Washington, D.C.—For the first time, annual consumer purchases of organic products in the United States have topped $30 billion. At $31.5 billion, $29.22 billion of which went to organic foods and beverages with organic non-foods at $2.2 billion, the sector grew 9.5% in 2011 over the previous year.

The concept of a commercial product with a net environmental impact of zero, at least in terms of its carbon footprint, is an enticing possibility for eco-conscious businesses and consumers. Now, products can officially obtain this “carbon-free” status, and step out in style with a certification and seal program, courtesy of a collaboration between NSF International and the Carbonfund.org Foundation.

Bridgewater, NJ—While many consumers may not equate starches with glycemic health, it’s important to understand that there are different types of starches and one branded form may actually help insulin sensitivity. 

A new report published in the Journal of Food Science casts doubt on whether some common food ingredients are pure and of a high quality.  

Berkeley, CA—Maker of organic macaroni and cheese and other organic comfort foods, Annie’s, Inc., based here, has had a successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Stock prices climbed 89% on its first day of trading to nearly $40/share, raising $95 million for the company.

In the fall of 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was petitioned by high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) manufacturers for the allowance to change the name from HFCS to corn sugar. Now, a cohort of consumer groups is urging FDA to reject this pending request.

New York, NY—A branded L-alanyl-L-glutamine ingredient (Sustamine from Kyowa Hakko, based here) improved performance and reaction time in 10 college basketball players.

Berkeley, CA—Maker of organic macaroni and cheese and other organic comfort foods, Annie’s, Inc., based here, has had a successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Stock prices climbed 89% on its first day of trading to nearly $40/share, raising $95 million for the company.

Chicago, IL—According to recent Mintel research, more than half of consumers are reporting that it is more important to buy local produce than organic. Mintel’s Global New Products Database has data showing products with a natural/organic claim have declined 58% between 2008–2011. Vegetable products with the same claim are doing even worse, dropping by 77% during the same time period.