In today’s economic climate, products come and go, and not all have the appeal and effectiveness to inspire consumers to open their wallets time and time again. Luckily, industry has several stand-out products that continue to be best sellers even in the toughest of times. Hence, we give you WholeFoods Magazine’s seventh annual Natural Choice Awards. Winners were selected based on anonymous votes cast from retailer ballots, who gave us the names of their best sellers in 15 product categories. Our editors tabulated the results and any ties were broken by popularity in our What’s Selling column. Congratulations to all our 2010 winners.
In addition to the usual categories, WholeFoods is pleased to announce several new ones, which include: children’s supplements, foods for sensitive diets, pet products and vegan foods (replacing our old soy foods category). We feel these categories have grown in popularity to the point that we wanted to select winners in these unique areas, too.
Several of this year’s winners are especially remarkable because they have won for consecutive years. For instance, Millennium Products has won for the fourth year with its G.T.’s Kombucha, a beverage that has more than 17 flavors. Garden of Life also received the weight loss award last year and NOW Foods’ full line has won for the third consecutive year. Congratulations also go out to our runners up, who also deserve a round of applause (see page 24).
We wish to thank the many retailers across the nation for your participation, for without your help, the Natural Choice Awards would not have been possible. And, we want to extend special heartfelt congratulations to Greg and Kendra Ferrall of St. Marys Nutritional Foods in St. Marys, OH, who were randomly selected from all participating stores to win a $50 cash prize.
Now, without any further ado, we give you the 2010 Natural Choice Award winners.
Research by Kimberly Williams
SUPPLEMENTS: FULL LINE
The NOW Foods’ mission is to provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives. Still family owned in its 42nd year, NOW is an award-winning and highly respected manufacturer of vitamins, minerals, herbs, personal care products, dietary supplements and natural foods, offering over 1,500 products with many that are exclusively branded and trademarked. NOW’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has been GMP certified by the Natural Products Association since 2000. The company’s impressive in-house labs test for ingredient identity, microbiological activity and heavy metals. And, NOW is the top-selling supplement product line in the natural channel according to SPINs data (week ending December 26, 2009).
395 S. Glen Ellyn Rd., Bloomingdale, IL 60108, www.nowfoods.com
SUPPLEMENTS: SPORTS NUTRITION
NOW Foods, Whey Protein
NOW Whey Protein is a blend of three high-quality whey protein concentrates and isolates that are microfiltered, ion-exchanged and enzymatically hydrolyzed (partially predigested). This blend is designed to maximize amino acid absorption and biological value (BV). L-glutamine has been added to protect muscle tissue from breaking down under stressful, vigorous physical activity. Available in vanilla, strawberry and Dutch chocolate flavors, the ingredients in NOW’s Whey Protein products are all natural, and contain no aspartame, sucralose or acesulfame-K.
395 S. Glen Ellyn Rd., Bloomingdale, IL 60108, www.nowfoods.com
SUPPLEMENTS: WEIGHT LOSS
Garden of Life, FücoTHIN
Garden of Life’s FücoTHIN is a natural, whole food-based, thermogenic supplement containing fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil. Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in various types of edible seaweed and marine vegetables. And, it supports metabolism without stimulating the central nervous system. Human studies show that the metabolic rate was notably higher with this product than with diet alone, according to Garden of Life. And, it can be beneficial to those seeking to manage body fat and support a healthy metabolic rate, while following a balanced diet and regular exercise program, adds the firm.
5500 North Village Blvd., Ste. 202, W. Palm Beach, FL 33407, www.fucothin.com
Gaia Herbs, Black Elderberry Syrup
Gaia Herbs’ Black Elderberry Syrup is made from organic European black elderberries with organic acerola added for a natural boost of vitamin C. This formula is very concentrated, allowing lower daily doses than traditional elderberry syrups. European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been highly praised in Europe for its health-promoting properties. It is used to address seasonal immune challenges and helps support the immune system. The benefits of this herb on the immune system were first studied by a virologist who showed that elderberry could reduce virus cell replication. This syrup is appropriate for adults and children alike, is 100% natural, alcohol free and has a great taste, says Gaia Herbs.
101 Gaia Herbs Dr., Brevard, NC 28712, www.gaiaherbs.com
SUPPLEMENTS: SPECIALTY SUPPLEMENTS
Barlean’s Organic Oils, Full Line
Barlean’s has won in the specialty suppplement for its full line, which includes flax and fish oils. According to the company, Barlean’s Flax Oil is made from high-quality ingredients including 100% certified organic North American seeds. The process for making this oil includes using a proprietary cold-pressing method. Every drop is unrefined and unfiltered from a handcrafted press. Barlean’s Fish Oil is ultra-purified and is guaranteed to be fresh because of its five-layer oxidation protection system, says the company. The very best analytical testing methods (AOAC, AOCS and WHO) are regularly used to certify that freshness, purity and supplement potency are maintained.
4936 Lake Terrell Rd., Ferndale, WA 98248, www.barleans.com
Nature’s Plus, Animal Parade
Animal Parade from Nature’s Plus is a pure, natural nutritional formula that promotes healthy development through each life stage. Children grow up fast and Animal Parade is with them every step of the way, says the company. The product helps provide the best of both worlds, delivering quality nutrition that parents can trust, along with a variety of flavors, textures and fun varieties that kids crave. With Nature’s Plus Animal Parade formulas, children build a foundation of wellness for young adulthood and far beyond, and they also get the specialized nutrition that they need, says the company.
548 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747, www.naturesplus.com
Bragg Live Food Products, Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is made from the finest organically grown apples. Says the firm, it is full of “zesty natural goodness” and contains the “mother” of vinegar, which occurs naturally as connected strand-like chains of protein enzyme molecules. This vinegar is a healthy addition to salads, veggies and many other foods. And, it also is used as the key ingredient in Bragg’s newest line of pre-mixed all-natural drinks. From a health standpoint, many consumers have found that it helps control weight, is an effective means of helping control blood glucose and insulin levels (lowering the glycemic index of foods), is rich in enzymes and can help maintain healthy skin.
Box 7, Santa Barbara, CA 93102, www.bragg.com
Amy’s Kitchen, Inc., Burritos
Amy’s Kitchen’s line of burritos includes Amy’s Bean and Rice Burrito, Amy’s Black Bean and Vegetable Burrito, and Amy’s Breakfast Burrito. The bean and rice burrito is made from an organic flour tortilla and is wrapped around organic pinto beans, rice and vegetables in a mild Mexican sauce. It contains only six grams of fat and has 10 grams of hunger-satisfying protein. Amy’s Black Bean and Vegetable Burrito is also an organic flour tortilla, but is wrapped around organic black beans instead of pinto. This spicy burrito contains 290 calories and five grams of fiber. And, Amy’s Breakfast Burrito is made from organic potatoes, tofu, black beans, vegetables and salsa. Says the firm, “This burrito is a great way to start the day with only 250 calories and nine grams of protein.”
P.O. Box 449, Petaluma, CA 94953, www.amys.com
FOODS: NUTRITION BAR
Nature’s Plus, Ultra Energy Açaí Bar
Nature’s Plus Ultra Energy Açaí Bar features 1,000 mg of antioxidant-rich standardized açaí berry extract and whole fruit concentrate in every bar. According to the company, the bar tantalizes your senses with the unique flavor of açaí berry, sumptuous chocolate and the crispy crunch of Tri-Part Protein and micro-filtered whey protein. Its nutritional goodness is further enhanced with the synergistic phytonutrients of 135 whole foods. It provides standardized 10% phenolic, and has a refreshing chocolate berry flavor. It also contains the metabolic and weight management activity that have made açaí famous around the world and the take-along appeal that only a delicious, nutritious bar can offer.
548 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747, www.naturesplus.com
FOODS: SENSITIVE DIETS
Kinnikinnick Foods, Full Line
Kinnikinnick Foods is family owned and operated, and takes pride in producing great-tasting and safe bakery products for those who want to avoid the top food allergens. All of Kinnikinnick’s products are gluten, wheat, nut and peanut free, with many products being dairy and casein free. This firm holds the title of being North America’s largest gluten-free and nut-free bakery. It offers an extensive product line that includes breads, bagels, buns, muffins, donuts, pizza crusts, waffles and mixes. Many new products have been introduced by the company, including Donuts, KinniTOOS Sandwich Crème Cookies, S’moreables Graham Style Crackers and its latest addition, Panko Style Bread Crumbs.
10940-120 St., Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 3P7, Canada, www.kinnikinnick.com
Millennium Products, Inc., GT’s Kombucha
G.T. Dave started bottling his organic raw Kombucha in 1995 after his mother’s success drinking it during her battle with breast cancer. Inspired by her positive results, he became determined to share this healing elixir. GT began delivering his hand-crafted Kombucha to health food stores in the Los Angeles area. Today, GT’s Kombucha is nationally distributed in over 17 flavors under two distinct brands: GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha and Synergy Organic & Raw. Each bottle delivers the same authentic quality and home-made freshness that has made GT’s Kombucha a trusted brand in the health food community. His company remains committed to expanding gradually and organically, while never sacrificing quality for the sake of profit.
P.O. Box 2352, Beverly Hills, CA 90213, www.gtskombucha.com
HBC: SKIN CARE
Weleda, Skin Food
Dry, rough skin gets indulgent moisture with this intensively nourishing, deeply hydrating cream. The unique blend of ultra-rich whole-body cream restores and protects the skin. The firm says stubborn dryness on elbows, hands and feet are moisturized and conditioned with the essential fatty acids and vitamin E found in organic sunflower seed oil. Other ingredients include organic pansy (known for its mild antiseptic properties that calm dry irritation), rosemary leaf extract (mild antiseptic properties), and biodynamic and organic calendula flower extract (anti-inflammatory properties). The end result is deeply moisturized and protected skin that looks soft and supple with a healthy glow.
1 Closter Rd., Palisades, NY 10964, www.usa.weleda.com
HBC: HAIR CARE
Nature’s Gate, Herbal Daily Shampoo
Nature’s Gate Herbal Daily Shampoo was created more than 30 years ago. Herbal Daily Shampoo remains one of the firm’s most widely used products. Containing a perfect blend of herbs and botanicals, this product gently and naturally cleanses hair without stripping it of its essential nutrients or weighing it down. Ingredients such as sage, lavender, yarrow, rosemary and thyme work together to leave hair soft and more manageable. And, nettle, chamomile and wild cherry bark soothe and revitalize follicles. This shampoo is free of parabens and phthalates, is gentle enough for everyday use and works well on all hair types. Each Nature’s Gate product is free of animal by-products, is not tested on animals and is made from recyclable packaging.
9200 Mason Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311, www.natures-gate.com
HBC: PERSONAL CARE
Tom’s of Maine, Toothpaste
Tom’s of Maine continues as a leader in natural personal care with a longstanding passion for responsible and sustainable business solutions. The company’s toothpaste line caters to those with sensitive teeth, offers whole care and is SLS-Free. In addition, the American Dental Association-accepted toothpastes help prevent cavities, whiten teeth, prevent plaque, address sensitive teeth issues and freshen breath. Toothpaste flavors are available in spearmint, peppermint, fennel, cinnamon clove, strawberry, orange-mango, cinnamint and more. For 40 years, the company has donated 10% of its profits to charity while also high sustainability standards.
302 Lafayette Ctr., Kennebunk, ME 04043, www.tomsofmaine.com
PetGuard, Dog and Cat Food
The PetGuard philosophy embodies a commitment to pets and their owners, providing only natural alternatives for a healthier environment and lifestyle. The company’s complete line of natural products offers concerned pet guardians the opportunity to give their pets the same healthy benefits that they seek for themselves. PetGuard offers all-natural products as well as those that are USDA Certified Organic. Sharon Sherman, the company’s founder, was inspired to launch one of the first all-natural pet food companies having grown up in a household that cooked all of its pets food freshly every day. The PetGuard line includes all-natural, high-quality food, treats, supplements and grooming products for dogs and cats.
1515 CR 315, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043, www.petguard.com
|Kudos to the Runners Up|
Supplements, Full Line: Jarrow Formulas
Supplements, Sports Nutrition: BSN, NoExplode
Supplements, Weight Loss: Natural Factors, Slim Styles PGX
Supplements, Herbs: Nature’s Way, Full Herbal Line
Supplements, Specialty: Bluebonnet Nutrition Corp., All Specialty Supplements
Supplements, Children: Nordic Naturals, Nordic Berries
Foods, Organic: Eden Foods, Canned Beans
Foods, Vegan: Sunshine Burger Foods
Foods, Nutrition Bar: Greens Plus, All Nutrition Bars
Foods, Sensitive Diets: Tinkyada, Full Line; Glutino, Full Line
Foods, Beverages: Reed’s, Inc., Ginger Brew
HBC, Skin Care: derma e, Creams and Lotions
HBC, Hair Care: Mill Creek, Biotin Shampoo
HBC, Personal Care: Emerita, Lubricant
Pet Products: Nordic Naturals, Pet Cod Liver Oil
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2010