2009 Natural Choice Awards

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Thousands of products make it onto the shelves of retail stores, but only a select few repeatedly make the trip out the door to go home with customers again and again. These “choice” supplement, food and personal care products are the shining stars that inspired WholeFoods Magazine to create the Natural Choice Awards. For its sixth consecutive year, WholeFoods asked natural products retailers nationwide to name their top-selling products in 12 various categories. Winners were selected based solely on confidential retailer votes.

Among the winners, several products were even outstanding enough to receive the same award for the second or third year in a row. NOW Foods, Garden of Life, PROBAR and Millennium Products all received repeated awards this year. “This is so great,” said Coral Darby, public relations manager for PROBAR, upon hearing of their win again this year in the Nutrition Bar category. “PROBAR is very pleased to be the recipient of a WholeFoods Natural Choice award for the second consecutive year!”

Also thrilled was GT Dave of Millennium Products in response to GT’s Kombucha winning for the third year in a row in the Beverages category, saying, “We are honored to win the award.”

Virginia DeSimone, sales and marketing manager for derma e Natural Bodycare also responded to the “wonderful news” by exclaiming, “We are very excited!” The company received an award in this category in a previous year and now is a two-time winner.

First time winners were also thrilled to receive their award. Christine Kempe of Giovanni Cosmetics exclaimed, “WOW! This is great to be awarded the Whole Foods Natural Choice Award for our Shampoos and Conditioners.”

Although some did not win, certain products have repeatedly been a best-seller in many regions of the country and deserve a special mention due to their popularity. For example, Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss did not fit into any existing categories but was chosen as a favorite.

It should be noted that without the participation of retailers across the country, the Natural Choice Awards would not be possible. Much appreciation is offered to all who cast a ballot and voted for their best-sellers. In addition, Monica Wilson of B Alive Vitamins, a natural products store located in Fresno, CA was randomly selected from the group of contributing retailers to win a $50 cash prize. Congratulations, Monica, and congratulations to all!
And finally, with much excitement, we present the 2009 Natural Choice Award winners.
—The Editors

NOW FoodsSUPPLEMENTS: FULL LINE
NOW Foods

The NOW Foods mission is to provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives. Still family owned in its 41st 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. NOW chooses only the highest quality ingredients to include in its products, many of these are exclusively branded and trademarked. NOW’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has been GMP certified by NPA since 2000. The company’s in-house labs test for ingredient identity, microbiological activity and heavy metals. An emphasis on manufacturing efficiency allows for reasonable pricing while producing high-quality products. NOW is a top-selling product line in independent health food stores, says the company.
395 S. Glen Ellyn Rd., Bloomingdale, IL, 60108, www.nowfoods.com

NOW Foods, Whey ProteinSUPPLEMENTS: SPORTS NUTRITION
NOW Foods, Whey Protein

According to the company, NOW Whey Protein is a blend of three of the highest quality whey protein concentrates and isolates from around the world: microfiltered, ion-exchanged and enzymatically hydrolyzed (partially predigested). This blend of specially processed whey proteins is designed to maximize amino acid absorption and biological value (BV). Extra l-glutamine has been added because of its important role in protecting 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—no aspartame, no sucralose, no acesulfame-k.
395 S. Glen Ellyn Rd., Bloomingdale, IL, 60108, www.nowfoods.com

Garden Of Life, FücoTHINSUPPLEMENTS: WEIGHT LOSS
Garden Of Life, FücoTHIN

FücoTHIN from Garden Of Life is a natural, whole food-based supplement made with fucoxanthin combined with pomegranate seed oil for a patent-pending formula that is thermogenic. Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in several different types of marine vegetables and edible seaweed. FücoTHIN supports metabolism without stimulating the central nervous system, and in human clinical trials, the metabolic rate with FücoTHIN was significantly higher than with diet alone. FücoTHIN can benefit anyone who is seeking to manage body fat and support a healthy metabolic rate while following a balanced diet and a regular exercise regimen, says Garden Of Life.
5500 N. Village Blvd., Ste. 202, West Palm Beach, FL 33407, www.gardenoflife.com

LonzaSUPPLEMENTS: HERBS
Nature’s Way, Herbal Supplements

In 1969, the birth of Nature’s Way was the start of a renaissance in herbal medicine in America, the firm believes. What began 40 years ago with a desert herb and a family’s quest to heal its gravely ill mother grew into an entire industry of providing natural healthcare choices. Says the company, “Over the years, our commitment to the industry has never wavered, as evidenced by our list of pioneering firsts. Natures Way HerbsWe were the first major U.S. company to be certified as an organic processor, the first supplement producer recognized by our industry for GMPs, and the first to bring major European herbal medicines to market. Today, our expansive range of herbal remedies is supported by more clinical studies than any other brand. For four decades, we’ve earned America’s trust as the leader in natural healthcare. It’s this legacy of trust that inspires us toward a healthier tomorrow.”
1375 Mountain Springs Pkwy., Springville, UT 84663, www.naturesway.com

Nordic Naturals: Ultimate OmegaSUPPLEMENTS: Specialty
Nordic Naturals: Ultimate Omega

Ultimate Omega from Nordic Naturals provides exceptionally high levels of the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, in one serving. Supporting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, this product was formulated to support healthy aging, improved mood and healthy glucose levels. Ultimate Omega is ideal for people wanting more omega-3 fats in fewer soft gels. In just one serving, this high-potency formula meets the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 2-4 grams per day of EPA and DHA for people with elevated triglycerides. Nordic Naturals supports exceptional health by providing some of the purest, freshest, greatest tasting and environmentally conscious EFA supplements available. All fish oil products are in a natural triglyceride form to ensure optimal absorption and utilization. Ultimate Omega is available in natural lemon-flavored soft gels or liquid.
94 Hangar Way, Watsonville, CA 95076, www.nordicnaturals.com

Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Spelt BreadFOODS: ORGANIC
Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Spelt Bread

Whey ProteinRudi’s Organic Spelt Bread has a sweet, nutty flavor sure to please everyone. Spelt, the most used grain in the U.S. until 1910, is regaining popularity on America’s tables as it has higher protein content than modern wheat. Spelt is also loaded with complex carbohydrates and is easier for many to digest than wheat due to lower gluten content, says the firm. And, as with all Rudi’s Organic products, the Spelt Bread is certified organic and certified delicious. Says the company, “At Rudi’s Organic, it’s always been our mission to make nutritious, flavorful, preservative-free baked goods. It all starts with our ingredients: they’re simple, wholesome and organic. And, unlike other breads, we never use high-fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives.”
3300 Walnut St., Unit C, Boulder, CO 80301, www.rudisorganicbakery.com

PROBAR, PROBAR LineFOODS: NUTRITION BARS
PROBAR, PROBAR Line

PROBAR is all about delicious, organic, unprocessed foods. Founder Art Eggertsen set out to design his own nutritious, high-performance meal-replacement bar to fuel his days snowboarding in the mountains of Utah. Art’s creative vision and knowledge of the importance of good, natural foods helped to create the first delicious PROBAR, Art’s Original. Since that first flavor, PROBAR has created a total of 12 distinct and tasty flavors to satisfy every palate. Each bar is made from certified organic whole, raw foods and is 100% vegan. PROBAR guarantees 15 whole food ingredients which serve to satisfy the appetite for hours. To satisfy increasing consumer demand for a variety of PROBAR products, the company will launch this spring FRUITION, a new collection of bold and delicious fruit bars.
4752 W. California Ave., Ste. 1000, Salt Lake City, UT 84104, www.theprobar.com

TofuttiFOODS: soyfoods
Tofutti: All

Since David Mintz created his frozen tofu desert in the 1970s, people have enjoyed Tofutti’s dairy-free ice cream in many varieties such as Cuties, stick novelties and pints. Tofutti also makes dairy-free cheese products including Better Than Cream Cheese, Sour Supreme, and Veggie Cheese Slices. All of Tofutti’s cheese products are also gluten free. Using their cheese products, Tofutti manufactures a dairy-free cheese blintz called Mintzes Blintzes and a dairy-free cheese pizzacalled Pizza Pizzaz.
50 Jackson Dr., Cranford, NJ 07016, www.tofutti.com

Millennium Products, GT’s KombuchaFOODS: BEVERAGES
Millennium Products, GT’s Kombucha

GT’s Kombucha was first bottled in 1995 when the owner, GT Dave, was inspired by how kombucha helped his mother during her battle with breast cancer. He began from his kitchen at home and sold it to the local natural food markets. Today, he is proud to be able to bring consumers the same “home-made” quality. According to the company, “Our Kombucha is a delicate, hand-crafted and cultured health beverage. Our ‘batch to bottle’ production allows us to produce the freshest and most active kombucha available. We never cut corners with our quality, therefore we do not add any additives, sugars or refined ingredients to our products. They are all organic, raw and vegan—the way all foods should be!”
Millennium Products, Inc., P.O. Box 2352, Beverly Hills, CA 90213, www.gtskombucha.com

derma e Natural Bodycare, Full LineSkincare ProductsHBC: SKIN CARE
derma e Natural Bodycare, Full Line

For 25 years, derma e Natural Bodycare has developed skincare solutions enriched with natural actives such as powerful antioxidants, nourishing vitamins and beneficial botanicals. The firm’s 90+ award-winning anti-aging and solution-oriented formulas include cleansers, toners, crèmes, serums, lotions, scrubs and masks, that produce healthy skin. derma e products contain ingredients with scientifically proven effectiveness and each formula is pH-balanced with a safe, gentle, paraben-free preservative system. derma e products are free of pthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil and artificial colors, and are 100% vegetarian and cruelty-free. The collection comes in recyclable packaging and a percentage of all sales is donated to the Paraguay Project. derma e manufacturers with 100% wind energy and strives to lessen its impact on the environment, improve conservation efforts and contribute to local and world communities.
4485 Runway St., Simi Valley CA 93063, http://www.dermae.com

Giovanni CosmeticsHBC: HAIR CARE
Giovanni Cosmetics: Shampoos & Conditioners

In our busy world of advancing technology many of us are discovering something new about our needs: We want more—and less. And, we want it pure. According to Giovanni Cosmetics, “This pure way of thinking has created the rewarding products we enjoy today. It has created an opening for environmentally-sound formulations, married with high performance. We have placed a premium on combining technology and nature in every product formulation we design. One company has led the way from its start: Giovanni.” Giovanni provides salon-quality performance with results that are naturally, exquisite. Giovanni’s shampoo line includes 50:50 Balanced Hydrating Shampoo, Golden Wheat Deep Cleanse and Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo. The line of conditioners includes Direct Weightless Leave-In Moisturizer, Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture and Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Conditioner.
2555 S. Dominguez Hills Dr., Compton, CA 90220, www.giovannicosmetics.com

Dr. Bronner’s: SoapsHBC: PERSONAL CARE
Dr. Bronner’s: Soaps

Dr. Bronner’s Soaps offer a combination of organic extra-virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, to create unique products that clean effectively without being aggressive and produce a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed. Says the company, “For our 60th anniversary, we are pleased to announce that our classic unsurpassed liquid and bar soaps are now certified not only under the USDA National Organic Program, but also are Fair Trade under IMO’s ‘Fair for Life’ program.” And, there are two new scents: Rose and Citrus Orange. The company introduces the new SHIKAKAI line of elevated organic personal care products, displaying USDA and Fair Trade seals. Organic Shikakai comes from the seed pods of the small South Asian tree Acacia Concinna, and has been used in India for millenia as a cleanser for both skin and hair.
751 N. Citracado Pkwy., Escondido, CA 92029, www.drbronner.com

Runners Up

This year, several categories had close second-place finishes. Here’s to our 2009 runners up!

Supplements: Full Line, Bluebonnet Nutrition

Supplements: Sports Nutrition Country Life Vitamins: BioChem

Supplements:
Weight Loss Natural Factors: PGX

Supplements: Herbs Gaia Herbs: All

Supplements: Specialty Barlean’s Organic Oils: Omega Swirl

Foods: Organic Newman’s Own: All

Foods: Nutrition Bars Peaceworks: Kind Bars

Foods: Beverages Zevia: Sodas

HBC: Hair Care Avalon: Shampoos & Conditioners

HBC: Personal Care Burt’s Bees: Lip Balm

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2009