Retailers casted their votes for the 15th annual WholeFoods Natural Choice Awards, and their voices were heard —now it is time to announce the winners!
Each year, the Natural Choice Awards honors stand out natural products and companies for making a mark as a top seller at retailers — big and small — around the country. Store representatives (confidentially) filled out ballots for all 18 categories including supplements, health and beauty, and food. We then tallied the votes, and broke ties using data from our What’s Selling column.
2017 seems to be the year of the comeback for previous retailers who were in the runner up position in the 2016 Natural Choice Awards, as this year proved to be a winning year for them in those very categories. New Chapter’s Bone Strength Take Care, for example, jumped to the top of the list this year in the Bone/Joint Health category. New Chapter points to the support from and connection with passionate retailers who help consumers on their personal paths to health every day, adding, “As a natural health retailer, you know how meaningful it is to build trust with products that both your customers and you can believe in. New Chapter was founded in 1982 by health-food store owners Paul and Barbi Schulick out of a desire to bring the remarkable value of nature’s botanicals into people’s lives. This includes the New Chapter approach to calcium, delivering whole-food Lithothamnion, fermented vitamin D3, and natto-sourced vitamin K2 in Bone Strength Take Care.“ Same was the case for KIND Snacks, who went from second place to first this year in the Nutrition Bars category for their KIND Bars. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, meanwhile, went from runner up in the Beverages category last year, to winner in the organic food category this year.
Similarly, some 2015 winners came back to reclaim their throne, including: Udi’s Gluten Free Bread in the Sensitive Diets category and GT’s Synergy Kombucha in the Beverages category. 2017 was also the year of firsts, with newer products like Life-flo’s Progesta Care winning in the Personal Care category and Shotz Natural Energy earning the top spot for Sports Nutrition. “We want to thank our natural retailer partners that support our quest to fuel the adventures of all health-conscious trailblazers. We truly appreciate this recognition and look forward to celebrating many more Shotz moments,” said Marie Quintana, president, Shotz Natural Energy, of their first Natural Choice Award win.
There were also some reigning champs who held on to their title from last year, like Nordic Natural’s Omega-3 Pet Line who won for a second year in a row in the Pet Care category. Daiya’s Cheese Shreds meanwhile won again in the Vegan category. Co-founders Greg Blake and Andre Kroecher attribute their continued success to a growth in consumer awareness. “As consumers are becoming more conscious of the foods they eat, they’re exploring the world of plant-based alternatives. At Daiya, we love giving customers what they want — a cheeze that tastes, melts and stretches just like its dairy-based counterpart…we are passionate about making swapworthy plant-based alternatives, so it’s an honor to have one of our favorite products recognized as a best in its class.” Bluebonnet Nutrition also remains the winner in the Full Line category. “We are humbled and honored to receive the 2017 Whole Foods Magazine Natural Choice Award for best supplement brand two years in a row. Our team has worked tirelessly over the past 26 years to deliver a level of quality in the manufacturing of natural dietary supplements that is beyond reproach. We can’t thank our retail partners enough for recognizing the value of our commitment to excellence by not just voting for our full line but by making Bluebonnet their go-to supplement brand. We proudly share this award with them!” said Bob Barrows, Jr., VP sales and marketing.
WholeFoods Magazine would like to thank all the retailers who participated. Your insight is not only appreciated by us, but by the winners as well. And lastly, to make the ballot process a bit more interesting this year, voters were automatically entered into a drawing, with a winning prize of a $100 American Express gift card. Congratulations to Becky Tarditi and Mike Greenblatt, Pangaea Naturals, Manahawkin, NJ!
Now, meet the winners!
For the second year in a row, Bluebonnet Nutrition has won for the full line category. Bluebonnet is a leader in the manufacturing of premium dietary supplements in the natural products industry. Having their own state-of-the-art, kosher-certified, cGMP-compliant facility has allowed them to control their quality from start to finish. They have spared no expense in their quest to be the most trusted, award-winning supplement brand in the market by securing third party certifications (e.g., NSF GMP Registered, NSF Certified for Sport, KOF-K Kosher Certified*, USDA Organic, etc.), as well as instituting more rigorous internal quality measures like the Non-GMO verification program. Bluebonnet has continued to strive for excellence and transparency at every level by supporting the clean and wholesome principles upon which this industry was founded.
12915 Dairy Ashford Rd., Sugar Land, TX 77478, www.bluebonnetnutrition.com
SUPPLEMENTS: SPORTS NUTRITION
Shotz Natural Energy, Full Line
Featured for the first time as a WholeFoods Natural Choice Awards winner, Shotz Natural Energy won the sports nutrition category by a landslide. Shotz delivers innovation to the Energy Shot category attracting health conscious consumers looking for alternatives to energy beverages. The company is committed to their mission of amplifying individual’s passions and lifestyles with products that emphasize efficacy and functionality. Shotz is comprised of vitamin C, B vitamins, natural caffeine from tea and a flavor portfolio derived from natural fruit juices. Flavors include Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Berry, Pomegranate, and Acai. The product is also antioxidant rich and contains no preservatives.
4548 McEwen Rd., Dallas, TX 75244, www.shotznatural.com
SUPPLEMENTS: BONE/JOINT HEALTH
New Chapter, Bone Strength Take Care
Bone Strength Take Care from New Chapter supports bone, joint, and heart health. It’s formulated with clinical-strength plant calcium to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, with fermented vitamin D3 to help the body absorb calcium effectively and support bone density. The whole-food calcium has also been shown to support movement, joint flexibility and joint function. And vitamin D3 supports cardiovascular health, while vitamin K2 directs calcium to bones where you need it, which helps to maintain artery health. These easy-to-swallow slim tablets have slow and steady release for consistent nourishment. Bone Strength Take Care is formulated with wild-crafted plant-sourced calcium from Iceland.
90 Technology Dr., Brattleboro, VT 05301, www.newchapter.com
Bio Nutrition’s Garcinia Cambogia Extract 50% HCA is an easy to swallow vegetarian capsule, which is caffeine free and a top selling Garcinia Cambogia, that may assist with the maintenance of healthy glucose levels, boost metabolism and support weight
3580 Oceanside Rd., Unit 5, Oceanside NY 11572, www.bionutritioninc.com
To support strong veins and arteries, Healthy Arteries (formerly called “Mesoglycan”) features mesoglycan — an easily utilized source of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Clinical studies on mesoglycan show benefits including: support for blood vessel strength, integrity, and flexibility, with bio-identical mesoglycan compounds shown to promote complete circulation support, and also supports healthy blood vessels in the heart, eyes, legs, brain, and throughout the body.
955 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311, www.europharmausa.com
Curcumin C3 Complex, the world’s most clinically studied curcumin brand, is a powerful antioxidant that supports joint and brain health and healthy blood sugar management. BioPerine, meanwhile, is a patented natural black pepper fruit extract that improves the body’s absorption and bioavailability of curcuminoids. America’s Finest Inc. believes science and tradition should be mutually supportive, assuring the efficacy of time-tested solutions for optimal health, and aims to provide the best of both worlds with safe, innovative and beneficial approaches to personal health.
20 Lake Dr., East Windsor, NJ 08520, www.afisupplements.com
SUPPLEMENTS: DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Just Thrive Probiotic
Just Thrive Probiotic, an all-natural 100% spore forming probiotic, is on the cutting edge of the growing probiotic industry. Its specialized bacillus strains make it to the intestines 100% alive where they colonize and produce antioxidants. These strains are normal gut commensal organisms and have the unique ability to “read” the microbial environment — and therefore have the capability to eliminate bad bacteria and create compounds and nutrients to feed our good bacterial organisms. These strains are DNA verified by an independent third party lab. Just Thrive is also a research- based company, involved in several human clinical trials on these strains.
810 Busse Highway, Park Ridge, IL 60068, www.thriveprobiotic.com
EuroPharma, CuraMed Curcumim
CuraMed by EuroPharma’s Terry Naturally, provides superior support for a healthy inflammation response. It contains the only patented curcumin with turmeric essential oil to boost absorption of important curcuminoids and support healthy immune function. With a high antioxidant ORAC value of over 1,500,000, CuraMed protects cells from oxidative stress and free radicals and supports liver, brain, heart, and immune health. CuraMed’s patented curcumin is up to 10 times better absorbed than standard curcumin. It is used extensively in research — with 30 groundbreaking published studies, 11 of which are human clinical trials on mood, brain, immune and heart support.
955 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311, www.europharmausa.com
Nature’s Plus, Animal Parade Full Line
For the sixth time, Animal Parade has won for the children’s supplement category. According to Nature’s Plus, Animal Parade is #1 with kids and parents for a simple reason: It’s a delicious yet complete, all natural multivitamin that delivers the nutritional support growing kids need and that parents demand. Nature’s Plus delivers an exceptional range of Animal Parade products, that provide everything that is needed (high potencies of nutrients, vegetarian, non-GMO, synergistic whole foods, and independently third party certified) and nothing that they don’t want (synthetics, preservatives, chemicals.)
548 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747, www.naturesplus.com
Bragg, Apple Cider Vinegar
Winning the organic food category in the 2015 WholeFoods Natural Choice Awards,
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar takes the top spot this year for the organic food category for a second time. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is made from delicious, healthy, organically grown apples. Processed and bottled in accordance with USDA guidelines, it is Certified Organic by Organic Certifiers and Oregon Tilth. It is also Kosher Certified and Non-GMO Certified. It is full of zesty natural goodness. In 400 B.C., Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, used it for its amazing health qualities. Today, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar adds healthy delicious flavor to salads, veggies, smoothies, even sprinkled on popcorn. Add to water to cleanse and aid in digestion. It even makes an excellent face toner, skin softener in bath, and hair clarifying rinse when mixed with water.
Bragg Live Foods, Inc. Box 7, Santa Barbara, CA 93102, www.braggacv.com
KIND Snacks are made from delicious, high-quality ingredients and are gluten free. KIND Fruit & Nut bars is KIND’s original snack line. These bars are made from whole nuts and fruit and bound with honey. KIND’s Nuts & Spices bars are made from whole nuts and flavored with spices. Each bar has 5 grams of sugar or less, and no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.
P.O. Box 705, Midtown Station, New York, NY 10018, www.kindsnacks.com
For the second year in a row, Daiya’s Cheddar Style Shreds takes home the top spot in the vegan food category. Cheezier than ever, Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds melt and stretch just like dairy-based cheese and are a perfect addition to your favorite recipes, including nachos, queso dip, pizza and more. As with all of Daiya’s offerings, Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds are a delicious plant-based alternative that is dairy-, gluten- and soy-free.
2768 Rupert Street Vancouver, BC V5M 3T7, www.daiyafoods.com
Threes company for these raw drinks with Tangy Raspberry, Tart Lemons and Spicy Ginger flavors. GT Kombucha Drinks have been around for over 20 years, are filled with antioxidants and enzymes, are USDA-certified organic and contain probiotic strains like B.coagulans and S.boulardii. This year makes for GT Kombucha’s ninth win.
P.O. Box 2352, Beverly Hills, CA, 90213, www.synergydrinks.com
FOODS: SENSITIVE DIETS
Udi’s Gluten Free Bread
Gluten free breads, rolls and buns are how it all began at Udi’s. They believe in quality ingredients for delicious gluten free creations and are always mindful of allergies and sensitivities. Udi’s bread is certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization and certified kosher by Scroll K/Vaad Hakashrus of Denver. In addition to bread, the line also produces torilla wraps, pizza, muffins granola, bagels and cookies.
1600 Pearl St., Suite 300, Boulder, CO 80302, www.udisglutenfree.com
MyChelle’s gentle multi-fruit enzyme scrub with conditioning Jojoba beads rapidly exfoliates dull, dead skin cells and deep cleans pores for an even-toned complexion and a more refined skin texture. The scrub is also boosted with powerful antioxidants to protect skin against environmental stressors.
1301 Courtesy Rd., Louisville, CO 80027-1416, www.mychelle.com
HABA: PERSONAL CARE
Life-flo developed Progesta-Care, one of the first natural progesterone creams, as an alternative to synthetic creams. It’s packaged in an airtight, hygienically sealed container that’s easy to use, non-greasy, and formulated for excellent absorption. Each full press of the pump provides approximately 20 mg of natural Progesterone USP. It comes in 4 sizes — 1 oz, 2 oz, 3 oz, and 4 oz. Life-flo gives women what they want and more by offering advanced products designed specifically for women’s needs, helping women improve overall health, vitality, and well-being by providing products that offer optimal balanced solutions.
1400 Kearns Blvd, Park City, UT 84060, www.nutraceutical.com
HABA: HAIR CARE
Giovanni, 2chic Keratin & Argan Oil
Giovanni’s 2chic Keratin & Argan Oil line is charged with a dual smoothing complex of Moroccan argan oil and Brazilian phyto-keratin for ultra-sleek results, no matter what its texture. Moroccan argan oil contains antioxidant power that helps combat damaging free radicals that can speed the aging process while the fatty acids penetrate the cuticle, for increased elasticity and smoothness. Brazilian phyto-keratin meanwhile is a plant protein derived from Brazilian Cocoa (Guarana) that is high in nutrients vital to healthy hair as it penetrates hair to deliver moisture as well as its ability to retain moisture.
P.O. Box 6990 Beverly Hills, CA 90212, www.giovannicosmetics.com
For the second time in a row, Nordic Natural takes the win for the pet products category. Inspired by nature and the traditions of Norway, Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet products provide your pet companions with an exceptionally pure, fresh and effective omega-3 fish oil. As an excellent source of the critical foundational health essentials: omega-3, EPA and DHA, Nordic Naturals pet collection meets the same rigorous standards for our furry friends that we require for the human members of your family. Daily supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids is a proactive way to help support optimal health throughout the life of your dog or cat.
111 Jennings Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076, www.nordicnaturals.com
Natural Choice Awards Runner-Ups
Supplements – Full Line: Nutraceutical
Supplements – Sports Nutrition: Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation, Extreme Edge Pre Workout Formula
Supplements – Weight Loss: Innovavue, Garnicia Cambogia
Specialty Supplements – Heart Health: Nature’s Way, Heart Care
Specialty Supplements – Bone/Joint Health: Solgar, No. 7 Joint Support
Specialty Supplement – Immune Health: Source Naturals, Wellness Formula
Specialty Supplements – Digestive Health: Nature’s Way, Optima Probiotics
Supplements – Herbs: Herb Pharm, Echinacea
Supplement – Children: Nature’s Way, Alive Gummies
Foods – Organic: Bob’s Red Mill, Flour Bread Mix
Foods – Vegan: Gardein, Chicken Teryaki Strips
Foods – Sensitive Diets: Purely Elizabeth, Ancient Grains Granola Cereal
Food – Nutrition Bars: Quest Nutrition
Food – Beverages: Zevia, Cream Soda
Health & Beauty – Skin Care: Aubrey, Full Line
Health & Beauty – Hair Products: Jason, Tea Tree Shampoo
Health & Beauty – Personal Care Products: Dr. Bronner’s, Castille Soaps
Published in WholeFoods Magazine April 2017