Contract manufacturing. Did reading that phrase make you picture a buzzing room filled with shiny silver equipment? Or, did you envision a team of innovators that can help you turn an idea into reality (or an established product into something even better)? Well, the latter is closer to what contract manufacturing today is all about.

What makes the difference between natural shampoos and conditioners and those fortified with synthetic components? The ingredients, of course! Synthetic agents in traditional shampoos and conditioners are designed to mimic the desirable cleansing and conditioning properties of ingredients found organically in nature. This month’s HBC Counter profiles a few select ingredients often found in natural shampoos and conditioners.

In the natural food flavors and colors market, staying current and diversifying is the name of the game. Only the strongest, most palatable natural flavors and the brightest, most appealing colors survive, and jumping on the right bandwagon can be just as important as forging bold, new paths.

Herbal Water unveils Ayala’s Herbal Water in three flavors: Ginger Lemon Peel , Lemongrass Mint Vanilla and Cinnamon Orange Peel. Herbal Water uses USDA-certified organic water plus herb mixtures in six different blends. The firm adds, “These new bubbly beverages are perfect food companions and will complement any variety of appetizers, entrees or desserts."

Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Granola Bars are the newest product from Bakery on Main. Available in a six ounce, five count carton, bars include Chocolate Almond, Apple Cinnamon and Peanut Butter & Jelly. Bars are made with GFCO-certified gluten-free oats, quinoa, amaranth and flax and chia seeds. SRP: $5.49 per 3.5 oz bag.
 

Hillside Candy has added Iced Mint Mango and Blood Orange hard candies to its GoNaturally line. This confection is sweetened with organic brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice. Handmade in America, the candy is gluten free, contains no chemicals or preservatives and is Halal/Kosher. Also, the candy comes in peg bags and recyclable twist wrappers. SRP: $2.99 per 3.5 oz bag.

From St. Amour Cookies comes Susan’s Sugar Free, a new line of vegan and sugar-free cookies. Available in several flavors, Orange & Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, ginger, Chocolate and Almond, cookies contain no preservatives, baking soda and trans-fats. Four of the five varieties also are vegan.

Fresh Harvest Products, Inc. expanded its Wings of Nature line of snack bars. Varieties now include Espresso, Cranberry and Almond Raisin. These 1.4-oz. bars are low sodium, an excellent source of fiber, vegan and dairy free, offer a low-glycemic carbohydrate and are certified organic. SRP: $31.99 per 24-count pack.

Dry Soda Company announces the debut of its new design and packaging. Dry Soda features allnatural ingredients and flavors, including cucumber, blood orange, vanilla bean and lavender. These sodas are sweetened with only 11–15 grams of cane sugar syrup, making for a less sweet soda. The new sophisticated packaging features recyclable glass bottles.