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Natural Products Expo

King collagen comes out of the capsule

At Natural Products Expo East 2017, we checked out what leading collagen marketers are doing to bring customers beauty from the inside-out without having to swallow a single pill. Spot of tea, anyone?

[email protected]: Wegmans works to advance organic, biodynamic farming | A standard for grass-fed organic dairy

Wegmans Wegmans organic farm and orchard

Wegmans growing an army of organic farmers

Wegmans’s New York suppliers are experimenting with ways to grow food without using pesticides—and sharing their learnings with other local farmers. The retailer operates a 50-acre organic farm in Canandaigua as well as a 168-acre organic orchard—where it’s testing biodynamic farming practices—and a vineyard location. Read more at Democrat & Chronicle…


Dairy co-ops create new standards for grass-fed organic products

Under a new standard announced Sept. 11 by Organic Valley and likely to go into effect next year, cows who produce certified grass-fed organic dairy will be required to graze at least 150 days a year and not eat any grains at all. The co-op hopes the new third-party certification will be a way for organic, grass-fed products to earn and maintain consumer trust. Read more at Bloomberg…


Navigating the FDA’s food safety maze

Some growers say the costs of complying with new food safety regulations could put them out of business. The Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Rule, which producers are required to comply with by Jan. 26, 2018, subjects fruit and vegetables to the kind of stringent regulations that govern meat, dairy and processed foods. Some worry that FSMA will prevent some small organic farms from being able to scale. Meanwhile, President Trump’s proposal to cut $108 million from the FDA’s 2018 budget could hamper implementation and enforcement. Read more at Modern Farmer…


This bedsheets startup is the world’s fastest growing consumer of organic cotton

Cotton is a dirty crop that requires a lot of pesticides to grow. But Scott and Missy Tannen started Boll & Branch in 2013 to build a company that sources only organic cotton from a co-op in India and sells direct through consumer online. The company’s classic aesthetic is winning over not millennials but older consumers across the country, and a new report from the Textile Exchange ranks it as the seventh largest overall consumer of organic cotton. Read more at Fast Company…


Falling yogurt sales weigh on General Mills

A double-digit drop in yogurt sales fueled a 4 percent slide in General Mills’ quarterly sales. Cereal sales also slid 7 percent in the quarter, while snack sales fell 2 percent. Read more at MarketWatch…

Natural Products Expo

Breakfast grains shine at Natural Products Expo East 2017

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—and grains including oatmeal, barley, quinoa and more can make it the healthiest, too. Here, New Hope Network editors Jenna Blumenfeld and Jessie Shafer showcase the newest products spotted at Natural Products Expo East 2017 that make morning meals tasty, convenient and special.

Keep up with the latest natural products trends by subscribing to Natural Retail Today.

National Co+op Grocers among B Lab 'Best for the World' honorees

National Co+Op Grocers

B Lab, the nonprofit organization that certifies B Corps, has named National Co+op Grocers (NCG) among its 2017 “Best for the World” honorees.

As a Certified B Corp, NCG is one of more than 2,200 companies certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. NCG was among 846 businesses across 52 industries from 48 countries recognized as this year’s honorees. 

“There is a global movement of people using the power of business to achieve a higher purpose than profit maximization,” B Lab noted in its announcement. “They strive to use business as a force for good: good for workers, good for communities, good for the environment. They redefine success in business by competing to be not just best in the world, but best for the world.”

“We are grateful to be among a prestigious group of organizations worldwide,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer, NCG. “Our team has worked with devotion to contribute to our place in the B Corp community, from participating in the 2017 B Corp Inclusion Challenge to highlighting other B Corps through coordinated product promotions at NCG co-ops. We are committed to continual improvement and we thank B Lab for recognizing this ongoing work.”

In addition to NCG’s B Corp certification and this new honor, NCG food co-ops sold $80.4 million worth of products from Certified B Corps in 2016.

Source: National Co+op Grocers

Natural Products Expo

Baltimore's Real Food Farm hosts first-ever service project at Natural Products Expo East

Before taking to the show floor, a small group of exhibitors and attendees at Natural Products Expo East braved the rain in Baltimore on Wednesday, Sept. 13, to lend a hand on the city's largest urban farm that aims to improve neighborhood access to fresh, healthy food.

At Real Food Farm, education coordinator Aliza Sollins led the group through a tour of the 6 acre property and explained how its production staff and AmeriCorps service members use organic and sustainable farming practices to grow fresh produce for the community. In the following slides, see how Real Food Farm is working to make healthy food accessible and affordable for all, and how Expo East volunteers did their small part.

The service project at Expo East was sponsored by Esca Bona platform sponsors 301 Inc. and Good Catch Foods. Learn more about Esca Bona, which will take place Oct. 16-18 in Austin, here. Participation is limited to 300. 

Esca Bona

Dreading your packaging redesign? Let joy spark the process

Adam Butler packaging

You used to brim with excitement when you handed your package to a buyer or potential customer. But that feeling has faded. Lets call it "excitement erosion." This feeling is natural and is caused by shifts in the marketplace that are no fault of your own: Design trends have migrated, competition has become more fierce, people’s diets have evolved. There are many reasons you’ve lost that loving feeling.

Addressing this challenge can be overwhelming in the face of the day-to-day work you already have. And getting everyone on the same page internally can be a grind as well. It might be time for help from an outside design firm—but you’re not quite sure where to start that process either.

What if there was a powerfully intuitive way to begin your packaging redesign process? One that could provide some strategic clarity internally and also tee you up well for engaging a design firm down the road, should you choose to do so.

Based on the work of organizing consultant Marie Kondo, here’s a drill that allows you to ask a very simple question about each element of your current packaging presentation (icons, logos, taglines, USP’s, claims, certifications, associations and form factor). The question is, "Does this element of our packaging bring me joy?" That’s it. Rather than clinically audit each element in isolation, this exercise will empower your team to fluidly process all of the elements together, unlocking your powerful diversity of knowledge at once.

The “KonMari Sort” drill works like this: 


  • Define all existing packaging presentation elements (icons, logos, taglines, USP’s, claims, certifications, associations and form factor) and print each one out on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. You should expect to see 15 to 20 elements.
  • Locate a short primer video on the KonMari method or purchase her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, if you’re feeling ambitious.
  • Invite a nice cross section of your team from sales, marketing and operations and marketing. Five to seven people is ideal. Tell them you have fun drill that will take about an hour. Team invitation?


  • Spread all of the printed packaging presentation elements out on the floor in no particular order.
  • Prepare seven small green sticker dots (Avery ¼” stickers) for each team member participating in the drill.
  • Provide one Sharpie and one Post-it pad for each team member participating in the drill.


  • Let your team know that you are going to KonMari Sort the elements of your packaging. Explain the KonMari method briefly in your own words or by sharing a short video.
  • Hand each team member seven green dots.
  • Prompt each team member to vote by placing their dot on the elements that "bring them joy" when they look at them, giving them a total of three minutes to complete the task.
  • Remove all of the un-dotted elements from the floor and put them away.
  • Hang all of the items that received a vote up on a wall or bulletin board.
  • Prompt a discussion about why each of the remaining elements received votes, having each team member write their thought on a post-it and then share it aloud as they place it on the corresponding piece of paper.
  • Photo document all of the work and transcribe it for sharing later.

It will come as no surprise that many of the elements that bring you joy are ones that you’ve received positive customer feedback on in the past. Or they are ones that are truly differentiating you in your category. These things often drive sales. And hopefully you will also see that many of the elements you’ve given too much primacy to on package are ones that are simply “me too” propositions that made it to package out of a sense of obligation or fear. These can be given a much smaller role on package in the future, if any at all.

This drill isn’t everything you’ll need to consider in the process of redesigning your packaging, but it’s certainly a high-energy beginning. It creates momentum. Consider running the same drill with a group of your core customers to see what brings them joy. Combining their results with those from your team will help inform a strategic brief for how you might redesign your packaging in a way that sparks more joy on shelf and ultimately hits your topline.

Adam Butler is the founder and strategic chief at The Butler Bros, a brand design studio that delivers radical collaboration to those who are ready to refine or redefine their brand in pursuit of growth. By unlocking the ingenuity of teams, running lean research, and discarding titles in pursuit of design solutions they move at the speed of the ever-changing marketplace. You’re invited to have a rad collab [email protected]

Join The Butler Bros at Esca Bona this year. Adam and Marty Butler are emcees and event collaborators helping host for the third consecutive year.

Natural Products Expo

Expo East 2017 shows off hemp oil's buzz

First there was CBD. Then there was hemp oil. Along came sophisticated botanical formulations featuring hemp. And now there's non-cannabis cannabis. You heard right.

For a download of the latest stories on science and ingredients, subscribe to the Natural Ingredients Weekly.


Nutrition Business Journal: March 2016

The NBJ Awards issue did not come out late. Subscribers may be accustomed to seeing it pop up in their inbox in January and then settling into a chair as the winter nips outside to read about the companies leading the nutrition industry. On that schedule, the Awards issue resonated as a look back at the year before—triumphs and challenges, struggles and progress. Right now, you are looking down at this page in the last week of March. And we couldn’t be more on time.


Nutrition Business Journal: April 2016

It might be nice to say a fresh breeze has supplement makers trimming their sales for a steadier course across the all too choppy waters of public perception and media misdirection. It’d be nice to say that reforms and pushing self-regulation past lip service will steady that new course. But the truth is the supplement industry remains a rather random flotilla of ships, boats and skiffs, and many are navigating without a compass to ports unknown.


Nutrition Business Journal: May/June 2016

Trust is a block, even a cornerstone, in the foundation of any industry. In supplements, it is the foundation. That foundation, NBJ consumer research suggests, has some cracks. Whether they spread, or the mortar weakens, becomes the biggest shadow darkening the industry today. How that foundation can be strengthened becomes the biggest question. But the troubling nature of the results cannot be questioned at all.