Strong Attendance at Expo West 2010

According to show organizers, some 56,000 industry members attended this year’s Natural Products Expo West/SupplyExpo, held in Anaheim, CA. Overall, the mood was enthusiastic, though it was clear that the recent regulatory events were a chief concern of many companies. Nonetheless, Expo West offered many educational lessons and was the launch pad for several new products and company initiatives.

Lessons from Sessions
A standardized organic seal for personal care products can help consumers and manufacturers, was the take-home message from “Organic Personal Care.” David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps said that industry is like the “wild west” of organic misbranding and labeling. Meanwhile, Jaclyn Bowen, of Quality Assurance International (QAI) equated the merging of opinions about HBC standards to “trying to herd cats” in its level of difficulty.

To address this issue, NSF International and A National Standards Institute (ANSI) have created an American standard (NSF/ANSI 305). The standard contains provisions such as a 70% organic minimum, a necessary certified organic supply chain and an allowance for front label “Contains Organic” claims. Salt and water are “neutral.” NaTrue, an international group of natural and organic cosmetics manufacturers that aims to safeguard the highest possible standards for natural cosmetics and their ingredients, will perform a gap analysis of the QAI NSF/ANSI 305 certification program.

In “Food System in Flux,” panelist Debra Tropp for the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, stated, “Just when you think you know the food system, you’re wrong.” She explained how most major food safety legislation (e.g., S.510) only covers produce, not meat, poultry or pork, leaving a huge gap in food safety, and urged industry members to comment on docket number FDA-2010-N-0085 to make this issue more prominent. Also in this session, Tropp noted that agro-tech giant Monsanto admitted to its first genetically engineered (GE) seed failure in India, implying that the food system cannot be fixed through GE endeavors.

Bill Nye
Bill Nye The Science Guy in “Cleaning With No Chemicals Whatsoever.”

Chemicals aren’t needed to kill bacteria, according to author, inventor, scientist and educator, Bill Nye The Science Guy in “Cleaning With No Chemicals Whatsoever.” Bill showed how, by applying a small charge of electricity to tap water, you can clean dirt and neutralize virus and bacteria without cleaning chemicals. Bill is sponsored by Activeion Cleaning Technologies, whose products clean and sanitize using this technology.

It’s best to address dying with pragmatism, according to featured speaker Jane Brody, a columnist with The New York Times. Proper planning and preparation (which includes having a living will and an appointed healthcare proxy) can alleviate pain for family members. And, it can help make for low-anxiety last days together.

Certain mushrooms can support breast health. At the 10th Annual Mushroom Wisdom Breakfast Seminar, Daniel Sliva, Ph.D., of the Methodist Research Institute, Clarian Health, Inc. and the School of Medicine of Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, taught attendees about a “New Mushroom to Support Breast Health.” Phellinus linteus, or the Meshima mushroom (included in Mushroom Wisdom’s Breast•Mate formula), has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cells.

In “Food, Economy and 350,” keynote speaker Bill McKibben explained that global warming is not a future problem; it’s “breaking over our heads right now.” He focused on 350 parts per million (ppm), the number of CO2 in our atmosphere that scientists claim to be the red line tipping point for the planet to sustain life on Earth. Noting that we’ve now surpassed 350 ppm, McKibben stated that we all have a crucial mission to restore the planet to a healthy balance. He also poignantly clarified through dozens of photos from around the globe that environmentalism is not an initiative supported only by wealthy Americans, but that it is, in fact, an international campaign.

During “The Fuss About Food Safety,” we found out that the FDA only conducts inspections an average of every 10 years—“not a major incentive to worry,” said panelist Caren Wilcox, former executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Christine Bushway, executive director of the OTA, also noted that some key concerns in food safety legislation are: allowing for paper record keeping (no mandate for electronic filing), reducing fees for small producers, protecting small farmers and avoiding duplicative fees and requirements for organic producers. The risks of being a retailer were also elucidated by Denis W. Stearns, J.D., of the Marler Clark Law Firm, who described that retailers (even non-negligent) can be held liable for defective products. In his presentation, he noted, “In 13 states, negligence is required for product retailers; nine states have “pass-through” statutes.”

At a media event sponsored by Nordic Naturals, Adam Ismail of the GOED spoke about how fish oil supplements are safe and the supply is sustainable, thanks in part to a GOED voluntary monograph and other standards. He also noted that the United States and Canada are the only two industrialized countries that don’t officially recommend omegas to its citizens. He felt that if the United States adopted European recommendations of taking 250 mg of DHA/EPA per day, it would save many lives. Stuart Tomc, CNHP, national educator for Nordic Naturals, spoke about some recent advances in omega-3 research such as how fish oil alters gene expression.

In “Make Your Claims Right,” Gary Coody of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Christine Lee of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) answered questions about what companies can and cannot say on labeling, in marketing material and in advertising. One lesson learned was that if finished products makers are relying on claims made by your suppliers, be careful. You must make sure you evaluate their studies, and make sure your use of clinical data is for the same dosage, delivery form and dosage frequency as the product you’re distributing.

Regulatory sessions such as “Breaking Supply Chain Issues” had a great turn out. One hot topic covered by Harry Rice, Ph.D., of UNPA, included GMP inspections. According to Rice, FDA cited companies for failing to verify ingredient identity and for poor record keeping with respect to equipment cleaning, returned product and lab operation. Other topics covered were the potential ramifications of the Dietary Supplement Safety Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act, ingredient supplier qualification and new guidelines for dietary ingredients.

During “Natural Kids and Teens,” Judi Shils, founder and director of Teens Turning Green, noted that “you don’t have to market to teens; you have to work with them.” Also, Marci Clow, senior director of product research for Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems said that critical nutrition for teens and tweens includes calcium (9–18 years old need 1,300 mg/day), good fats (220–330 mg/day), iron (females especially need about 15 mg/day), protein (40–50 g/day) and fiber. For fiber, she suggests the “Age + 5 Rule” (a 14 year old needs about 19 grams of fiber per day). She notes that veganism/vegetarianism and gluten free are growing trends for teens.

In “Helping Your Customers with Healthy Aging,” Marcus Laux, N.D., author and educator, said “our lifespan nearly doubled this past century, but not our healthspan,” noting that 75% of longevity is determined by our choices, while only 25% is inherited. To help your older customers make better choices, Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights, natural products industry consultant and publisher of Natural Insights for Well Being, recommends being careful and sensitive about the language you choose while communicating to these customers on your Web site, in literature and on shelf-talkers.

The time for social networking has arrived. Heather Smith, M.S., founder of Lady Luxe, Inc., explained to a packed crowd “The Secrets of Social Networking.” She made the important point that social networking has become a “consumer expectation,” so get involved, starting with Facebook, Twitter and blogging!

Retailers can be successful on the Web, according Bill Schneider, senior product director from Aisle 7, if they harness the power of “now.” Post content on provocative timely topics, which can be anything from new products to “warm bread ready now” to a guest speaker. Plus, show your personality on social media accounts like Twitter.

Heard on the Show Floor
Krill oil is hot, according to Mark Stover of IdeaSphere inc./Twinlab, because the phospholipid background makes it easier for the body to absorb. Plus, certain natural components of krill oil (like astaxanthin) add extra health benefits while serving as a natural preservative. The company launched an Omega-3 Cardio Krill Oil at the show along with other products.

NSF/ANSI 305: Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients is the first and only U.S. national standard to define organic labeling and marketing requirements for personal care products containing organic ingredients. QAI announced it has certified five companies to the new standard: Weleda, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Naturally Nova Scotia, Amala brand of Primavera and Trademark Cosmetics. Dozens more are beginning the certification process. Also, a formal agreement between QAI and European certifier NaTrue was officially signed at the event.

According to John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, supplements can benefit relationships between men and women. The reason, he told WholeFoods, is because of blood sugar levels. If sugar is low in men, they become “cold and distant.” Women tend to have higher levels, making them seem more emotional. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels interfere with healthy hormones; so, following a healthy diet (complete with nutritional formulas) can help sustain healthy lives and healthy relationships. New at Expo West were two supplements (Revive for men and Calm for women, available through Natural Factors) based on this concept and his new book, Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice.

One might reduce fasting blood glucose levels with an aloe-based supplement, according to Lily of the Desert. The company tested its new Glucaloe in a placebo-controlled trial and found reductions in blood glucose levels by 43% in 90 days.

You can increase the benefits of mushroom supplements by growing them on herbs, says EcoNugenics. The firm grows its organic mushrooms in Northern California and is launching several new mushroom supplements for immune health.

  Bioenergy at Natural Products Expo West. From L to R: Tom VonderBrink (president), Gabe Herrick (sales manager), Raj Khankari (CEO), Katherine Reutter (Olympic medalist), Kathy Lund (vice president of sales and marketing).

Ribose helped short-track speed skater Katherine Reutter medal in the 2010 Olympics.

Reutter, who was sponsored by Bioenergy Life Sciences, showed off her silver and bronze medals at Expo West.

Carlson Laboratories proved that family businesses can survive and thrive as the company celebrated its 45th anniversary with a booth party that included cake and cocktails.

Instead of caffeine, reach for greens when you need a little extra energy, according to Peter Gillham’s Natural Vitality. The company just launched a whole food energy shot with 24 organic fruits and veggies that supports healthy, sustained energy.

NSF is addressing the regulatory issue of ingredient supplier qualification by opening a new office in Shanghai this summer for ingredient testing. And, it is developing a sourcing guide for industry that will indicate which facilities the group has certified so that individual companies won’t need to conduct their own audit as readily.



Gaia Herbs launches traceability program

Barlean’s offered data from a new clinical study indicating its Omega Swirl was 90% more bioavailable than standard fish oil over a five-hour period. The study was conducted by the Centre for Nutritional Studies.

Gaia Herbs taught us that transparency and traceability are of utmost importance in our industry and that new technology makes it possible. The Meet Your Herbs Web site and iPhone app make it easy to trace aspects of a product such as harvesting, extraction and validation—down to individual batch numbers. Keri Marshall, medical director for the company, said, “We have nothing to hide!”

Expo Briefs

 Natural Factors "Ticket to Paradise!" winners were announced at Expo West.

At its booth, Natural Factors announced the winners of its “Ticket to Paradise!” PGX contest. The Grand Prize winners of $2,000 travel vouchers were Dave Hawkins of Mother Earth, Parkersburg, WV, and Bob Perkins of Nature’s Pantry in Independence, MO. First prize winners of $1,000 travel vouchers were Rob Rea of Nature’s Outlet in Salem, VA, and Barb and John Hoffman of Green Acres in Wichita, KS. Second prize winners of $1,000 travel vouchers were Gene and Nancy Clark of Gene’s Health Foods in Owensboro, KY and Shannon Hoffman of Green Acres in Kansas City, MO.

BI Nutraceuticals held a tour of its 150,000-ft2 facility in Long Beach, CA. The BI team talked with visitors about its processes for ingredient identification, quality assurance, sterilization and processing.

BI Nutraceuticals facility.




At the American Botanical Council’s (ABC) 5th Annual Celebration, Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal announced the winners of the 2010 Botanical Excellence Awards:
* The James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award went to Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi and Toni Willis for their book, An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries: A Selection of the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon.
* The Norman Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award went to Rudolf Bauer, Ph.D., head of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and of the Department of Pharmacognosy at the University of Graz in Austria, who has spent many years researching the active compounds, constituents, pharmacology, quality control, standardization and safety of echinacea.
* The Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was given to Bionorica AG, a manufacturer and clinical researcher of herbal remedies, with phytomedicinal products sold in 40 countries. Bionorica has produced more than 450 published chemical, pharmacological, and clinical trials on its line of phytomedicines.
derma e Natural Bodycare gave New Connections Marketing Group, Inc. its 2009 Broker of the Year award, which is

American Botanical Council’s 5th Annual Celebration.

judged on increased sales, effective communication, efficiency, pro-activity and innovation.

Nebraska Cultures hosted an Oscars-themed party to celebrate its probiotics line with live music, cocktails, samples and prizes for guests forecasting the correct Oscar winners.

Wakunaga once again hosted a Japanese buffet dinner at which several speakers spoke about the benefits of Kyolic garlic.

At the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) reception, members gathered to network and reflect upon recent AHPA news such as the honoring of President Michael McGuffin during the March 11 AHPA Annual Member Meeting and Breakfast for his 20+ years of service to the association, and the election of Traditional Medicinal’s Katie Huggins to the position of Chair of the AHPA Board of Trustees. Gaia Herbs received AHPA’s Herbal Industry Leader award.

The Organic Center held a VIP Dinner and Celebration. Speakers talked about the need to support organic farming and research—and to communicate the benefits of organic. Andrew Weill spoke about some recent attacks on organic and indicated that we face the challenge of making organic more available.

The 2010 Best New Ingredient NutrAward went to Cereboost from Naturex for its activity on cognitive performance. The 2010 Best New Finished Product was given to Quality of Life Labs for VitaPQQ, pyrroloquinoline quinine.

Earth Friendly Products offered a tour of its Garden Grove, CA facility, focusing on how the company is reducing its environmental footprint. A walk on the plant’s roof brought guests up close and personal with the firm’s 300 solar panels. These panels convert sunlight into useable electricity, and excess power generated during the summer months passes through power lines to other neighboring buildings. By 2011, the company hopes to get as close to 100% renewable energy in its plants as possible. The company will soon make a living roof, complete with an organic vegetable garden maintained by the staff. Earth Friendly Products also considered the environmental impact of every aspect of the building such as using bamboo flooring, skylights and green furnishing from recycled materials. The tour also included a look at its recycling and packaging area, which included using (and reusing) cardboard cartons and using clear bottles because they are easier for plants to recycle. The company has already cut its trash load by 50% since January.