The simplest pleasures in life are often the most revolutionary. That’s why we love Activz products, which contain one ingredient—USDA Organic vegetables (beet, carrot, kale, etc.) that are dehydrated and crushed using a proprietary method. Consider the potential uses for this product—stir a tablespoon of beet powder into pasta sauce; dissolve spinach powder into a morning smoothie; boost quick-bread batter with mango powder. It’s on-the-go nutrition that people would actually use. Plus, there’s potential to easily supplement school nutrition programs with extra nutrients. Kale pizza, anyone?
Want to learn more about what makes Activz so great? Check out this video about supplement trends spotted on the Expo show floor.
This beauty line stands out thanks to its unique blend of ancient alchemy (including the use of energizing crystals and colors) and modern beauty, with ingredients sourced from its own certified biodynamic farm and including plant-based ingredients such as spelt oil.
Found in southern Africa, the baobab fruit's creamy pulp is crushed into powder, sifted and packaged. To keep the fruit raw and the nutrients intact, Baobab Foods does not pasteurize, freeze-dry, heat-extract or concentrate the powder. The company's ready-to-eat snack, tasty baobab fruit cubes, come in resealable bags and are packed with fiber, antioxidants, iron, and potassium. Baobab Foods leaves 30 percent of the harvest in local communities.
Check out Alton Brown's article in Wired last year for the full scoop on just how advanced the faux-meat market has become. We like the sustainability play baked into the business here as the great migration away from animals and toward plant diets marches on. Beyond Meat's mission is to reduce the world's consumption of animal meat by 25 percent by 2020, for human, environmental and animal health. Both strips and crumbles, made primarily with non-GMO soy and pea protein, have mass-market taste appeal.
Bgreen is taking gluten-free pastas to a new level with ancient, heirloom grains like millet, buckwheat and black rice. The company's signature angel-hair pasta showcases these nutty, wholesome grains in a delicate, approachable style, while sleek packaging gives the product a delightfully sophisticated air. It will be a treat to see what the company has in store for a soon-to-be released line of gluten-free flours.
Big Slice launched in 2014 with 3 collections and 16 flavors of ready-to-eat, chunky (not pureed, hooray!) cooked apples and other wholesome ingredients. These pouches are amazingly delicious and perfect for an on-the-go snack. The design is fresh and modern and is sure to attract a younger audience. And with every Big Slice purchase, a donation is made to the Sparkle charity, blessing women in need.
Big Tree Farms
Although no sugar is healthy, the day when we’ve eliminated all sugar from our diets is still a ways off. That’s why we're such fans of coconut palm sugar, which Dr. Oz called the best alternative to cane sugar. In the growing coconut sugar business, Big Tree Farms is the no. 1 selling brand—and for good reason. The company works with more than 6,000 organic coconut farmers on the island of Java to produce its coconut palm sugar, with the goal of helping to raise local producers out of poverty while bringing a sustainable supply source to the market.
Bitsy’s Brainfood was started by two moms, Alex and Maggie, who wanted to make healthy eating fun for kids. Bitsy’s, a line of delicious cereals and cookies, are packed with vitamins and omega-3s that help developing bodies and brains grow. Beyond the amazing taste, Bitsy’s brings nutritious snacking idea to life by using fun, interactive packaging and characters that spark kids’ imaginations.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Cold-brewed coffee is hot, and Blue Bottle hits the trend spot-on by blending its 100 percent organic, New Orleans-style chicory coffee with cane sugar and Clover Organic Farms milk to make a cool, dreamy concoction. Why use Clover? Because it was a clear winner in blind taste tests and was the first dairy in the United States to be American Humane Certified for animal welfare. Blue Bottle + Clover = a fantastic partnership for the future!
Blue Hill Yogurt
Savory yogurt! This stuff tastes great, whether you go for carrot, sweet potato, beet, butternut squash, tomato or parsnip. It's probably worth a few more exclamation points to highlight the supply chain here as well. "All grass, all the time" is the mantra for milk sourced from 100 percent grass-fed cows on small, family-owned farms in New England, including the eponymous Blue Hill Farm nestled in the Berkshires.
Plant-based protein is on the cutting edge of carbohydrate-averse, paleo-style eating trends. Vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified and low-calorie, Botan's colorful drinks get their punch from pea protein. They're a great way to get your protein without a meat or dairy-heavy meal. The juice is light, refreshing and sweetened only with stevia and apple juice. No compromises; this drink has it all: great taste, great nutrition, great for the environment and pretty packaging.
Check out the new look from Brown Cow, part of the Stonyfield yogurt family. Clean, simple, plenty of white space ... just what the consumer ordered. Kudos to the designers and marketers here for getting the look just right on what is typically busy, color-addled refrigerator shelf.
Brush with Bamboo
How cool would it be if plastic toothbrushes—4.7 billion of them every year—became a thing of the past? This eco-conscious company makes fully plant-based, vegan toothbrushes, plus goes the extra mile with biodegradable and recyclable packaging (even the “plastic” inside wrapper is compostable). And check out those cool bamboo straws—another thing we’d love to see take hold across the world. Just say no to plastic!
Caboo's sugarcane and bamboo paper products stand out because of their strength, functionality and texture. Whitened without chlorine bleach, the items have a soft-to-the-touch texture that many eco-friendly paper products lack, while matching them for resource conservation. Bamboo and sugarcane are both more sustainable than hardwood trees because they're quick-growing grasses and don't require replanting. Plus, Caboo's sugarcane is actually the dry, fibrous waste product that remains after the sweet juice is extracted. It's toilet-paper treasure made out of would-be trash!
Cappello's paleo-friendly pasta is something special in the getting-crowded gluten-free market. Made with almond flour and just a few other ingredients, it's stunningly delicious, wonderfully simple and cooks in a flash, just like ordinary fresh pasta, without falling apart. (The company also makes a dangerously addictive grain-free cookie dough.) The clean, modern black-and-white packaging and reusable containers are the icing on the (grain-free) cake.
We see the future of sustainable protein, and it’s … wait for it … bugs! Around the world, 80 percent of countries already eat insects in some form; insect protein is inexpensive, healthy, sustainable (the same amount of feed produces eight times more insect protein than beef; the same amount of water, twelve times more protein), and even delicious. So we’re psyched to finally see a finished product ready for Western palates. Chapul energy bars contain cricket flour in a base of organic date paste, with gourmet flavor combos like Dark Chocolate Coffee Cayenne (no nuts) and Coconut Ginger Lime. Plus, 10 percent of proceeds fund water conservation efforts.
ChicoBag exists “to help humanity bag the single-use habit” with reusable bags for every single occasion and purpose. Its designs are incredibly versatile--one bag can transform from a tote to a backpack to a bicycle saddlebag, all made from post-consumer products and recyclables. The company also walks the sustainable walk; its headquarters participates in a waste-diversion program that enables the entire office to produce less waste than the average single American per month. Plus, ChicoBag's Zero-Waste collection program enables anyone to send in old bags or other materials that are then transformed into products.
Niacin is one of the few bioactives—pharmaceutical or otherwise—shown to boost "good" HDL cholesterol. ChromaDex has broken new ground with a no-flush niacin, officially known as nicotinamide riboside. The most impressive thing about this new ingredient? Its health benefits that go beyond cardio health to include obesity, antiaging and mitochondrial function.
This is natural personal care at its most convenient. The innovative folks at Clean George have repackaged medicinal salves—typically a pot of greenish, dubious-smelling goop—into sophisticated twist-up sticks. No greasy fingers! Named after the founder’s father, this awesome company has four Leaping Bunny Certified products that remedy stuffy noses, stressful situations, chapped skin, bug bites and more. Plus, 10 percent of profits go to the company’s nonprofit, Clean George Shares the Love, that assists families and individuals "who truly need a little help" (paying bills, buying groceries, funding a dream).
Clif Bar & Company
Clif Bar & Company deserves credit for far more than its iconic nutrition bars. Clif Bar has thrived in the natural and organic products industry because the founders' business model serves five bottom lines: people, business, brands, community and planet. Incorporating social and environmental responsibility into every area is the future for all successful natural businesses, both in terms of business growth and influence beyond the industry. Clif Bar started and remains an innovative leader in this bigger-picture approach.
Sometimes, innovation is simplicity. As refined sugars continue to be the bane of modern diets, date syrup is emerging as a great alternative sweetener, suitable for paleo, allergen-free and vegan eaters. Dates spur a lower glycemic response than pure cane sugar and offer valuable nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Date Lady’s single-ingredient date syrup, made from organic dates with no added water, makes this delectable sweetener accessible to the busy, health-minded masses. Watch as it starts to show up in other finished products. (Date syrup with Greek yogurt, anyone?)
Dead Sea Moringa
Since Dr. Oz talked up moringa as a "super supplement," sales have taken off. Leaves of the moringa oleifera tree, native to the Himalayas, are extremely nutrient-dense, containing three times more iron than spinach, plus loads of other vitamins and antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and potassium. Dead Sea Moringa is a mission-driven company that started by helping malnourished children before launching into the product business. We predict moringa buzz will keep growing.
Enzymedica’s new Enzyme Nutrition multivitamin line is an interesting spin on the whole-food supplement category. Using a base of food-grown vitamins and minerals, along with superfoods, botanicals and probiotics, the products are boosted with Enzymedica’s Thera-blend of enzymes to enhance the body’s nutrient absorption and utilization. This product launch highlights the growth and segmentation potential of whole-food supplements at large; on the flip side, it reveals the need for more consumer and retailer education on the category.
Extra Virgin Olive Water
Water ... from olives! Founder Yanni created this Extra Virgin Olive Water while researching olive oil for his family’s consumption. He discovered that the typical American diet contains only a fraction of the olive oil compared with Mediterranean diets, and that Westerners have correspondingly high rates of heart disease. After tempering and adapting olive oil's pungent by-product for a beverage, each 16-ounce bottle reportedly contains the full nutritional benefit of a nearly comparable size container of straight olive oil (but very few of the calories!). This non-oily drink, with added vitamin C, tastes refreshing and mild, perked up with ginger and stevia.
Flaska combines two trends in drinkware: using glass or steel instead of plastic and on-the-go, integrated water purification systems. But this bottle stands out because Flaska’s reusable glass bottles claim to purify water through "vibrational restructuring"--meaning silicone's inherent "remembering" properties restructure water to a purified form when the water molecules contact the glass. Just as natural spring water is restructured as it cascades down rocks, this bottle purifies water as you walk, shake or twist, using zero added material. How cool is that?
Meet the Peace Corps for real food. What's not to love and admire about a nationwide service program with boots on the ground, planting school gardens and teaching kids about the value of healthy food? It's a practical training program with a goal to permanently change people's understanding and relationship to food. New Hope Natural Media is proud to serve on FoodCorps' corporate council, a strategic alignment announced at Expo West.
We first spotted this Aussie organic company at Expo East 2013 because of the astonishing range of allergen-free credentials in its cereals: no GMOs, soy, gluten, dairy, nuts, wheat, sesame, eggs, artificial colors and flavors, all milled, created and tested in a dedicated "free from" facility. So in other words, they're safe for pretty much everyone (and schools). And the tastes are terrific, with kid-friendly flavors, delightful crunch and even options boosted with probiotics, fiber, protein and more. We think these product profiles combined with mainstream-ish branding is set to take the world by storm.
Turmeric supplements are blowing up in the U.S. market because turmeric’s active and potent constituent, curcumin, helps with the body’s natural inflammatory response. Gaia Herbs is harnessing this knowledge by expanding its Turmeric Supreme line into a variety of condition-specific products, each targeting a different type or occasion of inflammation. For joint discomfort, Gaia offers Turmeric Supreme Joint with Boswellia and Devil’s Claw. For nighttime inflammation, there’s Turmeric Supreme Pain P.M. with feverfew, kava kava and valerian. Building this condition-specific line around an ingredient as promising as turmeric will help elevate the herb into a category all its own, not unlike omega-3s and probiotics.
Garden of Life
Two years in development, Garden of Life’s Kind Organics brand is the market's first vegan, certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified line of whole-food multivitamins. Each certification is impressive on its own, but the three together testify to the amount of R&D behind this product. In addition, each nutrient’s source substance is clearly listed on the Supplement Facts panel, be it vitamin D3 from lichen or vitamin C from guava. Expect this product to hit shelves in April and to retail at a price comparable to Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code raw supplement products.
The Ginger People
Founded in 1984, The Ginger People set out to become the world’s premium and most comprehensive line of ginger products. After succeeding with ginger beer, candy, juices or tonics, and cooking ingredients, The Ginger People has most recently launched the first line of ginger-based beauty products, purported to stimulate circulation to help detoxify the skin and strengthen elasticity. The company sources more than 40 ginger ingredients from all over the world through a strong, sustainable supply network that helps its farmer communities thrive.
Nontoxic sun care has received increasing attention recently due to bad press about conventional sunscreen chemicals, such as oxybenzone. Goddess Garden's innovative approach to clean sun care sparked hot launches, including a sheer, mineral-based spray-on sunscreen. Convenient, effective options like this will continue to fuel the growth of safe, natural sun-protection alternatives.
Good Clean Love Bio-Match Lubricant
Fresh, sexy branding on products such as personal lubricants, playful oils and private-parts cleansers positions Good Clean Love as the new, healthy option in a once-taboo category. After being part of third-party research that supported these products as an excellent natural alternative lube, the company used the study results to develop a new version that takes “natural” to another level—not only using natural ingredients but also creating a product that more closely mimics the body’s natural pH levels and lactic acid.
Green Toys makes children’s playthings entirely from post-consumer recycled material (think milk bottles melted down and remade into Tonka trucks). All products are made in California, where toy safety regulations and environmental laws are famously strict. In addition to using post-consumer plastics, Green Toys' commitment to domestic manufacturing reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by cutting the distance from product creation to store shelf. This is the future of toys!
Tackling a huge problem from the bottom up, GroVia created a system of reusable diaper products that make cloth diapering doable for the busy modern parent, all while using environmentally sustainable practices. The pretty, well-designed cloth diapers are sourced from natural materials like organic cotton. And while most other "eco-friendly" biodegradable diapers are still one-time-use, GroVia provides a whole product lineup that allows parents to either quit the disposable-diaper habit entirely or transition away from disposables with biodegradable liners and inserts.
Hampton Creek Foods
Sure, Hampton Creek is going to change the world with an egg substitute that beats the poultry industry on sustainability and price. But this unabashed natural business leader also makes a no-salmonella-risk cookie dough designed to be eaten raw, which, let’s face it, is the more awesome achievement by far.
Harmless Harvest tea
These makers of sustainably raised, organic and raw/unpasteurized coconut water have launched a raw tea that is unlike anything we’ve tasted. The tea leaves are picked, flash frozen and steeped cold for an extended period,resulting in a product with uncompromised flavor and fragrance. Harmless Harvest also makes good on its "harmless" claim by sourcing 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic for their bottles.
Helios Corp's EstroG-100 combines three herbal extracts shown in human clinical trials to alleviate 8 out of 10 menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, insomnia and bone mineral density. The FDA has conferred a New Dietary Ingredient status upon it, and Health Canada has also approved it. Could be a game-changer in natural approaches to menopause management.
Made from wildcrafted brown seaweeds, InSea2 from InnoVactiv is a starch and sugar blocker designed for the blood sugar and weight management categories. Pop a pill 30 minutes before a meal and this organic water extract will reduce post-meal blood sugar naturally, in a safe and convenient way. In one study, it reduced blood-sugar levels by 48 percent.
I Play/Green Sprouts
Designed by a mother with the intent of creating safer products for her children, I Play products focus on protecting babies on the outside (bathing suits, clothes) while Green Sprouts focuses on protecting babies internally from harmful off-gases and toxins found in plastics and other materials. The company offers an impressive variety of well-designed, well-thought-out products, including a multi-layer bottle made from several materials, including plastic and chemically inert glass, to protect children from contaminants. The products’ versatility (turning from a bottle into a sip cup for example) is a major plus for families with children of different ages.
IPS stands for Intelligent Protein Snacks, and indeed they are. These pressure-cooked egg white puffs have truly broken the mold, turning all of the egg's the health benefits into a portable, delicious, kid-friendly snack. IPS discovered the pressure-cooked technology and is the only company making eggs in this form. Egg white chips could be the next big thing in the chip aisle.
Jack n' Jill
The idea: If kids learn to really enjoy brushing their teeth, the habit becomes ingrained early—no battles, no slacking. Unfortunately most all-natural toothpastes are a tough sell for young taste buds. This organic, nontoxic and superfun toothpaste for kids, from an Australian company, actually tastes good enough to eat. Boosted with organic caledula and natural flavors (banana, blueberry, etc.), there’s no gluten, animal byproducts, fake colors, palm oil derivatives, fluoride, GMOs or sugar (of course). The toothpastes also boast a perfect "0" score on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep safety rating database. Oh, and did we mention the branding is as cute as a bug’s ear?
Karma Wellness Water
This company mixes activation, innovation and nutrition by creating a way to add vitamins to water that doesn't deteriorate the vitamins. Premixed vitamin drinks lose strength over time, but the vitamin-holding activation cap in Karma water bottles allows people to mix in vitamins right before drinking. The five flavors, acai pomberry, coconut pineapple, raspberry guava jackfruit, passionfruit green tea and orange mango, also promote balance for mind, body and spirit.
King Bio Actives & Go Wild Australia
G'day, mates! The kakadu plum is a unique native Australian superfruit that boasts the highest vitamin C content of any citrus, even acerola, and yet is not acidic. The kakadu plum from GoWild Australia can also be used topically in skin-care products to boost collagen levels, is an effective anti-inflammatory, and is a natural preservative. We can't wait to see where this trendy ingredient shows up next.
Korean Ginseng Corp
Korean Ginseng Corp’s (KGC) new shot products are a step forward for the ginseng category. While ginseng shots have been around for years, the company’s new condition-specific line offers differentiation by targeting different needs and complements the evolution of the energy shot market at large. With three aspirational SKUs—Get Focus, Get Slim, and Get Energy— the line could help build renewed interest in the ginseng category.
Kuli Kuli Bar
an another nutrition bar really qualify for a NEXTY Award? Yes, when it incorporates consciously sourced moringa, an Ayurvedic ingredient that’s on the cusp of renewed recognition and widely lauded for its high levels of calcium and vitamin C. Ultra-clean ingredients (the Crunchy Almond flavor contains just dates, almonds, agave and moringa), paired with Kuli Kuli’s mission to support women’s cooperatives in West Africa, make this exceptional product stand out from the bevy of nutrition bars at Expo.
So cool: Bite-size popsicles! These coconut-water-based ice cubettes are boosted with “superfoods” like yumberry, mangosteen, baobab, cocoa, kale, citrus and spirulina, sweetened with a touch of agave, and all packed in next-gen, shelf-stable, BPA-free trays. Simply freeze, pop out and snack away; an entire package contains only 20-35 calories. We love the backstory mission too; the founder’s mom was battling cancer, and rather than feed her plain ice chips, LifeIce was born to comfort, hydrate and nourish. How many snacks can really claim the "new idea" description like this one can?
Little Me Tea
When this product's founders realized that 100 percent juice drinks were loaded with sugar, they decided to create a drink for children based on tea, which is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Little Me Teas are certified organic, low in sugar and come in tropical tea and grape tea flavors. A clever and beneficial addition to the portable-drinks-for-kids category.
A company that proudly showcases the "terroir" of its rices, Lotus Foods has built a reputation on products that feature sustainably sourced heirloom and new rice varietals. And now this do-it-right, B Corp certified company has cracked a seemingly impossible code: gluten-free, texture-perfect ramen. The ramens are beautiful, too, made with jasmine green, black forbidden or creamy basmati rice. Simply dressed with a little toasted sesame oil, these noodles nail ramen cravings on the nose and will make a lot of GF eaters very happy.
Originally from Cambridgeshire, England, the husband and wife team that founded Love Beets moved to New Jersey in 2010 and set out to share their love of beets with the United States by introducing flavor-infused beets and beet juices. Love Beets has reversed preconceived notions of boring beets by innovating tasty new products and giving the vegetable fun, modern branding. The company's products include a line of cooked fresh baby beets in five different flavors including mild vinegar, sweet fire marinade, and honey & ginger.
Love Grown Foods
Beans: it's what's for breakfast. Kudos to Love Grown Foods for taking that iconic "O" in breakfast cereals and bean-ing it up a bit. Power O's cereals, made with a blend of beans and brown rice, up the nutrition ante by providing more protein with your morning carbs--furthering the company's mission to improve schoolkids' breakfasts.
After making a name for itself with agave sweeteners and honey, Madhava is branching out in healthy ways. The company's newest ventures include a line of organic baking mixes (pancakes, cookies, cakes) that feature ancient whole grains; low-calorie natural sweeteners that blend organic agave, organic stevia and monk fruit; and five-calorie flavored drink mixes sweetened with organic agave powder and organic stevia.
This renowned, socially responsible clothing company goes above and beyond to connect with suppliers and source materials. Maggie’s Organics commits to supporting the workers, communities and farmers involved with producing its clothes, including a focused effort to revitalize the textile and cotton industry of a small community in North Carolina. Its use of organic cotton sourced from cooperative family farmers in Nicaragua is just one more example of what makes a standard-bearer for the organic industry.
Make A Stand Lemon-Aid
If the future of natural products is in the hands of people like Vivienne Harr, we're in good shape. At age 8 (she's now 11), Vivienne became aware of child slavery and pledged to run a lemonade stand for 365 days straight until she raised $100,000 to end this atrocity. She reached that goal in 179 days, but her mission, like child slavery, isn't finished. The subject of a new documentary, #StandWithMe, Vivienne and her grass-roots, B-Corp-certified organization has now launched its first consumer product: fair-trade organic lemonade, with profits going to end slavery. This kind of mission-based product is what it's all about, people.
As a young ballet dancer, Jessica Grelle learned the importance of fueling the body in the most nutritious ways possible. When her young son stopped eating carrots, Jessica decided to sneak some carrots and sweet potatoes into her pasta sauce recipe. She continued to perfect the sauce with only the best organic ingredients and now has four USDA Organic products on the market, including three veggie-based pasta sauces. We're especially excited about her new, 6-veggie ketchup that contains no sugar or alternative sweeteners at all.
Hemp is hot, at last. Apart from the increased advocacy to grow it in the United States, the seeds, oil, and protein are gaining ground as food ingredients. But big props to Manitoba Harvest for finally snackifying hemp with their new Hemp Heart Snax. As the name suggests, these craveable little squares' primary ingredient is super-healthy hemp hearts. Snax earned a NEXTY nomination because it shows hemp doesn’t have to be on the foodie fringe: it can take center stage.
Method leads the natural cleaning product category in its top-to-bottom commitment to green business. The company's products are entirely plant-based, with all packaging made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Method also started an Ocean Plastics campaign to collect and repurpose ocean-polluting waste into its packaging. More green business cred includes B-Corp and Cradle to Cradle Certification.
Modern Table Meals
Not only does Modern Table boast super-cute packaging, but this healthy dinner in a bag provides the answer to nutrition-conscious moms' weeknight conundrum. You don't need any extra ingredients besides what's in the bag to whip up healthy meals; it's healthy convenience at its finest! The bean- and lentil-based pastas are gluten-free, yummy and nutrition-dense, unlike many of the gluten-free offerings on the market.
Mommi is the first prenatal protein shake that gives pregnant women an alternative to choking down gigantic prenatal pills. Two women, Dr. Yvonne Bohn, an OB/GYN, and Erin Schurtz, a new mom, created Mommi Protein to provide an easy-to-take formula with all the protein and vitamins pregnant women need, as well as 300 extra calories for fetal growth. And get this: It tastes great! Bring on bambino.
Founder and CEO Dianne Burnett set forth to deliver a healthy product from an often-overlooked source. For thousands of years, mulberries have helped rejuvenate sick people, thanks to the berries' high level of anthocyanins. This delicious superfruit drink combines mulberry juice and coconut water to form a healthy and immune system-boosting beverage that is non-GMO, vegan and eco-friendly.
Mushroom Matrix grows, processes and packages all of the USDA organic mushrooms used to create unique targeted blends (such as this Beauty mix for skin, hair and nails) that are perfect for boosting a morning smoothie.
-Jessica Rubino, Deputy Editor, Digital and Beauty
The Naked Edge
This is snacking through an organic farm lens. The two co-founders of the Naked Edge left their corporate jobs in search of something better; that turned out to be an organic farm in Europe where they worked the land and learned a lot about food. When they returned to the States, the poor quality of food felt worse than ever, so they took matters into their own hands and created Naked Edge and Veggie Go’s. Veggie Go’s nutrient-dense snack leathers highlight vegetables in a form previously dominated by fruit; they're perfect for on-the-go nutrition.
We’re all for vegan meat replacements, but what’s with the hugely long ingredient lists? This pecan- and garbanzo-based, soy- and gluten-free dry mixture wows with flavor and simplicity—it’s made with a mere handful of ingredients. Just add water, egg or egg substitute, toss in a frying pan, and you’ve got the tastiest, healthiest, most kid-friendly ground meat substitute imaginable. We love the less-is-more direction this takes vegan “meats.”
NeoCell is another collagen finished-product company with truly elegant design, targeted to capitalize on the collagen market that boomed by 200 percent during the last year. What's great about this company is the collagen comes in fruity beauty beverage shots: orange, blueberry, apple, pomegranate and more. You would never know you were sipping collagen.
There’s just something completely addictive about these crispy little snacks, and they blast away any impressions of raw food as bland or boring. NudFud (pronounced "nude food") was created by a holistic nutritionist, so they’re certified organic, vegan, raw, gluten free and sans all common allergens. Dehydrated in small batches, the snacks contain just a few solid, healthy ingredients like sprouted seeds, spirulina, chia, goji, and cacao. We want to see these sold in movie theaters in tubs instead of that nasty GMO popcorn.
Sports nutrition companies have had a hard time grunting their way out of the weight room into the mainstream and face a particular challenge in reaching women with anything more than a straight protein. Nutegrity’s certified organic Tera’s Whey line was already making that protein sale but their new Tera’s Blends approach the more complex sports supplements we see in athletic circles.
Who wants to slather icky petroleum products on their new (and possibly still smarting) body art? Enter Ohana Organics' lovely tattoo butter; it’s certified organic, vegan (in other words, no beeswax, which clogs pores), and contains organic healing herbs that the founder infuses into oils and then blends into clean, healthy shea butter. It’s a soothing nontoxic cream you can apply during and after tattoo application, as well as to brighten colors. Hip and healthy!
We love these USDA Organic, small-batch soda syrups as a clean way to kick the fake soda habit and return carbonated beverages to their original (and even medicinal) glory. Created by organic farmers with real herbs, spices and botanicals, they boast cool flavors like Lavender Lemonbalm and Cherry Cola, with old-school soda-fountain branding. Just add a tablespoon or two to soda water (or a cocktail). Watch your back, SodaStream!
The cocktail craze continues unabated, but most people are intimidated by the idea of mixing drinks at home. Enter Owl's Brew, perfect for the aspiring at-home mixologist. These premade, tea-based mixers contain only real whole spices, fruits and herbs, and tea leaves for a convenient, high-quality alternative to sugary, artificially colored conventional mixers. They're fantastic paired with a number of spirits and even beer, with easy directions printed on the uber-cool black-and-white bottles. The Brooklyn-based company has been generating lots of buzz and already has several celebrity endorsements.
Dedication to vegan values inspired the creation of Parmela Creamery, but you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to love the company’s creamy, tree-nut-based spreads. Dairy free and soy free, Parmela’s spreads are a delicious, clean alternative to conventional cream cheese. Three flavors, Original, Kalamata Olive and Black Pepper, are made with simple, clean ingredients such as cashews and coconut oil. These spreads prove that vegan products can be as good as—if not better than—the real deal.
The bar category is crowded, and quite frankly, mostly boring. Bars pack a lot of nutrients into a small amount of food, they are great on the go and they are quite resilient—sitting on the shelf, in your backpack or briefcase for days on end without losing taste. Now, Perfect Bar has brought a fresh perspective to the bar world. Created by eight brothers and sisters with their father’s recipe, Perfect Bar is shelved in the refrigerator section and is all about fresh, though a bar can last a couple days out of the fridge. Perfect Bar brings a believability and integrity to the ingredients (including 20+ superfoods in each bar) and the fresh nutrients it provides.
Pet Naturals of Vermont
Pet Naturals of Vermont has been around for a while but new branding and the most frank labeling in the natural pet industry make the Vermont company an attention grabber. Products like “Smelly Cat” with the tagline “Hug your cat again” and “Skoot Bars” (think about your dog and your carpet) bring a refreshing break from the puppies running across meadows we commonly see in pet-industry marketing. Owning a pet can be a messy affair and Pet Naturals confronts that reality head-on. A hairball chew anyone?
It’s hard to find something innovative with coconut, which seems to be in every natural product these days. Hooray for Phoney Baloney's, a fabulous vegan and gluten-free bacon replacement made with organic coconut chips. We can’t wait to try it on salads, baked potatoes, peanut-butter sandwiches, pizza and even ice cream. It brings a much-needed oomph to the coconut craze. Several awesome flavors, too.
Plum Organics made headlines after the company was acquired by Campbell’s in June, 2013. The bigger news, however, is that Plum became the first publicly owned "benefit" corporation. Legal now in Delaware and a growing number of other states, benefit corporations enable a company to measure—and be held accountable to—the effects of their actions on the environment, their people and society at large. With the help of Campbell’s, Plum became a legal benefit corporation last year and has built into its bylaws goals related to addressing childhood hunger. Through the company’s Full Effect program, it donates organic food to a child in need every time one of its Super Smoothie products is sold.
Preserve, a pioneer in the natural living category, operates with a sustainable business model that allows it to create housewares (everything from toothbrushes to chopping boards) from post-consumer recycled plastics. The company gets its plastics from yogurt cups through collection programs and a partnership with Stonyfield yogurts. Preserve also incorporates a Life Cycle Assessment to measure the environmental impact of a product from beginning to end, giving the company a direct understanding of how its entire business affects the environment and the safety of its consumers.
This longtime supplier of spice and herb extracts has recently introduced a line of USDA Organic super tea whole-plant extracts. Just two pumps of varieties like turmeric tulsi and lemon ginger provides robust flavor and potent concentrations of nutrients. It's a new, convenient, cost-effective way to sip on hot or cold teas that capitalizes on the expertise of a long-time ingredient supplier.
We have seen algae omega-3 products for years, most notably from Martek, but Qualitas Almega PL stands out for its history. Chief technology officer Isaac Berzin has a biofuel background and hopes to put earnings from Almega PL into reviving those efforts.
Quinoasure is the first instant quinoa powder, an ingredient that's a great fit for finished product companies looking to integrate the high-protein (and did we say gluten-free?) ancient grain into infant foods, soups, cereals, beverages and supplements. It's also Fair Trade.
This oral-care company, founded by a dentist, takes a new look at our mouths as mini ecosystems, with beneficial bacteria playing a crucial role. The toothpaste, called "bio-positive" (rather than bio-negative or bio-neutral) for its purported benefits, is a patented blend of antioxidants, micronutrients, herbal extracts and homeopathic salts that is safe to ingest and is free of harsh detergents and chemicals common in conventional products.
Rumble's founder, Paul Underhill, battles cystic fibrosis and often needs to drink his nutrients. So he and a small team that includes a naturopath created the Rumble Supershake, a delicious, hunger-fighting shake with high-quality nutrients and natural energy to keep you going. The Rumble team is full of life and so is their product. Rumble donates 1 percent of all sales to charities that fight hunger. And if that isn’t enough, the taste will blow your socks off.
Think of Sabinsa's Curcumin C3 Reduct with this analogy: Turmeric is the apple tree; curcumin is the apples; the curcuminoids are the apple skin; and Curcumin C3 Reduct is the healthful apple skin, only without the red. Sabinsa produced this ingredient by taking the healthful parts of curcumin—the curcuminoids—and going one better by identifying and isolating the tetrahydrocurcuminoids, which have the happy side effect of not being bound to that rich yellow curcumin color. For product developers, not having to deal with that yellow is huge.
This Salida, Colorado-based company gets a NEXTY nomination for its holistic solution to insomnia. So many people suffer from sleep deprivation, and it affects mood, health and mindset (not to mention food choices). In addition to offering luxe organic cotton and eucalyptus-fiber sheets, Sacred Sleep debuts four organic intention teas, designed to be sipped mindfully throughout the day. Our fave flavor is Drift—a caffeine-free blend of chamomile, rose petals, lavender and lemon. Insomnia—and many other health conditions—should be treated with similar wholeness.
This Oregon-based company takes growing your own groceries to a whole new level. Seedballz are based on a Native American method of sowing seeds. Seeds are embedded in balls made of more seeds, red clay and soil humus. Just set the ball atop soil and water it; no need to bury. Before long, the seeds will germinate and you'll have anything from gorgeous flowers to delicious vegetables.
Started by a husband-and-wife team out of Venice, Calif., SmartyPants is one of the first gummy supplements to include omega-3s, a multivitamin, and D3 all in one product. Designed to simplify the supplement-buying experience, SmartyPants is a great product for families overwhelmed by choices in the standard dietary supplement aisle. The company also gives back. SmartyPants is the type of startup company we’d like to see more of in the supplement industry—one dedicated to simplicity, accessibility and social mission from the get-go.
A brand truly dedicated to clean, conscious business. SoapBox Soaps keeps raising the (soap) bar for do-good natural companies, first introducing its one-for-one model with its line of natural soaps; now, every purchase from its new line of natural body wash provides a year’s worth of vitamins for a child in need. The company was also the winner of the 2014 NEXT Accelerator Pitch Slam at Expo West. Here's to a healthy, vibrant future for Soapbox Soaps!
A renewable algae-oil company that is branching out from biofuels, Solazyme made its debut appearance at Expo West with a surprisingly delicious selection of algae-based milk, cooking oil and ice cream. Thanks to their algal base, the milk and oil are allergen-free, lower in fat and richer in beneficial omegas than other oils and dairy-free milks on the market. All of the products have a surprisingly light, neutral flavor and no texture issues to complain about. In a world where we're constantly putting more demand on our resources, creating food from an efficient, renewable source like algae is certainly where nutrition innovation needs to head.
This product's beautiful, rustic yet sophisticated packaging indicates care combined with quality. Source Organic Whey comes from grass-fed cows that graze in the open air of California pastures year-round and is the only Non-GMO Project Verified and American Humane Association certified whey. As protein continues its market dominance, this company raises whey's clean-ingredient cred.
You gotta love a natural brand that started out with a CrossFit enthusiast's desire to provide a healthy snack for at-risk urban youth in crime-ridden Camden, New Jersey. With the original PaleoKit—a mix of jerky, nuts, and berries—Steve Liberati launched his own paleo empire, which now includes nutritious cereals, jerky, stix, dressings, marinades and dried fruit (that tastes better than candy). In addition to delicious, paleo-friendly products, fully 15% of Steve's PaleoGoods proceeds supports Steve's Club, a nonprofit that brings fitness, nutrition guidance and mentorship to at-risk youth. Mission never tasted so good.
Tackling one of the natural beauty industry’s trickiest ingredients, Symrise is a leading supplier of nontoxic, plant-based fragrances that meet NPA’s “natural” standard for personal care products. Tapping one of the hottest trends in the organic food space, it launched a line of juice-inspired scents at Expo West that are soon bound to appear in a range of finished goods.
This company’s delicious organic teas come directly from its organic garden—no middleman or warehouse storage here—that was planted to provide a means for local Bangladeshi people to earn a living wage while protecting and strengthening the environment. The Teatulia Cooperative has gone even further to provide education, healthcare, and cattle-lending programs for the people working in the garden and surrounding areas. With such a stellar commitment to traceability and social impact, Teatulia models a make-good-do-good approach for any tea-related business.
Kale is still trendy, and kale chips are the crunchiest way to enjoy this nutrient-packed food of the moment. Tender Grown's Raw Leaf Crisps apply that concept to other green leaves that would typically be left behind and plowed back into the furrows. The leftovers from the cultivation of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower find new purpose in this healthy snack.
This Bar Saves Lives
Think cause marketing and 1-for-1 giving models are all played out? Think again. This Bar Saves Lives gets to the heart of the matter, putting conscious capitalism front and center, even with its in-your-face name. For every bar purchased, the company serves up Plumpy'Nut—nutrient-rich paste made from peanuts, milk powder, sugar, vegetable oils, and a mixture of vitamins and minerals—to children on the brink of starvation.
Truce's back-to-basics approach to cleaning is refreshing in a crowded and increasingly specialized category. The company's three main products will clean your entire house, and each product contains only a handful of nontoxic, easy-to-recognize ingredients. Essential oils impart a fresh scent that's far from the headache-inducing smells in chemical-filled cleaners. Bold, clean labels clearly list all ingredients for ultra-transparency.
When chef Scot Elmore, known for his salads and delicious dressings in his South Florida community, began to dream up ways to deliver health benefits in salad dressings, Tru Table was born. With five delicious, protein-enriched healthy salad dressings, including Southwest Turmeric & Black Bean and Asian Sweet Chili & Tamari, Tru Table provides a way to get protein while dipping veggies or eating your greens.
A company and a movement was born when a 13-year-old named Nicky wanted his favorite foods to not be the worst foods for him. So he set out to "unjunk" that bag of Halloween candy that was causing his father so much consternation. No more corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils; more cacao, real caramel and peanuts.
Bitters are back! Urban Moonshine, Vermont-based organic herbal bitters for use as health tonics or in cocktails, come in a variety of innovative flavors, such as Maple and Chocolate, and target different health conditions, such as immunity and longevity. We like Urban Moonshine for bringing a playful twist to the apothecary’s age-old practice of concocting herbal remedies. With their organic certification and unique product positioning, Urban Moonshine is a bright spot in the dietary supplement industry.
Seeds are certainly having a moment, making their way into nut butters, paleo cereals and nutrition bars. Viana's sunflower seed and oil-based spreads jump onto the trend beautifully with a smoother texture than hummus and wonderfully rich flavors like papaya curry and eggplant.
Single-use coffee maker pods are an environmental atrocity—a new piece of plastic trash generated for every cup brewed. White Coffee has an organic coffee pod they claim is recyclable. The pod concept is still problematic but recycling is a step in the right direction.
"Paleo" was the most Googled diet term this past year. The new WholeMe company nails the grain-free, nutrient-dense, no-processed-sugar trifecta with these wonderfully delicious, preservative-free bars (they also make a killer paleo granola). Clever, catchy branding stands out too. The original Date Me bar is a perfect morning snack and the Wake Me bar contains a yummy combination of espresso and raw cacao nibs.
Wild California's fruit and seed crisps represent the future of sustainable sourcing. In addition to sourcing most fruits, nuts and seeds from the company's home state, Wild California uses Sonoma Grape Flour, made from grape skins and seeds after they are pressed for wine. Through a process of drying and milling, what would normally be a waste product from local wineries is transformed into a unique ingredient that adds a tasty twist to Wild California's humble crisp.
Move over, coconut water: Watermelon is about to give you a run for your money. This cold-pressed juice (Wtrmln Wtr: sound it out) is simply watermelon—rind and all—and a touch of lemon juice in a bottle. No added water. No added sugar. Refreshing as all get-out. And get this: It contains even more potassium than coconut water, plus magnesium, citrulline, vitamin C and lycopene.
Yoot Root Teas
This 'spankin new brand makes functional, natural beverages actually taste good. Slightly sweet (this is definitely not the nasty, saccharine tonic of your childhood), Yoot deftly blends digestive bitter herbs like dandelion and licorice root into efficacious, tummy-soothing teas. It's just like something a wise grandmother would make—comforting, healing and accessible. It may seem far-off, but this product proves bitter herbs have potential to go mainstream. They're an alternative to Pepto Bismol ... which is pretty darn cool.
The collagen market has doubled in the past year, and one reason is Youtheory, which markets collagen directly to men. That's right, men! Collagen is a structural protein good for building awesome nails, hair, tendons, bones, muscle and keeping skin smooth from the ravages of wrinkles (or, in men's case, cragginess). Collagen also contains powerhouse cosmetic ingredient hyaluronic acid as well as chondroitin. Why should women get all that benefit to themselves?
Lots of new healthy nut butters are popping up these days, but Yumbutter caught our attention for several reasons. First is the company’s portable and convenient packaging, which replaces the traditional jar with a squeezable and resealable stand-up pouch. Yumbutter also “power packs” its organic nut butters with whole superfoods such as chia, hemp seeds and goji berries. Then there's Yumbutter’s commitment to nourishing the world through its buy-one-feed-one model, which provides nutrition supplementation through a partnership with the Guatemala-based nonprofit Primeros Pasos. Started by young entrepreneurs in Madison, Wis., Yumbutter exemplifies the passion, compassion and nutrition-oriented approach that will make the natural products brands of tomorrow successful and influential.
Zend is an intriguing flip on the energy shot category—a calming shot. With 500mg of the soothing botanical kava kava in a 2-ounce shot, Zend shows promise as the brand that puts kava back on the map as a go-to relaxation ingredient. Where Dream Water shots are taking melatonin, we expect Zend to take kava.