This year makes it a (gluten-free) baker’s dozen as we honor our winners in the 13th annual Natural Choice Awards. Natural products in 18 categories were voted on by our readers, and we’ve come away with a truly impressive group of winners and runners up, including several multiple-time Natural Choice Award winners. There are some newcomers to the party as well.

ancient grains

Ancient grains have achieved strong recognition from mainstream and natural shoppers alike. Here’s what you need to know about some of the hottest grains on the market.

dry mouth lozengesNew from Hyalogic is Hyaluronic Acid Dry Mouth HylaMints. ­­­­­­­HylaMints come in a sweet mint flavor to freshen breath, and the hyaluronic acid helps add moisture in the mouth. Other ingredients—orange pectin, slippery elm, cranberry extract and xylitol—further support oral health, healthy salivation and moisture balance naturally.

Zing Domino FoodsThe Zing Baking Blend from Domino Foods, Inc. is made with a stevia and pure cane sugar blend and has only five calories per serving. The sweetener is packaged in an easy-pour canister for quick measuring. The company says it will “delight bakers with its exceptional performance, baking and browning just like sugar and with pure sweet taste.”

Xlear Inc.’s new Lite&Sweet has the sweet taste of sugar without the calories. This natural sweetener is made from a blend of 100% pure erythritol and xylitol. Xylitol has been shown to support oral and upper respiratory health. The product contains zero grams of net carbs and only three calories per teaspoon. The company says Lite&Sweet can be used as a sugar replacement in virtually any recipe.

News from industry food companies.

Seattle, WA—Consumers of organic produce are exposed to less organophosphate pesticide (OP) than those who eat conventional produce, according to a new study out of the University of Washington. Previous studies have relied on urinary biomarkers to determine OP exposure, but this study also looked at dietary intake in its analysis.

People will always crave carbohydrates of all shapes and sizes. But the cookies, crackers, breads and baking mixes that lead the market, especially in the natural and specialty channels, are offering a little something extra. Let’s find out what makes certain baked goods more appealing to the foodies of today, and how retailers can make use of this knowledge.

What do more than half of your shoppers have in common with each other? Pets! About 62% of U.S. households own at least one pet, and 47% percent have at least one dog, according to The Humane Society. Incorporating some pet care items into your store will likely make your loyal pack see your business as a one-stop shop for the entire family—and yes, that includes the furbabies!