Montpelier, VT—The Vermont legislature overwhelmingly passed a law requiring foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to say so on the label. The state’s governor, Peter Shumlin, vowed to sign the bill, which will become the first to independently require GMO labeling in the country. Connecticut and Maine have passed similar laws, but those will only take effect once neighboring states also pass GMO-labeling laws.

The Organic Center held its annual VIP dinner at Expo West, with the overarching theme of organic research.

News from industry food companies.

Washington, D.C.—Providing the big picture and some compelling statistics for the specialty food space is a new report published by the Specialty Food Association. Sales are up and growing almost across the board, and specialty foods are grabbing market share from conventional foods, according to the report.

All signs point to a continued rise in interest in alternative diets. A 2012 study from the Vegetarian Resource Group found that 2.5% of U.S. consumers self-identified as “vegan,” up from 1% since as recently as 2009 (1). Couple this with the documented decline in meat consumption, and it is clear that widespread dietary changes are afoot. Raw food-centered lifestyles also continue to garner interest. In each of these areas, food companies are stepping up to the plate to turn curious shoppers into loyal customers through marketing and innovation.

The ballots are in. The votes are tallied. And now without further ado, we are thrilled to share with you the winners of the 2014 WholeFoods Natural Choice Awards.

Late July Organic Snacks has launched Restaurant Style Organic Tortilla Chips, available in Sea Salt and Chia & Quinoa. The chips are certified USDA organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

New Sprout Rise Morning Multigrain Crunch Bites are part of Sprout Foods’ new Sprout Rise collection of healthy breakfast foods for the family. The bite-sized, organic cereal is made with whole grains, is high in protein and fiber and is filled with real fruit and vegetables. Flavors include Red Berry & Beet, Orange Fruit & Carrot and Purple Berry & Carrot.

The Veri Soda Company has a new line of USDA organic, non-GMO sodas. Sweetened with organic cane sugar and stevia, Veri soft drinks are made with fruit juices and sparkling water, and contain 60 calories per can. Veri sodas come in Cola, Orange, Lemon Lime and Ginger Ale. SRP for a four-pack: $4.99.