Greenfield, MA-based New England Natural Bakers entered into an “ESOP”, or Employee Stock Ownership Program, on January 1, 2013. The granola manufacturer, founded in 1977 by John Broucek, is now 100% employee owned. “The ESOP option emerged as the best solution for our 45-plus employees; guaranteeing the viability of our values- based culture and preserving jobs while remaining at our current location,” says Broucek, who will remain with the company in the role of general manager.

Lundberg Family Farms of Richvale, CA redesigned its organic rice packaging. The products are now available in flat-bottom, stand-up bags that are re-closable through the use of VELCRO Brand PRESS-LOK closure technology. They are the first food products in the United States to feature this packaging innovation.

Manufacturer of non-dairy probiotic juice drinks GoodBelly, Boulder, CO, has announced its sponsorship of the second installment of a documentary on probiotics. Microwarriors: The Origin and the Destiny is excecutive produced by David Knight of Health Point Productions, who will partner with GoodBelly to raise awareness for the film and educate consumers about probiotics.

The North American Tea Championship awarded Choice Organic Teas, Seattle, WA, first place for its Genmaicha tea in the Green Tea Blended/Flavored Tea category. The company also won third place for its Wild Forest Black tea in the Black Tea category. The teas will be showcased in the North American Tea Championship Tasting Winners’ Circle at the World Tea Expo and World Tea Fest in 2013.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2013