Barlean’s celebrated its 25th anniversary with a party at its booth during Expo West. “It’s been 25 years of pure fun,” stated Bruce Barlean, the company’s owner. Upon reflecting on its history, Barlean stated, “Kids used to whine about taking their flax oil. Now, with Omega Swirl, they’re whining to take more!”

  Lisa, Bruce and Dave Barlean celebrate the company's 25th anniversary

Micropharma and UAS LifeSciences received the 2014 NEXT Innovation Summits NutrAwards. Micropharma’s Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 won the Expo West Best New Ingredient Award and the Finished Product Award went to UAS LifeSciences for its UP4 Kids Cubes Probiotic. Said Kevin Mehring, president of UAS LifeSciences, of the award, “We are honored by this wonderful recognition of our new Kids Cube product. Having four young boys myself, I know the importance of a supplement tasting great and our Kids Cube definitely does. As important, it delivers a one billion CFU dose of our trademarked and well researched DDS-1 L. acidophilus strain along with 800 IUs of vitamin D3.”

The Expo West Best of West: Press Award went to three products: Luvo’s Chicken Chili Verde, Barbara’s Bakery’s Multigrain Squares and Dave’s Killer Bread’s 21 Whole Grains and Seeds. Meanwhile, the winner of the NEXT Accelerator Pitch Slam was SoapBox Soaps.

Greg Leonard at the KeHe booth  

KeHE held a reception at its booth to honor executive vice president Greg Leonard, who is dialing back his role at KeHE. Leonard is moving to an “ambassador” position, in which he will represent both KeHE and the natural products industry. Leonard is a 40-year veteran of the industry.

 “Female Entrepreneurship” was the theme of the Women in Naturals networking event, sponsored by Reserveage Nutrition. The program’s featured speakers included Naomi Whittel, CEO and founder of Reserveage Nutrition, and Janie Hoffman, CEO and Founder of Mamma Chia.

Nordic Naturals held a media breakfast to show off the newly produced True North documentary, which traces how the company sources, manufactures, bottles and ships its fish oil.

Mushroom Wisdom held its annual educational breakfast at the Anaheim Hilton, where psychiatrist Kazutoyo Inanaga, M.D., Ph.D., presented new research on mushrooms conducted in Japan. Specifically, he detailed the use of a proprietary Lion’s Mane mushroom extract in his clinical psychiatric practice. It was used in patients suffering from dementia and depression, and results included improved mood, increased activity and higher cognitive test scores.

  Dr. Linda Miles, D.O.M. and David Stearn at the derma e 30th anniversary booth party

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, derma e hosted a party at its booth featuring drinks and a large cake cut by founders Dr. Linda Miles, D.O.M. and David Stearn. The company used the occasion to introduce several new products, including an antioxidant natural sunscreen.

Also at Expo West, derma e honored Harlow-HRK as its 2013 Broker of the Year.

A seminar on the benefits, sustainability and consumer demand for krill oil was hosted by Aker BioMarine Antarctic US. Called “How to Speak Krill,” it featured Christopher Speed, MND, APD, who also described the company’s recent initiative to spread awareness about krill. Speed said retailers have found being educated about krill has positioned them to better sell omegas from all sources.

Choice Organic Tea celebrated its 25th anniversary with a toast on the show floor.

Cheryl Hughes of the Whole Wheatery receives her award.  

The newest inductees into the Expo West Hall of Legends were honored at a reception during the convention. The 2014 honorees were Cheryl Hughes, owner of the Whole Wheater; the late Emanuel Bronner, founder of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps; Nell Newman, who launched Newman's Own Organics: The Second Generation; Robert Orr, formerly co-founder, CEO and chairman of Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited and currently CEO and Managing Partner of a Cuna del Mar LP; the late Rand, Allen and Connie Skolnick of Solgar; Linda Kahler, president of Rainbow Light; Margaret Wittenberg, author, Whole Foods Market executive and champion of organic agriculture; Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, owners of Clif Bar & Company; Ric Scalzo, founder of Gaia Herbs; and Mo Siegel founder of Celestial Seasonings and Earth Wise. This was the third group to become part of the Hall of Legends.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2014