For years, WholeFoods Magazine has shined a light on natural products companies that market some of the country’s best top-selling products and has honored them with a Natural Choice Award. This year is no different. Once again, we are proud to honor some of the many excellent products that the natural products industry calls its own.

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Contract manufacturing. Did reading that phrase make you picture a buzzing room filled with shiny silver equipment? Or, did you envision a team of innovators that can help you turn an idea into reality (or an established product into something even better)? Well, the latter is closer to what contract manufacturing today is all about.

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In the natural food flavors and colors market, staying current and diversifying is the name of the game. Only the strongest, most palatable natural flavors and the brightest, most appealing colors survive, and jumping on the right bandwagon can be just as important as forging bold, new paths.

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The average raw materials supplier has a lot of responsibility on its shoulders. Before they can say “mission accomplished,” they must be sure they are investing in the right ingredients, sourcing those ingredients from the right people, testing them for quality and purity with the most stringent and up-to-date methods available, and doing it all while remaining in strict compliance with current manufacturing standards and industry regulations. Then, they have to keep their prices low enough for finished product manufacturers to be interested.

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A new report from BCC Research shows that the worldwide nanotechnology market will reach about $15.7 billion this year and will grow to $27 billion by 2015 (1).

From pharmaceuticals to certain fabrics to some sunscreens, nanotechnology is all around us. The question is, how might it affect the organic food manufacturers and suppliers?

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Valuing the Middle Man

What has changed is how the broker fits into the natural retail puzzle, and the reasons for the transformation paints an interesting picture of the industry.

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According to Pike Research, sustainable packaging will comprise nearly a third of the packaging market by 2014, which equates to about a $170-billion industry (1). This growth is significant, considering that sustainable packaging had just a 21% market share in 2009.

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layers of quality assurance

Natural ingredients suppliers are arguably some of the most knowledgeable folks about natural products. They are, literally and figuratively, the source of the industry and its inner working gears.

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lean manufacturing

Contract manufacturers uphold a major portion of the natural products industry, allowing companies to be innovative and flourish in a variety of market climates.

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savory yet sensible

After a tough economic year in 2009, consumers are searching for ways to add small indulgences to their diets in the New Year. Many have resolved to cook in their own homes, rather than dining out, creating a demand for unique and exciting foods, flavors and ingredients that can be purchased at local natural products stores.

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