Demand for natural products is as strong as ever, according to data collected in the 36th Annual WholeFoods Retailer Survey. Independent stores that participated in this year’s survey had a strong showing in 2013, selling a combined $741 million throughout their more than 1.24 million ft2 of total retail space. Most stores reported gains this year, and businesses are optimistic about the outlook for 2014, all excellent news for those who value the expertise and unique flavor that independent stores contribute to the natural and organic supplements, grocery, HABA and home products industries.

Mushrooms are really important. If this fact seems foreign to you, don’t blame yourself. Blame geography and the slow-growing understanding of their many uses. Though we eat plenty of mushrooms here in the West, other cultures have long valued them for their medicinal uses. Today, the knowledge of how they can be grown, prepared and used to improve our health is finally spreading, while innovation drives the category to new places.

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.—Certain supplement ingredients may have entered the U.S. market without accompanying new dietary ingredient (NDI) notification as is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

nordic fish oil

Watsonville, CA—Nordic Naturals of has partnered up with Nutrasource Diagnostics (NDI) to create a testing methodology for analyzing the p-Anisidine levels in flavored omega-3 dietary supplements. p-Anisidine levels are used to measure oxidation.

ahpa supplements

Silver Spring, MD—The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change how it writes Form 483s.

Inflammation is the way your body responds to a problem. Whether battling an infection or cancer, or healing from a bone fracture, the body needs to deliver powerful immune and repair cells to the impaired location through the bloodstream to fight and fix the problem.

Vitamin C. Echinacea. Zinc. These supplements are some of the hottest tickets on the Immune Health Express. What was once perhaps rightfully regarded as a seasonal buy has recently shot into the fast lane of year-round hot sellers for several reasons that we’ll discuss down the road.

vitamin angels

Santa Barbara, CA—Vitamin Angels, an organization whose mission is to provide vitamins and essential nutrients to those in need, has launched a campaign to raise awareness about hidden hunger.