For the past 10 years, WholeFoods Magazine has honored outstanding natural products industry companies with our Natural Choice Awards.
Over the years, we’ve changed with the times to accommodate new trends, diets and innovations. At first, we had separate awards for Men’s and Women’s Supplements, Soy and Low-Carb Foods and Packaged Food. These were retired to make room for others like Sensitive Diets, Children’s Supplements and Pet Care. Who knows? In 10 more years, we may tweak our categories again. But one thing will always remain the same: our appreciation for our readership and a dedication to high-quality reporting within the natural products industry.
SUPPLEMENTS, FULL LINE:
HBC, HAIR CARE:
Natural Choice Award winners have our readers entirely to thank; winners were chosen through ballots sent to us from natural product retailers that told us what sold the best in their stores in 15 categories this past year. Our editors tabulated the results and broke any ties by consulting our monthly What’s Selling column. Congratulations to all of our 2013 winners and runner-ups!
NOW Foods is a 10-time Natural Choice Awards winner (including six straight years for its full line), but the company doesn’t let this reputation go to its head. “To be honored for the best Full Line of Supplements by independent health food retailers six years in a row is a testament to the dedication of all of our employees to provide the best possible quality products and stellar service to independent retailers,” says Jim Emme, president of NOW Foods, Bloomingdale, IL.
For Nature’s Gate, the timing of this award couldn’t be better. “This award is especially meaningful as we have just celebrated our 40th anniversary as a leader in natural hair care,” says Jennifer Schweitzer, brand manager for Nature’s Gate, Chatsworth, CA. “As the industry continues to evolve with advances in natural and sustainable ingredients and packaging, Nature’s Gate has updated its hair care products, without sacrificing the performance and value the brand is known for.”
Others also feel receiving the award reinforces their hard work and commitment. “As a formulator going on my 30th year of formulating mostly natural food- and plant-based products, this type of award is recognition and confirmation of the hundreds of hours of research and hard work that goes into launching a new product,” says Lindsey Duncan, N.D., C.N., CEO and founder of Genesis Today, Austin, TX, on his company’s first Natural Choice win. “We eat, sleep and breathe innovation.”
Marc de Grandpre, KIND’s senior vice president of marketing, feels the same way. “This success reinforces our commitment to providing consumers with all-natural snacks made from ingredients you can see and pronounce,” he says. “We will continue to lead the way across all fronts by creating healthy and tasty snacks, and working to make the world a little kinder as we do so.”
Thanks to all our readers who voted this year; without you, none of this would be possible. One retailer has been randomly selected to win $50, so congratulations goes to Mary Feehan of De Walt’s Health Food Center, Pittsburgh, PA.
Now, here are your Natural Choice Award winners of 2013!
Research and writing by Colleen Morrison
SUPPLEMENTS: FULL LINE
For the sixth year in a row, NOW Foods takes home the coveted award for its Full Line. NOW’s products cover the health gamut, providing support for everything from bone to cardiovascular to immune health, as well as sports nutrition, natural energy aids, antioxidants for general well-being and specialized men’s and women’s health supplements. Some of the newest supplements in the line are Clinical GI Probiotic, Clinical Probiotic Immune, Methyl B-12 lozenges and Pterostilbene & Resveratrol. This year, NOW Foods is celebrating its 45-year anniversary as a natural products business. In addition to supplements, NOW also offers many personal care, food and tea products.
395 S. Glen Ellyn Rd., Bloomingdale, IL 60108, www.nowfoods.com
SUPPLEMENTS: SPORTS NUTRITION
Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation, Extreme Edge
Bluebonnet wins for the second consecutive year for top Sports Supplement, this time for the Extreme Edge line. The three-tiered sports nutrition system is formulated to support athletes’ often rigid diets and disciplined exercise schedules with ingredients to naturally help recharge, refuel and recover easily before and after workouts. Bluebonnet does not include banned substances, hormones, antibiotics or artificial ingredients. Athletes start with Pre Workout, which provides muscle-recharging ingredients like beta-alanine, natural caffeine, L-taurine and L-tyrosine. Carbo Load is a no-sugar-added formula and contains performance-enhancing nutrients like 38 grams of complex carbohydrates and cinnamon bark extract to support healthy glucose levels. Post Workout, a whey protein isolate, promotes muscle growth and prevents muscle breakdown during recovery, and also helps to rehydrate and avoid cramping.
12915 Dairy Ashford, Sugar Land, TX 77478, www.bluebonnetnutrition.com
SUPPLEMENTS: WEIGHT LOSS
Genesis Today, Green Coffee Bean Extract
Green Coffee Bean Extract is one of the hottest weight-loss supplements, and according to readers, Genesis Today’s tops the list! The first-time winner offers a pure, high-quality, raw, unroasted green coffee bean extract that has been standardized to contain at least 45% of a naturally occurring blend of 3-, 4- and 5-caffeoylquinic and chlorogenic acids. These acids, says the company, are what help support healthy body weight, body fat levels, cardiovascular function and healthy blood sugar levels. This supplement contains less caffeine than a normal cup of coffee—15–23 mg compared to 100–150 mg—which offers weight-management without a jittery side-effect. Along with being a weight-loss aid, green coffee bean extract is also high in polyphenol antioxidants.
14101 W. Highway 290, Bldg. #1900, Austin, TX 78737, www.genesistoday.com
EuroPharma, Terry Naturally Curamin
Customers were in search of natural pain relief this past year, and EuroPharma’s Terry Naturally Curamin was our retailers’ go-to item. Curamin is made with a super-absorption curcumin called BCM-95 that allows up to 10 times better absorption than other standard curcumin products. Curamin combines curcumin with other pain-support ingredients—boswellia, D L-phenylalanine (DLPA) and nattokinase to help balance one’s natural inflammation response and support the body’s ability to reduce occasional pain. This is EuroPharma’s 2nd Natural Choice Award win.
955 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311, www.europharmausa.com
Nature’s Way, Full Line
The Nature’s Way line of 200 herbal supplements includes acai, yucca and everything in between. These in-betweeners include ginger and fenugreek seed for digestion, cranberry for urinary health and vitex fruit for balanced menstrual cycles. Nature’s Way also offers over 500 vitamins, minerals, homeopathic products, probiotics and supplements for diet and weight-loss support, endurance and energy, immune health and liver support. For over 40 years, Nature’s Way has been manufacturing dietary supplements in its pharmaceutically licensed, GMP-compliant facility and believes in giving back through donations of vitamins to developing nations, supporting self-reliance programs for the homeless and contributing to research for breast cancer and other diseases, says the company. This is Nature’s Way’s 3rd Natural Choice win.
825 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311, www.naturesway.com
Nature’s Plus, Animal Parade
Nature’s Plus continues its undefeated streak with the four-time Natural Choice Award-winning Animal Parade line. These kids’ vitamins and supplements, enhanced with Source of Life proprietary blends, are made with whole foods as well as superfood extracts and concentrates, bioflavonoids, botanical extracts and naturally derived essential minerals, enzymes and amino acids to nutritionally support young bodies through all stages. Multi-vitamins are available as liquids, chewables and gummies as well as in Vita-Gels softgels and Liquilicious liquid. Other chewable supplements include DHA For Kids, Tummy Zyme and Kids Immune Booster.
548 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747, www.naturesplus.com
Bragg Live Foods, Apple Cider Vinegar
This is Bragg Live Foods’ 4th straight win for its popular Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in the Organic Food category. Dating back to 400 B.C., Hippocrates lauded the health qualities of apple cider, says the company. Bragg’s unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar helps to maintain healthy, youthful skin and bodies along with helping to ease muscle pain after exercising, supporting immune, digestive and weight health, and soothing dry throats while helping to rid the body of toxins. In addition to the original vinegar, Bragg offers flavored vinegar drinks like Apple Cinnamon, Limeade and Ginger Spice. Bragg suggests using its cider vinegar on salads, veggies and even popcorn.
Box 7, Santa Barbara, CA 93102, www.bragg.com
FOOD: NUTRITION BAR
KIND, Full Line
KIND takes first again in the Bar category, making this its 2nd consecutive win and 3rd win overall. The KIND Bar brand has three different lines: Fruit & Nut (the originals), Nuts & Spices (newest additions), and Plus (added nutrients and antioxidants). All bars are gluten-free and non-GMO, while most bars are high in protein and fiber, such as the Peanut Butter & Strawberry bar from the Fruit & Nut line, or the Blueberry Pecan + Fiber from the Plus line. Some are low in sugar, like the Nuts & Spices line which includes only 5 g of sugar or less in each bar, and features flavors like Madagascar Vanilla Almond and Cashew & Ginger Spice. Others have omega-3, like the Almond Cashew bar with added flax.
Millennium Products, Inc., GT’s Kombucha
Millennium Products regains the 1st place title in the Beverage category with its six-time winning GT’s Kombucha. The Classic Raw Kombucha line was introduced in 1995 with flavors like Citrus, Gingerade and Multi-Green and later expanded with Enlightened Kombucha, Enlightened Synergy and Classic Synergy. Each of the 17 USDA organic kombuchas contain a proprietary blend of probiotics, antioxidants and enzymes to support immune system health, cleansing and general well-being. “We are humbled and grateful to be recognized for doing something that means so much to us,” says founder GT Dave on receiving the award. “We continue to stand by what we believe in.”
P.O. Box 2352, Beverly Hills, CA 90213, www.synergydrinks.com
Follow Your Heart, Vegenaise
Retailers told us that this year, vegan customers loved preparing foods with Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise Dressing and Sandwich Spreads. These vegan, non-GMO, gluten-, dairy- and cholesterol-free spreads and dipping sauces replace the eggs normally used in mayonnaise with canola oil, brown rice syrup, apple cider vinegar and soy protein. The spreads come in Original, Reduced Fat, Grapeseed Oil, Organic and Soy-Free versions, while Vegenaise Gourmet features soy-free, egg-free dipping sauces and spreads in Roasted Garlic, Barbeque, Pesto, Chipotle, Horseradish Sauce and Tartar Sauce. Follow Your Heart offers other vegan products like salad dressings, cream cheese, sour cream and dairy-free cheese shreds and spreads. This is Follow Your Heart’s 2nd Natural Choice Award win for Vegenaise.
21825 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303, www.followyourheart.com
FOOD: SENSITIVE DIETS
Udi’s, Full Line
Udi’s Gluten Free rises above the competition with its 3rd straight win for gluten-free breads that cover the spectrum of bready needs in its gluten-free catalog. Varieties of sliced bread include omega flax and fiber, cinnamon raisin, white, whole-grain and millet-chia, and the newest bagel flavors are Mighty Bagel and Everything Inside Bagel. Gluten-free large and small soft tortillas, muffins and cinnamon rolls, cookies and brownies, granola and pre-made pizzas are also available. All breads are natural with no additional fillers.
12000 E. 47 Ave., #400, Denver, CO 80239, www.udisglutenfree.com
HBC: HAIR CARE
Nature’s Gate, Full Line
Nature’s Gate wins for the fourth time with its line of 10 shampoos, 10 conditioners and one “shampoo & wash,” which include Aloe Vera, Awaphui, Biotin Strengthening, Henna Shine, Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense and Tea Tree Calming. There are seven healthy hair nutrients in each of the Nature’s Gate shampoos and conditioners: jojoba seed oil for conditioning and protection, vegetable proteins for moisturizing and strengthening, borage seed oil for healthy hair and scalp, soy proteins for resilience and vitality, panthenol for moisturizing and smoothing and vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection. Shampoos and conditioners for baby are also available. All include a biodegradable and sulfate-free surfactant system that provides gentle, but rich lather without parabens, phthalates, butylene glycol or animal by-products.
9200 Mason Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311, www.natures-gate.com
HBC: PERSONAL CARE
Tom's of Maine, Toothpaste
In the Personal Care category, consumers are clearly taking care of their teeth with Tom’s of Maine toothpastes. Tom’s Simply White toothpaste with flouride, available in Clean or Sweet Mint, has no harsh abrasives or bleaching ingredients, gluten or artificial ingredients. Botanically Bright, in Spearmint or Peppermint, offers the same whitening support, but without the added flouride. Both use a blend of naturally sourced silicas to remove surface stains and promote whitening. For kids aged 2–6, Tom’s Silly Strawberry toothpaste is made with strawberries, not artificial flavors, dyes or sweeteners, and is the only American Dental Assocation-accepted natural kids’ toothpaste, says the company. This is Tom’s of Maine’s 2nd Natural Choice Award in the HBC Personal Care category.
302 Lafayette Center, Kennebunk, ME 04043, www.tomsofmaine.com
HBC: SKIN CARE
derma e, Full Line
derma e uses antioxidants, like astaxanthin, vitamins A, Ester C and E, as well as botanicals in its creams, moisturizers and other topicals to address skin issues like blemishes, age spots, scars, dry skin and general aging. New Evenly Radiant BB Crème mineral beauty balm aids in concealing aging skin with a light-weight, color-correcting formula that covers while brightening, hydrating, smoothing and softening skin. The crème includes the wrinkle-fighting peptide, Matrixyl as well as green tea and SPF 25 to prevent sun damage. Other products include Evenly Radiant facial cleanser, Exfoliating Mask with fruit enzymes and Dead Sea salt and Very Clear body wash. This is derma e’s third consecutive time winning, fifth overall, for its full line of skincare products.
4485 Runway St., Simi Valley, CA 93063, www.dermae.com
PetGuard, Full Line
PetGuard continues its undefeated reign with the fourth-straight win for its full line of products in the Pet Care category. While mainstream pet food may contain animal byproducts, artificial coloring and flavors and chemical preservatives, PetGuard’s full line of dog and cat foods, treats and supplements leave all of these unwanted additives out to provide its customers with a natural product. PetGuard knows that its customers would not want to feed their families food with questionable origins, and want to treat their pets with the same respect when it comes to feeding and maintaining them for a long, healthy life. Currently, PetGuard is redesigning its packaging as well as changing to pop-tops for its Super Premium canned food line.
P.O. Box 668, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043, www.petguard.com
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2013