The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new requirement for certifying agencies under the National Organic Program (NOP). Agencies must now annually test for non-organic residue in samples from at least 5% of the organic farms and processors they certify. The requirement went into effect on January 1, 2013.

Ithaca, NY—Learning that a product is certified organic may leave many consumers feeling a bit conflicted. New research, conducted by researchers from Cornell University and University of Michigan and published in the journal Appetite, shows that some groups of consumers acknowledge the “good” that organics provide while simultaneously holding a bias against them when it comes to taste and other qualities.

The financial figures are getting more and more impressive. Private label food and beverage sales surpassed $98 billion in the United States in 2011, according to Packaged Facts (1). That accounts for 17.6% of total food and beverage sales.

Without question, preferences in the dessert category follow  the flavor trends and movements taking place in the food industry at large. Savory, for some, is the new sweet, while others look to get creative by cooking up some sweet concoctions for themselves.

While some retail sectors are making the best of stagnant or declining sales, the natural/organic industry is a standout. Natural and organic products retailers hold a unique place in the lives of consumers. Even if shoppers have less financial security than they did in years past, there’s no lack of enthusiasm and loyalty when it comes to the natural and organic products they depend on to lead healthy lives.

Marley Coffee now offers Marley Coffee RealCup, compatible cartridges for use in most models of the Keurig-brand K-Cup brewing system. Also available are whole bean and ground coffee, with some varieties being 100% organic coffee. Coffee includes Jamaican Blue Mountain, Lively Up! Espresso, Mystic Morning, and One Love Ethiopia Yirgacheff, among others.

InBalance Health offers InBar “healthy and delicious snack bars to satisfy hunger.” The snack bars are high in protein, diabetic friendly and high fiber with no added sugar. They are made for people with weight-loss or glucose-management goals. But anyone can indulge in the chocolate fudge, strawberry banana, chocolate mint and chocolate cherry bars.

Galaxy Nutritional Foods is now offering strawberry-flavored vegan cream cheese. The all-natural vegan cream cheese has a rich and creamy texture. With only 3 grams of sugar, says the company, while being cholesterol free, gluten free, preservative free and kosher.