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.
For 11 years, WholeFoods Magazine has been sending out questionnaires to all of our retailer readers, asking for votes on best sellers in several categories across all market segments. This year, we had 18 categories, including some new ones. Our former “specialty supplements” category has been broken into four awards so as to pinpoint hot sellers in condition-specific areas: immune health, bone/joint health, heart health and digestive health.
The votes came flying in this year, and we tallied up every single one. Any ties were broken with top sellers from our 2013 What’s Selling columns. We’re happy to honor the outstanding companies dedicated to their work in the natural products industry with our 2014 Natural Choice Awards.
Congratulations to all of our winners and runners-up! And congratulations are also in order for Nature Basket Inc. of New Bern, NC, which was randomly selected from among all our voters to receive a cash prize of $50.
This year, our winner’s circle includes a great mix of old friends and fresh faces, from those picking up their seventh win to newcomers to both the awards and the industry.
For example, Quest Nutrition, Marina Del Ray, CA, winner of the Nutrition Bar category, is on our list for the very first time this year. Popular yet humble, they attribute their success to their customers: “We would be nothing without them. They share their lives with us,” says Tom Bilyeu, President of Quest Nutrition. “They inspire us to keep innovating so that we can continue to provide delicious, healthy alternatives to all the junk out there.”
On the other hand, derma e, Simi Valley, CA, winner of the Skincare category, has five other Natural Choice Awards under its belt, and they still feel a deep appreciation for their customers. Jennifer Norman, vice president of marketing for derma e, says the company values its customers’ “trust and partnership in creating a healthier future. It’s what inspires us to continue making the finest, most effective natural skincare on the planet,” she adds.
Though New Chapter, Brattleboro, VT, is no stranger to the Natural Choice Awards, the firm is honored to be given the Supplements, Full Line award for the first time, says Paul Schulick, founder, formulator and master herbalist for New Chapter. “We’re particularly grateful for this recognition because it comes from the inspiring retailers we’ve been partnering with for over 30 years — people who understand how meaningful it is to build consumer trust with products you love,” says Schulick.
Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation, Sugar Land, TX, is a double winner this year, sweeping both the Sports Supplement category for its Extreme Edge line, as well as one of our new categories, Heart Health Supplement, for Ubiquinol. Gary Barrows, president of Bluebonnet, says the company feels validated by its awards. “This acknowledgment of our dedication to the values this industry holds so dear is gratifying and exalting and further ingratiates us to our mission in continuing to live up to the high quality standards that our customers and consumers have grown to expect from the Bluebonnet brand,” comments Barrows.
Some more familiar categories are accompanied by familiar faces; for example, GT’s Kombucha, Beverly Hills, CA, took the top spot in our Beverages category for the seventh time this year, while Udi’s, Denver, CO, maker of gluten-free products, is now working on a four-year winning streak in the Sensitive Diets category.
Though most of our categories are focused on keeping people healthy, we know that pets need good nutrition, too! Solid Gold, El Cajon, CA, has won in our Pet Care category for the first time, an accomplishment Michael Stoeckle, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Solid Gold, calls a “huge honor” that “authenticates the mission of Solid Gold to manufacture the finest and highest quality pet food available on the market today.” Stoeckle expresses gratitude for the acknowledgment, which he hopes will spread the message of good pet health “to people who may otherwise not understand the importance of proper nutrition for their pets and the role their diet plays in making their pets’ lives more fulfilling.”
To every retailer who voted this year, thank you! Without your participation, none of this would be possible.
Here are our 2014 Natural Choice Awards winners, hand-picked by you, our readers!
Research and reporting by Katy Widmer
SUPPLEMENTS: FULL LINE
A newcomer to the National Choice Awards, New Chapter supplements were in high demand this year! Top sellers include its Wholemega Fish Oil, which packs 17 whole omegas including 3, 6 and 9 and is made from extra-virgin Wild Alaskan Salmon oil. Shoppers also love New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal, made only with whole foods like organic brown rice and organic kale to provide a complete probiotic multivitamin for mom and baby. Zyflamend Whole Body delivers antioxidants from ginger, turmeric, green tea and rosemary to support the body’s anti-inflammatory and anti-aging processes. New Chapter’s line also includes Men’s and Women’s One Daily, probiotics, mushroom supplements and herbal therapeutics like Bone Strength Care.
90 Technology Dr., Brattleboro, VT 05301, www.newchapter.com
For the second time, Bluebonnet’s Extreme Edge line of Sports Nutrition products takes the top spot in the category. Each product, whether designed to fuel bodybuilders and athletes pre- or post-workout, is free of the 165 substances banned by major sporting authorities, including the NFL, MLB and NCAA, so amateurs and professionals alike can get their necessary nutrients safely. The line also includes CarboLoad, a muscle-replenishing snack with 38 grams of complex carbs per serving for high energy and endurance. Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate, which delivers 26 grams of protein plus BCAAs, comes in three great flavors: Vicious Vanilla, Atomic Chocolate and Striking Strawberry.
12915 S. Dairy Ashford Rd., Sugar Land, TX 77478, www.bluebonnetnutrition.com
SUPPLEMENTS: WEIGHT LOSS
Bio Nutrition, Garcinia Cambogia
One of the most popular weight-loss supplements on the market, retailers have decided that the Garcinia Cambogia from Bio Nutrition is the absolute best seller, giving the company its very first Natural Choice Award. Garcinia Cambogia comes in easy-to-swallow vegetarian capsules and is caffeine free. Garcinia Cambogia may help maintain healthy blood glucose levels and boost the metabolism to support weight management. In addition, it may reduce appetite. One serving of Bio Nutrition Garcinia Cambogia contains 500 mg of the extract as well as calcium and potassium.
64 Alabama Ave., Island Park, NY 11558, www.bionutritioninc.com
SUPPLEMENTS: HEART HEALTH
Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation, Ubiquinol
Credited with bringing one of the first active CoQ10 supplement forms to the market, Bluebonnet is proud of its Ubiquinol supplements. The levels of this antioxidant in the body can be repressed by a variety of conditions such as normal aging, oxidative stress and even certain medications. In addition, the body has trouble converting the inactive form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) to the active form, Ubiquinol; Bluebonnet’s active Ubiquinol is readily available to the body. As part of its core mission to remove as many allergens as possible from its products, Bluebonnet replaced the soybean oil base with a non-GMO sunflower lecithin base, all encapsulated in vegetarian softgels. Ubiquinol is available in four potencies ranging from 25 mg to 200 mg.
12915 S. Dairy Ashford Rd., Sugar Land, TX 77478, www.bluebonnetnutrition.com
SUPPLEMENTS: BONE/JOINT HEALTH
EuroPharma, Terry Naturally Curamin
Curamin, a natural pain reliever of the Terry Naturally brand from EuroPharma, is stepping up to the winner’s stand for the third time in our Natural Choice Awards! The formula features four key ingredients that target and eliminate pain, which are BCM-95 Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory that, according to the company, has up to 10 times more absorption than regular curcumin; BosPure Boswellia for inflammation support; the amino acid DLPA to preserve the brain’s natural pain relievers like endorphins; and nattokinase, an enzyme that supports healthy microcirculation and fights muscle pain.
955 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311, www.europharmausa.com
SUPPLEMENTS: IMMUNE HEALTH
Source Naturals, Wellness Formula Tab
Our first winner in the new Immune Health Supplement category, Wellness Formula Tab from Source Naturals has been supporting customers’ immune systems for over 30 years. According to the company, Wellness Formula Tab was the first supplement to include a combination of vitamins, herbs and nutraceuticals for advanced immune support. These powerful ingredients include ginger root, cayenne fruit and olive leaf extract, as well as vitamins A, C and D-3, to provide comprehensive immune support through antioxidant defense, stress response and respiratory support.
23 Janis Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066, www.sourcenaturals.com
SUPPLEMENTS: DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Enzymedica, Digest Gold
When lifestyle and environmental challenges cause enzyme deficiency and digestive distress, Digest Gold from Enzymedica is retailers’ best seller for relief! Digest Gold’s Thera-Blend technology provides enzymes like amylase and cellulase to break down fats, carbohydrates, proteins and fiber, promoting optimal digestion. In addition, Digest Gold now includes ATPro, a blend of nutrients, like CoQ10 and magnesium citrate, that provide ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to the body and enhance its production. ATPro promotes nutrient absorption, regulates gastric acid and decreases the energy demand of the digestive process.
771 Commerce Dr., Venice, FL 34292, www.enzymedica.com
Nature’s Way, Full Line
Nature’s Way boasts a full line of 200 award-winning herbal supplements, from acai to yucca. Among their many uses, some herbs can be used for digestion (like peppermint leaf and ginger root), immune support (Echinacea, goldseal herbs) or mood support (St. John’s Wart). In addition to herbal supplements, Nature’s Way, which has won in this category five times previously, also provides vitamins, minerals, homeopathic remedies and specialty products, such as Bee Pollen blend. Nature’s Way natural products have been supporting all phases and areas of life for over 40 years.
3051 W. Maple Loop Dr., Ste. 125, Lehi, UT 84043, www.naturesway.com
Nordic Naturals, Nordic Berries
Nordic Naturals has its first win in the Children’s Supplement category for its chewy children’s multivitamins, Nordic Berries. Appropriate for children ages two and up, each serving of Nordic Berries contains 100% Daily Values of vitamins A, C, D3, E, B6 and B12, as well as healthy levels of zinc, magnesium and folic acid! These kid-friendly chewables are flavored with the sweet-and-sour citrus taste of Nordic cloudberries, so it’s easy to get growing kids to take the vitamins they need. Nordic Berries have no artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives.
111 Jennings Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076, www.nordicnaturals.com
Bob’s Red Mill, Full Line
Featuring an extensive line of organic flours, grains, meals and mixes, Bob’s Red Mill has been dedicated to wholesome natural foods for nearly 40 years. The company’s stone-ground flours and meals include Organic Brown Rice Flour, Organic Corn Flour, Organic Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal and Organic Garbanzo Bean Flour, which adds protein and fiber to baked goods. According to Bob Moore, founder of Bob’s Red Mill, stone-grinding keeps “all of the nutrition of the whole grain intact,” enhancing the quality of the product. Other organic products include ancient grains like kamut, quinoa and farro, as well as pancake and waffle mixes made from Organic Buckwheat, Organic Whole Wheat or a 7 Grain flour blend.
13521 S.E. Pheasant Ct., Milwaukie, OR 97222, www.bobsredmill.com
FOOD: NUTRITION BAR
Quest Nutrition, Bars
Quest Nutrition, a relatively new company in the natural products market, was the hands-down winner in the Nutrition Bar category. These no-sugar, high-protein bars are made with real ingredients like whey protein, nut butters and natural sweeteners such as lo han guo. The bars come in a variety of flavors including Apple Pie, Banana Nut Muffin and Double Chocolate Chunk. Quest Nutrition also makes junk-free Peanut Butter Cups with 20 grams of protein to satisfy cravings. According to Tom Bilyeu, President of Quest Nutrition, the company’s goal is to end obesity by revolutionizing the way people eat and by “making healthy eating fun.” The firm’s next step? “We’re going to be launching products that establish us as a food company rather than just a protein bar company,” says Bilyeu.
4712 Admiralty Way, Ste. 670, Marina Del Ray, CA 90202, www.questproteinbar.com
FOOD: SENSITIVE DIETS
Udi’s Healthy Foods, Full line
A four-time winner in the Sensitive Diets category, Udi’s makes delicious gluten-free products, like muffins and bagels, that make customers keep coming back for more! The breads, which come in white, whole-grain, cinnamon raisin or ancient grains, are free of gluten, soy and dairy. Udi’s also provides delicious gluten-free treats like pizza crusts, cookies, brownies and granola bars in flavors like Cranberry Almond with Omega-3 and Chocolate Chip with antioxidants, zinc and vitamin E. According to Udi’s, “When it comes to substitutions, we make improvements, not sacrifices.”
1600 Pearl Street, Ste. 300, Boulder, CO 80302
Follow Your Heart, Vegenaise
For the third time, Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise has won in the Vegan Food category. The firm’s egg-free Vegenaise is made with high-quality non-GMO oils, like grapeseed oil and safflower oil, for a creamy texture without saturated fat. Vegenaise comes in five varieties: Original, Reduced Fat, Organic (made entirely with USDA Certified Organic ingredients), Grapeseed Oil and Soy-Free, which contains high levels of antioxidants. Vegenaise is low in sodium, cholesterol-free, gluten-free and made without preservatives.
P.O. Box 9400, Canoga Park, CA 91309, www.followyourheart.com
Millennium Products, GT’s Kombucha
With seven total wins, GT’s Kombucha has been topping the shopping lists of natural shoppers since 1995. These USDA-certified organic, raw, live drinks contain probiotics, antioxidants and enzymes intended to “nourish your body from the inside out.” GT’s Kombuchas come in four varieties: Enlightened Kombucha, Enlightened Synergy, Classic Kombucha and Classic Synergy. Flavors include Citrus, Gingerade, Third Eye Chai, Guava Goddess and Strawberry Serenity.
P.O. Box 2352, Beverly Hills, CA 90213, www.synergydrinks.com
HABA: SKIN CARE
derma e, full line
derma e’s full line of skin care products subscribe to the antioxidant theory of aging; they are designed to include active levels of antioxidants such as astaxanthin and vitamin E. In addition, Therapeutic Topicals address skin conditions like age spots and scars with vitamins and botanicals. Products include Very Clear Acne Scrub, Soothing Cleanser and Evenly Radiant Brightening Day Crème. All of derma e’s products are cruelty-free, 100% vegan and free of GMOs, parabens, phthalates and artificial colors.
4485 Runway St., Simi Valley, CA 93063, www.dermae.com
HABA: HAIR CARE
Giovanni Cosmetics, Shampoos and Conditioners
Giovanni Cosmetics has recently introduced a new collection to its award-winning line of shampoos and conditioners! 2chic Avocado and Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Collection, featuring shampoo, conditioner, leave-in spray, anti-frizz serum and more, has an intensely nourishing formula to rehydrate dry hair and give it life! Its avocado oil contains fatty acids to restore moisture, as well as vitamins A, C, B6 and E for flexibility. The olive oil penetrates deep into the hair follicle to condition and hydrate from within, and improves elasticity and strength to prevent split ends. All of Giovanni’s products reflect the “Rule of Balance”: Make each product as pure and natural as possible without sacrificing exceptional product performance.
P.O. Box 6990, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, www.giovannicosmetics.com
HABA: PERSONAL CARE
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Soaps
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps liquid and bar soaps, all certified organic, have won in the Personal Care category for the second time. All of Dr. Bronner’s soaps are eco-friendly, completely biodegradable, vegetable-based and certified Fair Trade, as the company advocates for “the deeper mission of the organic and fair trade movements.” Made with organic oils from coconut, olive, hemp and jojoba, these soaps come in eight fragrances, including Almond, Citrus Orange, Lavender, Rose and Peppermint. Those with sensitive skin, including babies, can appreciate the gentleness of fragrance-free Unscented Baby-Mild soaps. No synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives are used.
1335 Park Center Dr., Vista, CA 92081, www.drbronner.com
Solid Gold, Dog Food
Solid Gold’s healthy pet products are all-natural, holistic, contain no chemical preservatives and are available for all life-stages and pet diets. The Dry Food line includes a Grain and Gluten-free mix made with real foods like chicken, peas and potatoes. Other proteins in the line include bison, lamb and even fish! Solid Gold also offers 12 varieties of canned pet food, all-natural jerky and cookie treats, as well as supplements like D-Zyme powder for optimum digestion and their number one selling supplement, SeaMeal, which delivers carefully-selected vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids for overall pet health.
1331 N. Cuyamaca St., Ste. 1, El Cajon, CA 92020, www.solidgoldhealth.com
SUPPLEMENTS, FULL LINE: Garden of Life
SUPPLEMENTS, SPORTS NUTRITION: Vega, Sport
SUPPLEMENTS, WEIGHT LOSS: Garden of Life, RAW Fit
SUPPLEMENTS, HEART HEALTH: New Chapter, Wholemega Fish Oil
SUPPLEMENTS, BONE/JOINT HEALTH: New Chapter, Bone Strength
SUPPLEMENTS, IMMUNE HEALTH:
SUPPLEMENTS, DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Garden of Life, Probiotics
SUPPLEMENTS, HERBS: Gaia, Full Line
SUPPLEMENTS, CHILDREN’S: Bluebonnet Nutrition, Animalz Line
FOOD, ORGANIC: Bragg, Apple Cider Vinegar
FOOD, VEGAN: Amy’s, Full Line; Daiya, Cheese Spreads; Plant Fusion, Phood
FOOD, SENSITIVE DIETS: Pamela’s, Full Line
FOOD, NUTRITION BAR: KIND,
FOOD, BEVERAGE: Zevia, Full Line
HABA, SKINCARE: Acure, Full Line
HABA, HAIRCARE: Desert Essence, Shampoos; Nature’s Gate, Shampoos
HABA, PERSONAL CARE: Emerita, Intimacy Products
PET CARE: Ark Naturals, Joint Rescue Chews
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2014