. Plan on spending four to six months to really vet potential co-packers. You're not just looking for any co-packer; you're looking for the right co-packer. You have to do a lot of research and talk to a lot of people.

With so many co-packers to choose from, how can brands narrow the playing field?

WM: Match size. You don't want to be much smaller or bigger than the company that is co-packing for you. If the co-packer is too small, you will become a large portion of their business and will have too dramatic of an effect on that company's business if you move on from them. You don't want to find your name in the newspaper if you change co-packers, causing your old co-packer to go out of business.

If you go with a co-packer that's much bigger than you are, which can be very tempting because their pricing can be advantageous, you'll quickly find out that they don't really need your business. You're a small fish for them. So, when they run into a capacity constraint, you're the first one they cut. If this happens, your brand can suffer a ton of damage and you'll be off the shelf.

The ideal co-packer is someone similar in size—or slightly bigger—and willing to grow with you. I also like family-owned companies as opposed to big, private companies, mainly because a family business tends to take a longer term approach to how they conduct business. They're growing it for their grandchildren and not looking to sell.

What are some of the key qualities a brand needs to look for in a contract manufacturer?

WM: Number one, make sure they're GFSI certified. Check on their reputation from others in the industry. See if they have any in-house R&D that can help with extensions and development later. Find out who they're doing business with. If they won't share that information on the tour, look at their warehouse and ask yourself what you think of those brands.

Finally, check online resources to see if the contract manufacturer has had any recalls. It they have, ask the co-packer about them. Ask for the reasons why it happened and what they did to respond. Every plant will eventually have a recall. It's not necessarily the kiss of death—the key is how they handled the recall. Ask specifics. Think about how you'd want to them to handle it if it happened to you.

Do you have any contract negotiation tips to share?

WM: If a co-packer is charging for R&D, see if they're willing to be flexible. One of the ways to negotiate is by asking for a 25 percent credit in R&D costs after the fourth order is placed. Most of the time, the reason co-packers charge R&D costs isn't so they can make a profit. Instead, it's to cover them for products that don't move forward, or are only produced once.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing retailers/brands using a contract manufacturer?

WM: Managing expectations. If you have your own plant, you are making product purely for yourself. But a co-packer will have 20 or 50 customers. And a lot of times, these customers all have similar business cycles, so that creates an issue for the co-packer because everyone's peak period is the same time and capacity becomes an issue. The number one complaint that I get from companies using a co-packer is capacity issues and those tight time periods.

The good news is that there are ways to manage it. If you have a good co-packer who has been in business a while, they know their business cycles, and can provide a strategy to avoid the issue.

What can we expect from your new book?

WM: You will learn how to spot co-packers who are taking unfair advantage, and how to identify co-packers who are good at what they do. You will also learn how to manage your own expectations and how to talk to a co-packer so you sound like you know what you're doing even when you don't.

I wrote this book because, as I built this practice, I saw a lot of small companies getting taken advantage of in their contracts. They didn't know what they didn't know. It's expensive to source a co-packer, but it's very expensive to get out of a bad contract. I wanted to give the average Joe or small company exploring this option a guide for what to avoid and what to do to maximize positive outcomes.

Retailers should start FSMA plans now

Retailers should start FSMA plans now

Though companies won’t need to comply with the just-released final Food Safety Modernization Act rule on preventive controls for human food for at least a year, retailers should start planning now, according to an FMI webinar.

“FSMA Finalizes Preventive Controls Rules: What Now?” — hosted by FMI and The Acheson Group and sponsored by ReposiTrak — discussed changes from the supplemental proposed rule to the final rule, and what companies should be doing to prepare.

The first step is creating a food safety plan.

“I would just get a plan together,” said Hilary Thesmar, FMI’s VP of food safety programs. “Get a plan down on paper. It can be a dynamic plan. It doesn’t have to be a plan that you stick with over the next year. But start small. Start with something manageable.”

Thesmar suggested beginning with the Current Good Manufacturing Practices programs, which should be familiar to food safety professionals and generally similar to practices already in place.

Those currently using a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan or Global Food Safety Initiative-compliant plan may have less work to do to comply with FSMA.

“This rule actually recognizes that if you have a HACCP plan that actually addresses the requirements of the food safety plan, or if you have a GFSI-compliant food safety plan under one of the schemes, then you may be already there and/or only need supplemental changes to your food safety plan requirements to meet the requirements under this regulation,” said Melanie Neumann, EVP & CFO, The Acheson Group.

Companies should also begin identifying potential risks in their food safety systems. “Start with that hazard analysis. And it’s not going to get done in a day or in an afternoon or even in a week. So much is riding on the hazard analysis in this final rule,” said Thesmar.

One thing that was not a change in the final rule but the webinar presenters said should be emphasized is that FDA has afforded flexibility in how companies can comply with hazard analysis requirements, depending on the products they process or manufacture, the type of facility and the expected risks.

“And there isn’t ‘the way.’ There isn’t one right way to do it. That it’s flexible and FDA is really trying to get that message across,” said Neumann.

Making steps now to create internal protocols around FSMA will ensure that companies are fully prepared when the compliance dates come to pass, Thesmar said. “There’s a lot of administrative things that have to happen to make this happen. So training, the records and documentation, you cannot build those overnight, so I would start working internally to make those programs happen now and build them slowly over the next year.”

A replay of the webinar is available on the ReposiTrak website.

This piece originally appeared on, a New Hope 360 sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends insights.

Bioactives American broadens water-soluble ingredient portfolio at SupplySide West 2015

Bioactives American broadens water-soluble ingredient portfolio at SupplySide West 2015

A leader in water-extracted botanical ingredients, Bioactives American Corporation is introducing two new water-soluble botanical ingredients to its product portfolio, Garcinia cambogia with 65 percent Hydroxy citric acids (HCA) and Green Coffee Bean extract with 18 percent chlorogenic acids.

The company has generated strong interest over the last year in its proprietary, self-affirmed GRAS ingredients Salsulin and AMLAAC and expects to see that interest continue, bolstered by the new additions to the portfolio, as well as growing interest in clean label botanicals for use in supplements and food product development. Bioactives American will be demonstrating the water solubility of its ingredients at Booth #312 at the SupplySide West trade show on Oct. 7-8.

“As the pendulum swings further toward less-processed, clean-label products, we believe that our ingredients are on the mark for product developers looking for substantiated, clean and efficacious ingredients to meet the expectations of their customers,” said company co-founder and CEO Mohamed Rafi, Ph.D. “We look forward to generating further momentum this year at SupplySide West.”

Bioactives American will feature:

  • Garcinia cambogia with 65 percent HCA, also called Malabar Tamarind, is native to India, Southeast Asia and Polynesia, and known as an effective natural appetite suppressant.
  • Green Coffee bean extract with 18 percent chlorogenic acid from pure, unroasted green coffee beans for healthy weight management.
  • Salsulin, a self-affirmed GRAS ingredient for healthy blood sugar metabolism.
  • AMLAAC, a self-affirmed GRAS ingredient for general health, made from the super fruit Amla and extracted with water.
  • AQUA-D3, a water-soluble Vitamin D3, essential for calcium absorption and important for bone, teeth, and muscle health along with immune function.
  • A full curcumin portfolio, including CURQFEN, a highly bioavailable formula of curcumin and fenugreek complex, Granulated Curcumin 95 percent, Organic Curcumin 95 percent and the first Micronized Curcumin 95 percent on the market, offering superior bioavailability and absorption. Curcumin is well-known in Ayurvedic tradition for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties.

Bioactives American’s offers a full portfolio of highly specialized and standalone ingredients with superior nutritional value and bioavailability.

5@5: Farmworker lawsuits claim Roundup caused cancer | Hemp thrives in Kentucky

5@5: Farmworker lawsuits claim Roundup caused cancer | Hemp thrives in Kentucky

U.S. workers sue Monsanto claiming herbicide caused cancer

Six months after the World Health Organization called Roundup a "probably carcinogen," a farm worker and a horticultural assistant are suing the agriculture giant for allegedly misleading the public about the dangers of its herbicide and causing cancer. Legal experts expect more lawsuits to follow. Read more at Reuters...


Kentucky gets hip to hemp

Since the Agricultural Act of 2014 was signed in to law, allowing certain states to start farming hemp again after nearly 60 years, Kentucky has taken a lead in hemp production. Read more at The Bitter Southerner...

To build a greener economy, Bhutan wants to go organic by 2020

In 2011, the country launched the National Organic Program with the goal of making its agriculture completely organic by 2020 to ensure that it remains carbon neutral. Read more at Reuters...


How this protein bar brand grew 57,000% in three years

Yes, you read that right. As Quest Nutrition prepares to launch a new seasonal pumpkin flavored protein bar, co-founder Tom Bilyeu reflects on what's behind the growth and what's next for the company. Read more at Food Business News...


Ending the overuse of antibiotics in food animals doesn't stop with chickens

Even if companies like Tyson, McDonald's and Subway follow through on their plans to source chickens raised with limited or no antibiotics, there's still much more work to do, says Laura Rogers of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center. There's been little to no movement in the beef, pork and turkey industries; that will be a much harder move. Read more at Huffington Post...

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Gummy vitamins explode into the mainstream

Candyceuticals, or an innovative way to bring more health to more people? Here's a list of leading supplement brands meeting the needs of children, Millennials, the pill fatigued and the elderly with a new delivery format.

Natural product movers & shakers - September 2015

Natural product movers & shakers - September 2015

Rodale Institute, a non-profit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, announced the appointment of Jeff Moyer as the executive director. Moyer has worked with Rodale Institute since 1975, most recently as its farm director.

Berkeley born Andronico’s Community Markets announced that Cheryl Hughes has joined their executive team as chief financial officer. Recently appointed CEO Suzy Monford leads the all-female team.

Harmless Harvest, manufacturer of Harmless Coconut® Water, announced that Giannella Alvarez will be joining the company as the new CEO and that Brad Paris has taken on the newly created position of chief operating officer.

Melissa Hughes of Organic Valley was chosen for the second year in a row to lead as president of the Organic Trade Association's Board of Directors by fellow board members.

Functional ingredients company BENEO named Andreas Herber a new member of the executive board of directors at BENEO GmbH. It also named Ginger Schilling regional sales manager responsible for the Midwestern region of the U.S.  

Buddy’s Kitchen Inc., a producer and co-packer of custom food products, announced that Thomas “Pres” Colwell has joined as president of the company’s Convenience and Co-Pack Business Group.

Triple/S Dynamics announced the appointment of Chris Rippee as the president, succeeding Jeff Sullivan.

David Nelson as is the new president of Vets Plus and brings more than 25 years of relevant industry experience to his new role after serving as President of Great Lakes Calcium Corporation in Green Bay, Wis.

Sabinsa's Marketing Director Shaheen Majeed has been appointed to the board of Sami Labs, the manufacturing and R&D arm of the company.

Whole Foods veteran Jennie Poe has been appointed director of natural sales at Sir Kensington's.


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New ultra-high phospholipid launch by RIMFROST Krill puts choline on the podium

krill oil capsules

“For a long time we have talked about krill as the next generation omega-3. Our experience and the advice of our customers has confirmed that while the omega-3 component is still important, there is much more to krill--especially with RIMFROST products," reveals Sales and Marketing Director John Cameron. "From now on we will be showing customers exciting new business opportunities in other categories, where Antarctic krill can show off its full spectrum."

With the possibility to reach a level of 60 percent phospholipid concentration, RIMFROST completely renews the value proposition of Antarctic krill. It is the highest natural concentration on the market with no added extras. DHA/EPA are still prominent fatty acids found in the extract, but RIMFROST wants to highlight the importance of phospholipids, choline and astaxanthin as well. Of particular interest is how these different nutrients work together, enhancing processes throughout the body and providing good nutrition for cells. They are all amphiphilic in their nature, which enables them to be effectively transported into every part of the body, even across the blood-brain barrier. In practice, ultra-high phospholipid concentration enables several authorized health claims for choline and omega-3s with convenient supplement dosages.

RIMFROST SUBLIME is nature’s own combination of essential nutrients. The high-phospholipid extract is made possible by with commercial-scale, proprietary processing technology.

The extraction process preserves the intrinsic goodness of krill, making it highly relevant and interesting for consumers looking for wholefood-inspired solutions:

“Our new launch has great relevance for consumer demands for clean and pure, naturally sourced, sustainably produced solutions," Cameron says. "We have also identified consumer trends, needs and wants, directing us towards providing benefits that meet nutritional needs brought on by e.g. stressful living, job demands, aspirational goal-setting or ageing."

Interesting areas are e.g. management of homocysteine and inflammation levels, liver health, cardiovascular health and memory and brain function. “RIMFROST SUBLIME can be seen as a nutritional tool, ensuring that the cells have enough nutrients to keep our bodies and minds performing optimally at all times,” Cameron adds, suggesting there are interesting applications for both personalized supplements to meet specific health needs, as well as more general formulations to maintain health and wellbeing.

One of the most tangible benefits of ultra-high phospholipid concentration to be presented at SupplySide West Expo 2015 is that it increases the choline content substantially, enabling conveniently dosed applications with approved EU health claims as well as nutrient content claims in the US.

Choline is an emerging essential nutrient with increasing research supporting the important role it plays in several body systems. It is believed that consumers currently have insufficient intake of choline. It is considered essential e.g. in management of homocysteine metabolism. Homocysteine has been linked to disorders of a number of major body systems.


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Test your natural products news knowledge with this 5-question quiz

Gummies bring 'candyceuticals' to Expo East

Candyceuticals (you heard that term here first) are hitting the mainstream, and they're not just for the kiddies anymore. NewHope360 supplements editor Todd Runestad tours the Expo East 2015 show floor and reveals the yummiest gummies in the game.

For a more expansive look at gummy vitamins taking up shelf space in retailers the country over, check out our latest gallery.