Anaheim, CA—More than 65,000 industry professionals gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center for Natural Products Expo West. Among the crowds were many natural products industry innovators and icons, and throughout the even industry leaders took the opportunity to honor those who are making a major impact. A few of those honored:

AHPA Honor Industry Advocates and Herbal Champions

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announced the recipients of the 2024 AHPA Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the continued success of the herbal and dietary supplement industries.

“Every year, it is our distinct privilege to honor a select group of the many individuals and organizations whose work has strengthened our industry and challenged us all to do and be better,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “We are grateful to the esteemed group of 2024 AHPA Award recipients for their contributions to AHPA and the wider industry, and we thank them for celebrating with us.” This year's winners are: 

Herbal Hero Award: Will Woodleepartner at Washington, D.C.-based Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker LLP and general counsel to AHPA. 

Herbal Industry Leadership Award: Pacific Botanicals, a division of Herb Pharm, grows and supplies high-quality herbs and spices.The company was founded by Mark Wheeler in 1979 and has upheld a passionate commitment to quality in everything they do, AHPA says, "from the seeds they plant in their pristine growing environment, to the organic nutrients they add to the soil and their perfectly timed harvests." 

Herbal Diversity & Inclusion Award: Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on unlocking the professional and personal potential of women. It is igniting a movement to build support for women across the nutraceutical supply chain to help increase the percentage of women holding leadership roles, funding for female-led businesses, and women's participation in research. AHPA is a proud partner of WIN and supporter of the organization's efforts.

Environmental Impact Award: Susan Leopold is Executive Director of United Plant Savers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their habitat. She is an advocate for ethical wildcrafting practices, community-based conservation initiatives, and the preservation of traditional plant knowledge.

Herbal Advocacy Award: NOW Foods was founded by Elwood Richard in 1968 on the belief that natural is better. Still a family-owned company today, NOW provides customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness by offering products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives. NOW is committed to offering safe, affordable products of the highest quality and is a highly regarded advocate in the natural products industry. In 2017, NOW started its award-winning industry self-policing program of testing unfamiliar brands found on Amazon with the goal to provide consumers with knowledge on quality and testing of supplements so they can make informed purchases.

Herbal Champion Award: Governor Bill Richardson (1947-2023). AHPA shared that, for more than 30 years, Richardson led a distinguished public service career, serving as a U.S. Congressman, a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton, as well as receiving four Nobel Peace Prize nominations. As Governor of New Mexico, he moved New Mexico forward in several important areas, including clean energy, education, transportation, healthcare, immigration, and environmental protection. AHPA said the organization is most grateful for Governor Richardson's sponsorship and support of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which he helped maneuver through the House of Representatives and eventually get passed, establishing the foundation for the robust dietary supplement industry we know today. Governor Richardson passed in September 2023. His legacy of diplomacy continues through his nonprofit, The Richardson Center.

ABC Presents Awards for Excellence

Euromed Receives ABC Varro E. Tyler Award: The American Botanical Council (ABC) presented the 2024 ABC Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award to Euromed, a Spain-based manufacturer of standardized botanical extracts and other herbal ingredients for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food, pet care, and cosmetics industries. “We’re thrilled to receive the ABC Tyler Award, which honors the legacy of Professor Varro E. Tyler and recognizes our ongoing commitment to phytomedicine research,” said Andrea Zangara, head of scientific communications and marketing at Euromed. “This prestigious award reflects our commitment to the principles advocated by Professor Tyler: the rigorous evaluation of botanical products through scientific investigation to ensure their quality, safety, and efficacy...Winning the ABC Tyler Award makes us even more determined to continue investing in the research and development of botanical products for the global pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and food markets.”

“I knew Professor Tyler quite well for over 20 years—as a mentor, colleague, and friend,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, “and I know that if he were alive today, he would wholeheartedly support ABC’s decision to grant this namesake award to Euromed.”

ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, Ph.D., added: “When I think of ways to describe Euromed, the words ‘quality’ and ‘trust’ are among the first that come to mind. A lot of my trust in the quality of their ingredients comes from the company’s long-standing commitment to clinical research into the extracts that they manufacture. Some of their research, e.g., on milk thistle and saw palmetto, is part of the foundation on which the evidence-based medicinal use of these plants is built.” 

Robin Marles Receives ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Award: The 2024 ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award went to Robin Marles, Ph.D., an expert on botanical ingredient regulations, quality control, safety, and clinical trial reporting, as well as phytochemistry and ethnobotany, among other subjects. Dr. Marles was the senior scientific advisor of the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences at Health Canada’s Food Directorate until his retirement in 2023. The award is named in honor of the internationally respected professor Norman R. Farnsworth, Ph.D. (1930–2011), to an individual who has made significant research contributions in the fields of pharmacognosy (the study of drugs of natural origin, usually from plants), ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, or other scientific disciplines related to medicinal plants. 

“I am very honored to be selected as the recipient of this year’s ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award,” Marles said. “Professor Farnsworth was a wonderful mentor during my six years at UIC College of Pharmacy. My other professors provided excellent technical training, but Professor Farnsworth strongly encouraged us to apply critical thinking to problems, evaluate carefully rather than just accept what was published in the literature, and to try to see the big picture. I have tried to follow these principles throughout my career.”

2024 Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award: This was presented to David Winston, RH (AHG), founder and president of B Corp-certified herb product manufacturer Herbalist & Alchemist (H&A), and dean of David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies. This award, named for ABC’s Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, is given annually to individuals who have played a significant role in creating a sense of connection and community among herbalists, botanical researchers, members of the herb and natural products communities and industries, and others who work with medicinal and aromatic plants. ABC shared that Winston, an ethnobotanist, author, and herbalist, is a founding member of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), a member of the review committee of AHPA’s Botanical Safety Handbook, and a longtime member of the ABC Advisory Board. He has practiced herbalism since 1976, in 1982 he founded H&A to produce and sell his own herbal formulas and other preparations. He also is the co-author of Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief (Healing Arts Press, 2019), which compiles traditional as well as scientific and clinical information on herbs used as adaptogens, a term that he has helped to popularize. 

James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award: The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) received this honor in the reference/technical category for AHPA’s Herbs of Commerce, 3rd ed. ABC gives the Duke Award annually to books that "contribute significantly to medicinal plant-related literature and the fields of botany, taxonomy, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, phytomedicine, and other related disciplines." Herbs of Commerce provides guidance on consistent naming of botanical ingredients on product labels, especially those marketed in the U.S. as dietary supplements. The third edition contains entries for more than 2,800 separate plant species, more than 1,000 botanical synonyms, more than 300 Ayurvedic names, and more than 700 pinyin names. “It is an honor and privilege for Herbs of Commerce, 3rd ed., to be recognized with the James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin, who served as an editor for the second and third editions. “It reflects the dedication and expertise of the editorial team, Expert Advisory Council, sponsors, and all those who contributed to this collaborative effort to provide a valuable industry resource. We extend our gratitude to ABC for this recognition and thank our members and the wider herbal and dietary supplement communities for their support.”

Loretta Zapp Receives UNPA ‘Queen of Quality’ Award

The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) honored Loretta Zapp, CEO, Applied Food Sciences (AFS), with the “Queen of Quality” award, in recognition of her decades of leadership in advancing quality and analytical competence and providing ingredients of superior quality to the dietary supplement industry. In 2001, Zapp established the functional ingredient company AFS, which focuses on quality and transparency from seed to label and emphasizes ethical sourcing and social responsibility, striving to connect people to the products they consume. UNPA shared that Zapp has a background in biochemistry and analytical testing, a focus on business development, and a passion for ingredient innovation and discovery. Prior to AFS, she led Industrial Laboratories, Inc., a third-party testing lab, and she founded the Institute for Nutraceutical Advancement (INA), raising funds from the industry to work with government to provide validated testing methods for a variety of dietary ingredients. INA was purchased by NSF in 2001.

“Loretta is a force in this industry that is unmatched when it comes to quality. She sets the standard for businesses that want to be successful in the dietary supplement industry and has stayed true to that mission for more than two decades,” said Loren Israelsen, President, UNPA. “It is a great honor to give her this award, as she stands for all the right things when it comes to producing the highest quality ingredients for this industry.” 

Organic's Best Honored at "An Organic Night Out"

The organic community gathered at Expo West to honor the best of organic. More than 600 attendees joined the first-ever and sold-out “Organic Oscars,” to celebrate the outstanding successes of individuals and businesses in communicating the benefits of organic, along with the work of groundbreaking organic researchers. Hosted by The Organic Center and Organic Voices, “An Organic Night Out” showcased honorees in eight categories – all nominated and chosen by their peers. “All of these organic leaders are so inspiring, and I'm honored to be part of this incredible celebration that recognizes the people and brands who are making the health of our families and planet their top priority,” said Jennifer Garner, event Co-Host and Co-Founder of Once Upon a Farm. “There is so much good work being done in organic, and events like this will help the industry grow. We want all families everywhere to be able to have the healthy choice of organic.” 

Gary Hirshberg Co-Founder of Stonyfield Farm and Organic Voices and emcee of the awards ceremony, added, “The organic community whole-heartedly congratulates these well-deserved winners of our ‘Organic Oscars.’ These honorees are truly organic game changers who are making a real difference in helping consumers understand the importance of choosing organic."  

Company of the Year – Organically Grown Company: This award recognizes the company that has done the most to advance interest, awareness, sales and support of certified organic products. Organically Grown Company (OGC) is the largest fresh produce wholesaler and distributor in the nation dedicated to organic. Founded in 1978 in Oregon, the mission of OGC from its start has been to grow the organic agriculture movement. The company today works with more than 350 vendors, representing 1,000 organic farms. In 2018, it switched its ownership model to a purpose trust, which allows the company to reach beyond being just a produce company, and to be even greater advocates and stewards of the movement. In 2023, the company launched its “Organic is the Answer” campaign which provides science-supported facts and resources to help educate shoppers and retailers about organic.  

Most Impactful Research Finding – University of Wisconsin (Madison) and CROPP/Organic Valley: This award recognizes the organic research result or finding that most excites and motivates consumers, retailers, food service and restaurateurs to choose organic. The award recognized the work between researchers at the University of Wisconsin/Madison and Organic Valley/CROPP showing small organic dairy farms, which focus on grazing and organic production techniques, create 24% lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional dairy systems.  The researchers unveiled a dairy lifecycle assessment conducted on Organic Valley farms to estimate the environmental indicators of organic dairy systems in the U.S. and evaluate alternative management practices and methodological decisions. The research used a breakthrough methodology that included accounting for the carbon sequestration benefit of grazed pastures, conducting a first-of-its-kind study in the U.S. that showed the positive climate results of cows spending time out on pasture. Its methodologies can be used not only in organic but on all dairy farms.  

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Painterland Sisters: This award honors a new business of 5 years or less that has made significant strides in revenue growth, exposure, innovation or market penetration while leading with clear messaging about the benefits of organic. Sisters and co-founders Stephanie and Hayley Painter launched Painterland Sisters, an organic skyr yogurt company, in 2022. They have succeeded in  sustaining their family’s organic dairy farm, but also others in the area. Painterland Sisters is now one of the fastest-growing yogurt brands in the natural grocery channel. Within the first full calendar year of business (2023), Painterland Sisters saw growth from $750,000 to $4 million in sales, and its products are now in over 2,000 stores across 49 states.  

Best New Food or Beverage  Patagonia Provisions Kernza Beer: This honor goes to the organic product delivering real excitement and novelty to the market and creating the most positive impression of Organic ‘goodness’. Patagonia Provisions Kernza Beer is new lager-type beer made with Regenerative Organic Certified Kernza, a deeply rooted perennial grain that requires minimal tilling, helps fight climate change and has the potential to move the beer industry to a more regenerative future.  

Best New Non-food product – Naturepedic Concerto Organic Pillow Top Mattress: This award honors the dietary supplement, personal care, textile, pet food or other non-food item that delivers real excitement and novelty to the market, and that creates the most positive impression of Organic "goodness."  Naturepedic’s Concerto Organic Pillow Top Mattress is a new organic mattress whose innovative design not only addresses different sleep preferences but upholds the highest standards of organic at a value cost.  

Best Organic Messaging – Organic Valley: This award recognizes the best marketing or communications messaging that excite consumers about the benefits of organic in terms of human health, animal welfare, climate and the environment. The winner is Organic Valley for its impactful “Protecting Where Your Food Comes From” campaign, which shared with the world how organic, planet-friendly farms are good for people, animals and the earth. 

Best Retailer Activation – Good Earth Natural Foods: This award honors the most creative and effective organic in-store or digital communication that conveys news about organic or reasons to buy organic that educate and motivate today’s consumer. Good Earth Natural Foods, the organic food store founded in Marin County in California in 1969 with a dream of offering the community the highest quality organic food. The Organic Center shared that, since its founding, Good Earth Natural Foods has made organic the cornerstone of its product standards. The store has  educated its customers about the benefits of organic over the years through in-store signage, promotion, special offers and other shopper-friendly activities. It promotes  holiday offerings through an “Organic menu,” puts together organic cheese boards for its shoppers, and helps them choose the best organic wines. Its staff is schooled on organic and is ready to answer any questions from customers. An informative on-line newsletter from the store features organic recipes, along with the latest news on organic. 

"It is an absolute honor to receive the award for Best Organic Retailer Activation, and to spend the evening learning and celebrating with our peers in the industry.  For over 50 years, Good Earth has made it our mission to advocate for organic, and after Organic Night Out, we find ourselves more inspired than ever to take this work further," said Al Baylacq, Partner at Good Earth.  

Best PR or Social Media Campaign – Lundberg Family Farm: This award is for the year’s most inventive and attention-grabbing public relations or social media campaign that shines a positive light on the benefits of organic, breaks through the noise, and leaves consumers feeling inspired about organic. The winner is Lundberg Family Farm for its original and attention-grabbing Ducking Good Rice™ campaign.