Celebrating Earth Day with Natural Grocers

Natural Grocers honored Earth Day 2024 with a special three day celebration from April 20-22. All month long, shoppers are being treated to special deals, sweepstakes, and other freebies promoting environmentally conscious products and sustainable practices. "Natural Grocers considers Earth Day to be an annual opportunity in raising awareness towards the interconnectedness of our food-producing systems and our planet. As a family-operated national retailer, our product standards are extraordinarily high because we know our choices are powerful. We choose to prioritize products that are organic, regenerative, humane, non-GMO, and fair trade," said Raquel Isely, VP of Marketing.

The family-operated natural and organic retailer will use the occasion to promote its seventh annual Ladybug Love fundraiser for Beyond Pesticides, a 501(c)3 nonprofit advocacy and grassroots organization that works with other groups in protecting public health and to rid the world of toxic pesticides. Customers can contribute to the cause by supporting 100% organic produce and not using chemicals that harm ladybugs or other insects at home, in yards, and gardens. Natural Grocers will be donating $2 for every Ladybug themed zip-pouch bag it sells in its stores as well as $1 for every customer pledge it receives. 

Greenbar Distillery Honors Earth Day

Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery will look to continue its commitment to sustainability and honor Earth Day by planting two million trees in Central American rainforests. Since 2008, Greenbar and the agricultural nonprofit Sustainable Harvest International have partnered to plant 1,088,144 trees. Sustainable Harvest International has pledged to plant one tree for every:

  • 1 bottle of Greenbar Distillery brand spirits
  • 2 bottles of ready-to drink bottled cocktails
  • 24 ready-to-drink canned cocktails

Greenbar Distillery co-founder and spirits maker, Melkon Khosrovian, explained the motivation behind the company's overarching green initiative: “It’s common in both my wife Litty’s and my culture to plant a tree when a child is born, and at Greenbar we adopted this tradition with our products.” In addition to its partnership with Sustainable Harvest, Greenbar prides itself on the use of organic ingredients, energy-efficient production, and recyclable packaging for its products. With each spirit and ready-to-drink cocktail being made from real food for flavor, the distillery offers a wide range of spirits and liqueurs including Bright Gin and Hibiscus Liqueur, flavors inspired by the the city and its culture.

Rising Costs Affecting Nutritional Product Sales

According to a recent study from Nutiani, 4 out of 10 consumers find health and wellbeing nutritional products have become too expensive. The Health, Nutrition and Rising Costs report surveyed 2,500 participants across China, South Korea, Japan, the UK, and the United States and found that 33% of consumers blame the rise in costs as a reason for discontinuing purchase of the items. With 67% of shoppers listing health and wellbeing as a top priority, consumers are adjusting their approach to purchasing nutritional products in order to balance out the rise in costs. “Even with the tightening of purse strings, we continue to see bright spots in the wellbeing nutrition space as this will remain top of mind for consumers," said Komal Mistry-Mehta, Chief Innovation and Brand officer at Fonterra. 

The study's insights were obtained from a refreshed Consumer Health and Nutrition Index conducted with IPSOS and shed light on some of the key factors motivating consumer purchasing trends. Relevance, science, convenience, and experience are the four themes brands should focus on to create more value-driven products and increase appeal towards consumers.

Enhanced AI Virtual Workshop Returns

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) virtual workshop, Unlocking the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Food, premiered in December 2023. Due to its widespread appeal the nonprofit scientific organization has decided to make the webinar available once again to the science of food community. The program consists of four 90-minute sessions over two weeks starting on April 23 and ending on May 7. 

IFT's seminar will look to educate the community through hands-on exercises, personalized use cases, and insights from AI thought-leaders. “The impact that artificial intelligence can have on the global food system can be viewed as both terrific and terrifying, depending on how AI is understood and utilized,” said IFT Chief Science and Technology Officer Bryan Hitchcock.

With AI technology changing at such a fast pace, IFT will provide attendees with the latest developments as well as an understanding of prompt engineering, uncover cutting-edge tools and real-word use cases covering AI-Enhanced Food Product Development, Food allergen Detection, Food safety Issues for Retail and Restaurant, Pathogen Environmental Monitoring Program and Synthesis for Food Plants, and discuss how AI can be used both ethically and safely. Registration for the event is now available. 

dsm-firmmenich Looks for Next Flavorists

From April 12-May 1, 2024, dsm-firmenich will be accepting applications for its flavorist class of 2025. The program, which received 1,600 applications in 2023, focuses on the scientific expertise and creative know-how of flavor creation. The academy's two-year trainee program is led by a staff of over 80 industry experts and offers 11 fortunate candidates a position within the company upon successful completion of the curriculum. “The flavorist school is a testament to our commitment to talent development. These passionate people trained by dsm-firmenich will play a crucial role in developing the next generation of great tasting foods and beverages, from delicious low-sugar drinks to sustainable dairy options, savory snacks, and nutritious plant-based alternatives," said Veronique le Gouellec, Global Director Creation at dsm-firmenich of the school's role in the art and science of flavor creation.

BGG Establishes International Base For Expansion

Family-owned, Beijing-based supplier of premium branded ingredients, BGG, has set up new headquarters location in Basel, Switzerland. CEO Jürgen Nelis and Global Commercial Director Thomas Adler will work out of the new station to centralize critical international functions in Switzerland and launch the company's international corporate strategy. “As we internationalize our organizational structure and operating model, we will be investing heavily in our commercial organization," said Nelis. "We are currently hiring several sales managers in Europe and the U.S., and by doing so we will more than double our customer-facing resources in these key markets. At the same time, BGG will continue to invest in its asset base and in human clinical trials for its core products."

In addition to its growth strategy, the company plans to diversify into the food ingredients market with its stevia and licorice extract solutions. The company's plan will maintain production and R&D in China while strengthening its engagement with international customers and partners.

Bimuno GOS Surpasses Landmark

The health & wellbeing effectiveness of Bimuno GOS has now been supported by more than 120 scientific publications. The prebiotic ingredient is available to formulators through Clasado Biosciences and its network of distributors for nutraceutical and functional food and beverage products for gastrointestinal health, immune support and athletic health. 

The latest study was conducted with Probi AB and looked into the synbiotic potential of Bimuno GOS when combined with two well established probiotics, which demonstrated one of the first verified synergistic effects in a commercially available synbiotic concept. “As consumer interest in the gut microbiome has evolved and developed, so have we. Now, we celebrate another step forward in the scientific journey of Bimuno GOS. What was already the most studied ingredient of its kind is now in an even stronger proposition for health brands and their formulators," said Dr. Lucien Harthoorn, R&D Director at Clasado. 

Seven Teas Joins Christie & Co Roster

Premium tea and lemonade brand, Seven Teas, has joined the branding and communications agency, Christie & Co. The partnership will look to grow the company's presence in the organic ready-to-drink (RTD) tea space which is expected to bring in $3.37 billion by 2030. Christie & Co will apply its proprietary brand-building strategy to Seven Teas in order to increase awareness for the brands messaging amongst consumers. “Seven Teas is ready to take their sustainable, organic line of ready to drink teas and lemonades to the next level. We have decades of experience growing brands in the organic RTD space and are excited to help Seven Teas achieve their growth goals," said Christie & Co founder Gillian Christie of the brand's development. 

FrieslandCampina Ingredients Returns to Vitafoods Europe

This year's Vitafoods Europe event in Geneva, Switzerland will see the return of FrieslandCampina Ingredients along with its new range of consumer-focused Nutrition products. The company will showcase products like its new Biotis DHA Flex Powder which can add the health benefits of omega-3s to food, drinks, and supplements. Visitors of booth A106 will also get to sample Biotis Fermentis, a ready-to-drink (RTD) solution that provides the benefits of whey protein, prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides (Biotis GOS), and probiotic cultures by fermenting them together. Also, Global Marketing Lead Biotis at FrieslandCampina Ingredients, Sophie Zillinger Molenaar, will be hosting a discussion on the brands innovative new ingredients at 4pm on May 14 in the New Ingredients Theatre. Guests will discover more about Biotis DHA Flex Powders in the New Product Zone and on the Cognitive & Emotional Health tour.

“Whether it’s delivering omega-3s in a vegetarian-friendly drink, supercharging sports nutrition with high performance proteins and prebiotics, or overcoming texture challenges in plant-protein snacks, our unrivalled application expertise can help you meet the demands of the fast-paced nutrition market. This year, we’re highlighting how our newest ingredients can be used to build on-trend products that tick consumers’ boxes. As your application partner for proteins, prebiotics and more, we’re looking forward to showcasing our latest RTD, bar and gummy concepts so together, we can help consumers get the most out of life, always," said Global Marketing Director Performance, Medical and Active Nutrition at FrieslandCampina Ingredients, Vicky Davies of the brands ability to create ingredients for high demand wellness products. 

Benicaros Options Premiere at Vitafoods Europe

From May 14-16, NutriLeads BV will debut the new product formats of its prebiotic fiber, Benicaros. Recently, Benicaros has been developed into varying concentration levels of the active ingredient Rhamnogalacturonan-I or RG-1 and with liquid and powder variants. At the Vitafoods Europe show in Geneva, Switzerland guests will be able to stop by booth M270 and get a first look at the products newly expanded prototype range which includes gummies formulated with the prebiotic and other products to support immune and gut health. 

In addition to the new products, the NutriLeads BV company will be presenting its new research findings showing how a low dose of just 300 mg of Benicaros can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and the production of essential short-chain fatty acids. 

Kaneka Ubiquinol Turns 15

Kaneka Nutrients will celebrate the 15-year anniversary of its flagship ingredient, Kaneka Ubiquinol, at this year's Vitafoods Europe event. From May 14-16, Kaneka Ubiquinol will be front and center at booth K130 as Kaneka plans to showcase the history and science behind the ingredient, present the latest findings of its effect on post-menopausal women, and offer visitors new prototype application samples demonstrating the ingredients full range of health area applications. Filip Van hulle, General Manager of Kaneka Nutrients Europe shared his thoughts on the milestone celebration: "I’ve been part of the journey since the very beginning and in this time we’ve developed a growing body of evidence to demonstrate the power of this magic ingredient. Now, we look forward to exploring the next chapter with some exciting projects underway to unlock the full potential of ubiquinol and support vitality at all life stages – from conception to healthy aging.”

Health Canada Authorizes Kaneka Probiotic

Health Canada's Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) has authorized the marketing and selling of Kaneka Probiotics Latilactobacillus sakei proBio65 to children and adolescents in Canada. The authorization covers the oral delivery of a daily dosage of 10 billion heat-treated probiotic organisms in powder format for individuals aged 3 to 18. The granted product license, which confirms the goods capacity to encourage a favorable gut flora to aid gut and skin health, follows news of the products placement on the European Food Safety Authority Qualified Presumption of Safety (QPS) list. 

“We’re thrilled with Health Canada’s approval of L. sakei proBio65, affirming its positive impact on skin health. We hope that this endorsement will expand awareness that there is a safe and effective option for the increasing number of children and adolescents dealing with chronic skin conditions like AD, particularly for those concerned about the unwanted side effects often associated with conventional treatments like corticosteroids," said Kaneka Probiotics Chief Business Development Manager, Jordi Riera of the recent approval. In addition to human applications, Kaneka Probiotics will look to formulate the product for pet treatment applications highlighting the products potential impact across other industries.

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