What distinguishes a natural products store from all other retailers? More than anything else, I believe we are aligned by a shared ingredient standard; we endeavor to offer only high-quality, clean ingredients. As a competitive difference in the marketplace, this standard, above all else, distinguishes “natural” stores from all other stores.

Acquisitions, mergers, awards, charity work, certifications, company news and more.

Promotions, new hires, retirements and more.

What did retailers from across the country tell us was hot to close out 2013? Here is our breakdown of national and regional sales trends from October through December, as identified from our monthly What’s Selling column.

Haddonfield, NJ—Reviva Labs, known for its innovative skincare products, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Chicago, IL—A whopping 65% of consumers who have tried gluten-free foods said they did so in part because they thought they were healthier, according to new research from Mintel. Perhaps more interesting are the 27% of consumers who responded that they eat gluten free as part of their efforts to lose weight.

London—Although about 70% of the work done in agriculture is performed by women, their contributions often go unrecognized and underpaid, according to a new report collaborated on by the ethical trade group Twin and the Fairtrade Foundation, both based here. Empowering Women Farmers in Agricultural Value Chains details the glass ceiling women farmers face in the food industry, and what can be done to improve their status.

Kailua-Kona, HI— Synthetic astaxanthin, an illegal and untested antioxidant carotenoid supplement ingredient, may have entered into the U.S. market to be sold as natural astaxanthin.

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that partially hydrogenated oils, which are the primary source of trans fat in food, are not "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). It has opened a 60-day public comment period on this ruling, which if finalized would require food manufacturers to reformulate any products currently containing trans fat.