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.

What does it take to be a WholeFoods Magazine Natural Choice Award winner? Winners were chosen through anonymous votes from natural products stores; retailers passed along names of items in 15 product categories that sold the best for them this past year. Editors then tabulated the results and ties were broken according to our What’s Selling column. We think a hearty congratulations to the 2011 winners are in order!

A special thank you goes out to the countless retailers for participating. Your help is greatly appreciated and the Natural Choice Awards could not be possible without you. A special acknowledgement goes to Maggie Fraser of EverGrain Natural Foods in Wolfeboro, NH, who was randomly selected to win our $50-cash prize.

Our winners, too, wanted to thank the natural products retailers for this distinction. Here’s what some had to say:

“We would like to thank you, the Independent Retailer for acknowledging PetGuard with this award in 2010 and consecutively in 2011. We will continue to remain loyal, innovative and passionate about our mission of making sure that we provide the best possible foods, supplements and treats.” —PetGuard

“We are honored to be recognized by WholeFoods and its retail audience for excellence in the herbal category…We owe a great deal of gratitude to our retail partners and consumers who put their trust in us every day.” —Scott Woodruff, chief marketing officer of Schwabe North America (Nature’s Way and Enzymatic Therapy)

“Thank you for selecting Udi’s Gluten Free Foods as this year’s WholeFoods 2011 Natural Choice Award recipient in the Sensitive Diets category.” —Udi’s Gluten Free Food

A few of 2011’s recipients are particularly noteworthy because they have received this distinction for several years in a row. As noted, PetGuard is a two-time winner and Millennium Products has won for the fifth year running with its G.T.’s Kombucha.

And, NOW Foods’ full line has won for the fourth straight year. Stated Al Powers, president of NOW Foods, “When word spread here that Whole Foods’ readers had given NOW’s full line of supplements the most votes for the fourth year in a row, there were ‘high five’s’ from the management offices to the manufacturing floor. We truly appreciate and thank the independent retailers who have made NOW the #1 brand in health food stores.”

We also can’t forget to acknowledge the runners up. Congratulations! And now, drum roll, please, as we announce the 2011 winners!

The Editors
Research by Kimberly Williams

NOW Foods

NOW is the #1 selling supplement product line in independent health food stores, according to SPINs data. Still family owned in its 43rd year, NOW is an award-winning manufacturer of vitamins, minerals, herbs, personal care products, dietary supplements and natural foods, offering over 1,500 products. NOW uses only the highest quality ingredients in its products, many of which are branded and trademarked. NOW’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has been GMP certified by the Natural Products Association since 2000. The company has in-house labs with highly trained staff testing for ingredient identity, microbiological activity and heavy metals. NOW’s manufacturing efficiency allows for sensible pricing while making high-quality products, says the company.
395 S. Glen Ellyn Rd., Bloomingdale, IL 60108,

Jay Robb Enterprises Inc., Whey Protein Powders

Jay Robb’s Whey Protein is made from the finest natural ingredients and delivers 25 grams of protein and one gram of carbohydrate per serving without any fat, cholesterol or sugar. Jay Robb only uses cold-processed cross-flow microfiltered whey protein isolate from farm-raised, pasture-grazed, grass-fed cows not treated with growth hormones. Whey protein isolate, which is used exclusively in Jay Robb’s Whey Protein, is created by microfiltering liquid whey through a special ceramic membrane to create the highest grade of whey protein possible. This process yields a whey protein isolate that is much higher in protein than a whey protein concentrate and supports the immune system, says the firm. Jay Robb uses a blend of natural flavors and stevia to create the palate-pleasing taste that has made them famous across the nation.
6339 Paseo Del Lago, Carlsbad, CA 92011,

                                                                       SUPPLEMENTS: WEIGHT LOSS
Garden of Life, Diet 360

According to Garden of Life, the ingredients in Diet 360 have been studied and reviewed for supporting weight loss. Ashwangandha extract helps improve the body’s stress response, contributing to a reduction of the stress hormone cortisol. The blueberry leaf and bayberry bark extracts in Diet 360 were shown to help maintain already normal blood sugar levels for healthy glycemic response. These ingredients did so by moving glucose from the bloodstream into fat and muscle cells. By advancing the movement of glucose quickly into the cells, glucose can’t be converted efficiently into fat. Overall, the company believes that supporting blood sugar levels with Diet 360 may ultimately lead to slower fat cell production.
5500 Village Blvd., Ste. 202, West Palm Beach, FL 33407,

                              SUPPLEMENTS: SPECIALTY SUPPLEMENTS
                                          EuroPharma USA, Curamin

According to EuroPharma, Curamin combines ingredients with multiple mechanisms of action to support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response and relieve occasional muscle pain due to exercise and overuse. This unique formulation contains BCM-95 Bioavailable Curcumin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. BCM-95 Curamin is said to be 10 times stronger in studies than traditional curcumin. Also part of the Curamin formula are Boswellia serrata (BosPure), which helps reduce the activity of the inflammatory enzyme, 5-LOX; and DLPA, an amino acid that promotes positive mood and has been shown to relieve occasional muscle pain due to exercise. Curamin also contains nattokinase, which helps promote blood flow, aiding the other ingredients in the formula to reach all areas of the body.
955 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311,

                                               SUPPLEMENTS: HERBS
Nature’s Way, Full Line

Nature’s Way has been the leader in herbal sales in the dietary supplement industry for more than four decades. The company has pioneered the development and utilization of quality standards and good manufacturing practices for the herbal industry. Nature’s Way manufacturing capacities have expanded, thus offering a bevy of options for customers. Says the firm, “We offer over 500 premium nutritional and natural products, including single herbs and herbal extracts, homeopathic remedies, vitamins, minerals and specialty products.”
Schwabe North America, 1375 N. Mountain Springs Pkwy., Springville, UT 84663,                        

Nature’s Plus, Animal Parade

Animal Parade from Nature’s Plus is a pure, natural line of nutritional formulas that promote healthy development through each life stage. Children grow up fast and Animal Parade is with them every step of the way, says the company. Animal Parade formulas help provide the best of both worlds, delivering quality nutrition that parents can trust, along with a variety of flavors, textures and fun assortments that kids crave. And, in 2010, Animal Parade successfully launched new Animal Parade GOLD and Animal Parade Sugar Free formulas, offering parents and children more of a variety to choose from. With Nature’s Plus Animal Parade formulas, children build a foundation of wellness for young adulthood and far beyond; they also get the specialized nutrition they need.
548 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747,

                                       FOODS: ORGANIC
             Bragg Live Food Products, Apple Cider Vinegar

Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is made from delicious, healthy, organically grown apples, which are processed and bottled in accordance with USDA organic guidelines. And, Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is certified organic by Organic Certifiers. The firm says, “It’s a wholesome way to add delicious flavor to salads, veggies, marinades, most foods and even sprinkle over popcorn.” According to the company, a special energy drink can be created by simply following the product label; they also offer four new pre-mixed Apple Cider Vinegar Drink flavors.
Box 7, Santa Barbara, CA 93102,


Follow Your Heart, Vegenaise

Follow Your Heart Vegenaise is an all-natural alternative to mayonnaise that is egg free, cholesterol free, gluten free, and perfect for just about everything from sandwiches to baking. Vegenaise is available in five different varieties: Original, Grapeseed Oil, Organic, Reduced-Fat and their latest spread, Soy-Free. Vegenaise is produced in a solar-powered facility in Southern California, and is hand-crafted to ensure quality, flavor and the creamy texture that has made Vegenaise famous around the world. According to the company, “Vegenaise is ideal if you’re wishing to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, lower your cholesterol, add more organic foods or just looking for a creamy spread to put in your favorite potato salad recipe.”
P.O. Box 9400, Canoga Park, CA 91309,

                                    FOODS: NUTRITION BAR
                      Schiff Nutrition Group, Tiger’s Milk Bars

Schiff Nutrition Group’s Tiger Milk Bars are nutritious and come in four naturally flavored varieties: Protein Rich, Peanut Butter Crunch, Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter and Honey. The bars contain 16 vitamins and minerals, with up to 10 grams of protein in each serving and no trans-fat. Available in regular and king sizes, the bars are a good source of calcium, too. American Way magazine named the bars as the “Most Edible” energy bars of the 30 that were taste-tested in 2008.
2002 S. 5070 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84104,

                                FOODS: SENSITIVE DIETS
                               Udi’s, Gluten-Free Breads

Those at Udi’s Gluten Free wholeheartedly believe that food made with joy will also be a joy to eat. That’s why the company is comprised of old-school artisan bakers. “We bake to share—in flavor, in nutrition, and in happiness. We create a variety of gluten-free baked goods without sacrificing quality and taste because everything we bake is a product of our mission…making gluten free delicious,” says the firm. Udi’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread is the firm’s signature light and fluffy white sandwich bread, made with all-natural ingredients without added fillers. Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread is a hearty whole-grain gluten-free bread complete with bold, wholesome flavors.
12000 E. 47 Ave., #400, Denver, CO 80239,

Millennium Products, Inc., GT’s Kombucha

GT Dave drew inspiration from his mother after witnessing the benefits that a healthy lifestyle and daily doses of Kombucha afforded her. It was then, in 1995, that he began bottling Kombucha from her kitchen; he had no business plan, just a desire to share this gift with anybody who could benefit from it. GT’s Kombucha has grown from its humble beginnings and is now enjoyed in all 50 states and Canada. During the last year when industry standards were challenged, GT’s Kombucha preserved its values and emerged with a new line: GT’s Enlightened Organic & Raw. GT is grateful for the support of the customers and retailers that have made it possible for him to return with his Classic Kombucha; while the industry has changed, the authenticity and homemade freshness of GT’s Kombucha has remained.
P.O. Box 2352, Beverly Hills, CA 90213,

                                                                          HBC: SKIN CARE
derma e Natural Bodycare, Full Line

For over 25 years, derma e Natural Bodycare has formulated cutting-edge natural skincare solutions incorporating high levels of scientifically proven effective antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and botanicals to deliver results. This award-winning line offers over 90 products that help reduce the signs of aging, resolve problem skin conditions and restore skin health.

The derma e line includes facial cleansers, toners and moisturizers with natural anti-aging ingredients such as astaxanthin, Pycnogenol, DMAE, peptides and hyaluronic acid. The line also includes exfoliants, masks, body lotions and treatment products, each of which offer a safe, effective delivery system free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors and are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
4485 Runway St., Simi Valley, CA 93063,



Mill Creek Botanicals, Biotin Shampoo

Sometimes our hair needs therapy, too, and when that time comes, usually daily, Mill Creek Botanicals Biotin Shampoo is an excellent option, suggests the company. This shampoo is said to offer amazing results by starting out with biotin, an essential member of the vitamin-B complex. This shampoo also offers a plethora of vegan hair proteins and herbs including keratin, elastin, cystine, panthenol, niacin, Folic acid, jojoba and aloe vera, to name a few. On top of this, hair quenching infusion menthol and peppermint oil are added for a fresh tingly sensation that gets the blood flowing on the scalp to stimulate follicles for healthy renewed hair.
2951 Marion Dr., Ste. 121 Las Vegas, NV 89115,

                                  Natracare, Full Line

Natracare’s organic and natural feminine hygiene products are appreciated by women for their quality, reliability, comfortable protection and safety for our environment. The line is made from certified organic and natural, plant-derived materials that are chemical and additive free, biodegradable and compostable. In addition, Natracare products have a low environmental impact.

Sourced from sound ecologically managed producers, the company is ethically accredited and approved by the Vegetarian Society. Natracare’s high-quality, competitively priced range includes organic cotton tampons, sanitary pads, panty liners, wet wipes, nursing pads, maternity pads and light incontinence pads.
3620 W. 10th St., Unit B #406, Greeley, CO 80634,


                                                                 PET PRODUCTS
                                                      PetGuard, Dog and Cat Food

Since 1979, PetGuard’s success has been based on two ideals: formulate and offer the highest quality products for the marketplace and provide the most efficient, professional service to their customers. Studies suggest that humans greatly benefit from eating organic and natural products, but the same holds true for pets. Traditional pet food often contains ingredients that have been manufactured in non-regulated facilities in foreign countries. The protein sources are derived from animal by-products which are then colored, flavored and chemically preserved. Those who love their pets want the best for them; and making healthy choices for pets will improve their chances for having a healthier and longer life, and ensure fewer trips to the veterinarian, says the firm.
P.O. Box 668, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043,

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2011