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Educating and Informing the Natural Products Industry
Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

2021 Natural Choice Awards Voting Now Open

January 4, 2021 - 8:41am

South Plainfield, N.J. — Attention natural products retailers! Voting has officially opened for the Annual Natural Choice Awards 2021. Every year, natural products retailers choose the products that have had the greatest impact on their businesses by filling out an online ballot that makes it easy to vote on 20 categories in the supplements, foods, HABA, and pet products categories.

Natural products retailers who complete the online ballot are eligible to enter a drawing to have a $100 donation to Vitamin Angels made in your name.

Cast your votes today!

Want to know who won last year? Check out the 2020 winners here!

The post 2021 Natural Choice Awards Voting Now Open appeared first on WholeFoods Magazine.

2020 Dietary Guidelines Released: New Recs for Infants, No Changes to Sugar Intake

December 29, 2020 - 8:07am

Washington, D.C.—The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is out, with recommendations for babies and an unaltered recommendation regarding sugar intake.

The report is published by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), and is required to be based on the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge. It is based on the 2015 edition, and revised with input from the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and public comments.

The latest edition encourages Americans to “Make Every Bite Count” by following a healthy dietary pattern and focusing on nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

The Executive Summary of the report notes three ways the current Dietary Guidelines edition differs from previous editions:

  • The recognition that diet-related chronic diseases, such as CVD, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer are prevalent among Americans, with more than half of adults having one or more diet-related chronic diseases. A fundamental premise of this edition is that “just about everyone” can benefit from shifting to healthier food and beverage choices.
  • It focuses on dietary patterns, and the understanding that nutrients and foods are not consumed in isolation. The 2020-2025 edition carries forward the 2015-2020 edition’s focus on a healthy dietary pattern as a whole, rather than on individual nutrients, foods, or food groups in isolation.
  • The 2020-2025 edition also focuses on a lifespan approach—for the first time since the 1985 edition, the Dietary Guidelines includes recommendations for healthy dietary patterns for infants and toddlers.

The recommendations for infants and toddlers are:

  • For about the first six months of life, feed infants human milk exclusively. They should be fed iron-fortified infant formula during the first year of life when human milk is unavailable. Infants should also take supplemental vitamin D beginning soon after birth.
  • At six months, begin introducing infants to nutrient-dense foods, while continuing to feed them human milk. Infants and toddlers should be introduced to potentially allergenic foods, and should try a variety of foods from all food groups, particularly those rich in iron and zinc.
  • At 12 months, toddlers can be weaned off human milk, although the guidelines note that toddlers can be fed human milk for longer if desired. Toddlers should begin following a healthy dietary pattern at this stage, to continue across the lifespan.

The Scientific Committee’s recommendations were largely included, with two notable exceptions: changes to the amount of added sugar allowed by the guidelines, and changes to the recommended upper limit of alcohol men should drink.

Related: USDA Posts Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Final Report
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Sugary Beverage Consumption on a Downward Trend

Regarding sugars, the 2015-2020 guidelines recommended that no more than 10% of energy come from daily sugars; the Committee recommended that that number drop to 6%. Regarding alcohol, after noting that “drinking less is generally better for drinking more,” the Committee stated that there is evidence that rather than recommending an upper limit of two drinks per day for men, that number should be dropped to one drink per day, matching the upper limit for women.

In an FAQ on the Dietary Guidelines website, USDA and HHS state that “Any revisions to previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines must have sufficient scientific justification, and by law, must be based on the preponderance of scientific and medical knowledge current at the time and not on individual studies or opinion…However, there was not a preponderance of evidence in the Committee’s review of studies since the 2015-2020 edition to substantiate changes to the quantitative limits for either added sugars or alcohol. Thus, the 2020-2025 edition underscores the importance of limiting added sugars and alcohol intake, and carries forward the quantitative limits from the 2015-2020 edition.” USDA and HHS encouraged further research on these topics.

Industry Reactions (Updated 12/30)

Industry groups have spoken out about the new guidelines–largely in support, although the Physicians Committee notes a major issue in need of overhaul.

FMI has released a statement commending the guidelines for promoting connections between food and health. Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, FMI Director of Health and Well-being, commented: “With growing consumer interest in the connection between food and health, there is opportunity to help shoppers make small changes to embrace these science-based recommendations while shopping, cooking and eating. We also commend the agency’s effort to incorporate food safety messaging in the guidelines. The food industry works diligently to deliver a consumer marketplace full of healthy, accessible, nutrient-dense food and beverage choices. Along with education and encouragement by registered dietitians and community health professionals, this can lead to small changes and the gradual adoption of healthy eating habits more closely aligned with the DGAs to ultimately improve overall public health.”

The Natural Products Association (NPA) has released a statement noting that these guidelines are further proof that Congress needs to work harder to make sure that people have access to dietary supplements. “This reinforces what we already know: that access to proper nutrition, especially for children and pregnant mothers, is critical to long-term health,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA. “The next Congress and Administration can do more to ensure Americans have access to products that support their health, and expanding health savings accounts and programs like WIC to include nutritional supplements is the best way to make that happen. This report provides a real world look at how supplements are an integral part of the American diet at all stages of development.”

NPA supports legislation that would expand the SNAP and WIC programs to cover dietary supplements, and supports expanding HSA and FSA to cover money spent on dietary supplements.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition applauded the guidelines in a press release, also pointing to the support they provide for dietary supplements. The document incorporates several of CRN’s recommendations: CRN recommended vitamin D supplementation for breastfed infants, recommended that pregnant and lactating women be advised to seek guidance from a health care provider on appropriate use of dietary supplements, and the guidelines acknowledge that nutrient needs during lactation are different from those during pregnancy, another one of CRN’s recommendations.

“Underconsumption of key nutrients is a public health concern,” said Haiuyen Nguyen, Senior Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at CRN. “We’re pleased to see USDA and HHS recognize certain U.S. population groups do not achieve recommended nutrient levels from dietary intake alone. The Guidelines reflect how dietary supplements can support the health of all Americans.”

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, however, requested that the Dietary Guidelines be retracted and rewritten, as it is likely to maintain high cancer rates in Americans, and particularly in Black Americans.

“Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the Guidelines too hastily. They need to be pulled back and redrafted,” said Susan Levin, MS, RD, CSSD, Director of Nutrition Education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, in a press release. “The Guidelines maintain a racially tinged promotion of dairy products, which are far less healthful than other calcium sources and have been shown to increase the risk of prostate and breast cancer, both of which are particularly deadly in the Black community, as well as an inappropriate emphasis on meat, rather than healthier foods.”

Breast cancer death rates are 40% higher among Black women, compared with white women; Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men, and are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than other men. Research funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Cancer Research Fund found that women who consumed 1 cup of cow’s milk per day had a 50% increased chance for breast cancer. A 2015 meta-analysis found that high intakes of dairy products increase the risk for prostate cancer, and another study found that those who consumed three or more servings of dairy products per day–the current recommendation made by the Dietary Guidelines–had a 141% higher risk of death due to prostate cancer compared to those who consumed less than one serving.

Additionally, the American Medical Association passed a resolution recognizing that lactose intolerance is common among many Americans, especially Black Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, and recommending that the Guidelines indicate that “meat and dairy products are optional.”

Nor is this the first time the Physicians Committee has brought this issue to the attention of the USDA and HHS: The Committee submitted a letter in August 2020 signed by nearly 500 health care professionals making this argument.

The Physicians Committee is calling on the USDA to rework the guidelines, focusing on these three recommendations:

  1. Delete dairy promotions, since dairy products increase cancer risk, while nondairy calcium sources help prevent cancer.
  2. Avoid equating “protein” with meat, as there are abundant sources of protein without meat’s fat and cholesterol.
  3. Increase emphasis on plant-based foods, which are associated with reduced risk of obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

The post 2020 Dietary Guidelines Released: New Recs for Infants, No Changes to Sugar Intake appeared first on WholeFoods Magazine.

SOHO Expo 2020 Takes Place In-Person; Attendee Response “Overwhelmingly Positive”

December 18, 2020 - 9:25am

Orlando, FL—More than 550 industry members, including retailers and exhibitors, gathered in person at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando for SOHO Expo 2020, which took place December 10-13. “show with a Big and Natural Heart.” The trade show and convention has been produced since 1971 by SENPA, a non-profit trade association with proceeds from the show staying within the industry.​​​ The majority of shows were either cancelled or produced virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but SENPA set out to end 2020 on a high note by meeting in person with a commitment to put on the safest show possible.

Attendees wore masks throughout the hotel and show floor. Courtesy of SENPA.

“The SENPA Board of Directors and Staff were tasked with cancelling SOHO Road Shows and rescheduling SOHO Healthfest in Dallas, TX, this year,” Renee Southard, President of SENPA, said in a press release. “All were challenging decisions, but as a team we envisioned the journey to SOHO Expo celebrating 50 years and the only in-person event held in 2020. The board and staff went to work ensuring the safety for all attendees as the top priority for SENPA, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, and The Expo Group. We had all the measures in place to put on a safe show and allow for networking to take place again.”

Social distancing pins helped attendees indicate their comfort level around others. Courtesy of SENPA.

The response from attendees at SOHO Expo 202 was “overwhelmingly positive,” according to a survey by SENPA.  “We are very pleased with the responses we received,” said Debra Short, Executive Director of SENPA, in the release. “Over 85% of our attendees gave us the highest safety scores possible. In addition, over 60% of attendees rated their overall experience as outstanding.”

Praise for the event was shared on SENPA’s social media feed. Lester Burks of Buried Treasure / Life Line Foods and past President of SENPA, said, “I’ve always looked at SOHO as the first show of the year not the last, so it’s the best way to kick off 2021. What retailers buy at this show is for next year’s inventory. We’ve spent more time with people and no one has been hurried. People they are here are serious. We even saw people from the west coast here!”

Exhibitor GoodMoodHealth shared, “This is our first ever trade show and we have loved every minute. The response we’ve had has been great and it has been such an amazing experience. We will definitely be back next year!”

Annual SENPA President’s Award

Frances Drennen, winner of the President’s Award. Courtesy of SENPA.

Each year SENPA honors a special individual or company from within the natural foods community with the President’s Award. This individual or company is honored for making a long-time contribution to the Natural Products Industry above and beyond commercial success. In 2019, the President’s Award Recipient was WholeFoods Magazine’s own Howard Wainer. And in 2020, the award went to Frances Drennen, Partner/Owner at Manna Grocery & Deli.

And while WholeFoods Magazine had hoped to present the WholeFoods Magazine’s 2020 Retailer of the Year award in person at the SOHO event as has been done in year’s past, this year SOHO Expo attendees were able to review a recording of the presentation. Earlier in December, WholeFoods Publisher Heather Wainer made the trip to Weavers Way in Philadelphia to present the Retailer of the Year award to GM Jon Roesser. View the presentation here, and read the feature coverage to learn more the 2020 ROTY here.

SENPA announced that it will follow the same safety protocols at its next show, SOHO Healthfest in Dallas, TX, on April 23-25, 2021. Registration for both exhibitors and retailers is open at senpa.org.

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Study: Vitamin D is the Clue to More Autism Spectrum Disorder in Boys

December 14, 2020 - 7:38am

Australia—New research from The University of Queensland (UQ) determined that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy caused an increase in testosterone in the developing brain of male rats, leading the researchers to suggest that deficiency in Vitamin D on the mother’s side could explain why Autism spectrum disorder is three times more common in boys.

“The biological cause of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is unknown, but we have shown that one of the many risk factors—low vitamin D in mothers—causes an increase in testosterone in the brain of the male foetuses, as well as the maternal blood and amniotic fluid,” said Professor Darryl Eyles, who co-authored the research with Dr. Asad Ali from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute. “In addition to its role in calcium absorption, vitamin D is crucial to many developmental processes. Our research also showed that in vitamin D-deficient male foetuses, an enzyme which breaks down testosterone was silenced and could be contributing to the presence of high testosterone levels.”

Previous research led by Professor Eyles showed that vitamin D plays a critical role in brain development, and that that giving D supplements to mice during pregnancy completely prevented ASD-like traits in their offspring.

Excessive exposure of the developing brain to sex hormones like testosterone was thought to be an underlying cause of ASD, Dr. Ali added in the release, but the reasons remained unclear. “Vitamin D is involved in pathways controlling many sex hormones. When the rat mothers were fed a low vitamin D diet, it caused male foetal brains to have high levels of exposure to testosterone.”

This is the first to show that a known risk factor for ASD alters testosterone in both the foetal brain and the mother’s blood, according to Professor Eyles, who noted that this is one possible contributor to why ASD is more prevalent in males. He added that UQ research only studied one risk factor for ASD (vitamin D deficiency during development). The next step: to look at other possible risk factors, such as maternal stress and hypoxia, to see if those factors have the same effect.

Related:  Vitamin D Equals Healthy Pregnancy, On The Label And In The Aisle
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The post Study: Vitamin D is the Clue to More Autism Spectrum Disorder in Boys appeared first on WholeFoods Magazine.

WholeFoods Magazine Helps Customers & Companies Connect with ELI Codes

December 7, 2020 - 8:19am

South Plainfield, NJWholeFoods has announced a partnership with Cornerstone For Natural, a business management software and enterprise resource planning solutions company, and creator of ELI Codes. Created in 2018 by Ron Klein, the ELI Code technology can be placed on digital or print media, connecting consumers more closely with brands that interest them. Comparable to QR Code technology, ELI Codes are based on UPC numbers, and when scanned by a smartphone, they link to valuable content including images, nutritional information, ingredients, allergens, certifications, weights, dimensions, and more.

Scan this WholeFoods code with your smart-camera!

First in the industry to offer the added value of ELI Codes to print advertisers in the Natural space, WholeFoods readers can now engage with content in a completely new way.  “We are excited to be able to offer our customers and readers this new and innovative option,” says Heather Wainer, Publisher, WholeFoods Magazine. “ELI Codes are a perfect way to bring print to life, delivering the reader a wealth of valuable, targeted information. What might take multiple pages to explain, can now be linked right in the code. And with COVID-19, connecting with brands is more important than ever.”

To engage with the code, readers with smartphones can hold up their camera to the code, and an internet link will pop up. It’s as simple as that, and readers can try it right now.

WholeFoods Magazine advertiser Childlife Nutrition is utilizing ELI codes. “We are excited to utilize this technology to enhance the consumer experience in 2021,” said Karyn McCarthy, VP of Sales + Marketing at Childlife. The code will serve as a new marketing strategy for Childlife’s prospective customers and brand following.

“Communicating rich product content, especially when you are not face-to-face with trading partners is important—especially right now,” adds David Williams, Cornerstone’s EVP of Business Development. “We recognize that our solution will be in more demand now than ever before.”

The post WholeFoods Magazine Helps Customers & Companies Connect with ELI Codes appeared first on WholeFoods Magazine.

Oklahoma Judge Rules Against Upton’s Naturals, PBFA in Plant-Based Labeling Lawsuit

December 4, 2020 - 9:02am

A federal judge in Oklahoma has refused to block a law requiring plant-based foods to relabel their packaging. Upton’s Naturals is appealing the ruling.

In September, the Plant Based Foods Association and Upton’s Naturals, along with the Institute for Justice, filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Oklahoma food labeling law as a violation of the First Amendment.

The Meat Consumer Protection Act, according to a PBFA press release, required a company to include a disclaimer stating that the food is plant-based. The disclaimer would be required to be as large as prominent as the product’s name.

According to Lexology, an Oklahoma federal judge has refused to block the Act. Judge Stephen P. Friot ruled that the Act did not violate the Constitution, and that the labeling of plant-based products is potentially misleading to a reasonable consumer. Lexology quoted Judge Friot as saying: “[w]hile plaintiffs argue that the government cannot make these meat-related terms potentially misleading by virtue of its definition of meat, the court notes that all of the meat-related terms, except burger, are also defined in the Dictionary by Merriam-Webster…to indicate they are animal-based.”

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Food Dive reported that a study from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association found that 55% of consumers thought that products labeled “plant-based” could contain meat or animal byproducts. Worth noting: Only 7% of respondents stated that they believed that plant-based beef “contains meat and there are no restrictions on the amount.” Other respondents believed that plant-based beef may contain animal byproducts, or “can contain small amounts of meat, but is primarily plant-based.” Subjects of the study were asked to look at images from brands including Impossible, Beyond Beef, and LightLife. The study notes that some subjects, looking at an Impossible product with the slogan “Made from Plants, Tastes Like Beef” were confused as to how the product tastes like beef.

Michelle Simon, Founder of PBFA, said in an email: “The Plant Based Foods Association will continue to fight to ensure its members, including Upton’s Naturals, can continue to fairly and accurately label their foods as the First Amendment clearly allows. The Institute for Justice has already noticed an appeal of the preliminary-injunction decision to the Tenth Circuit. We are confident that we have the facts, and the law, on our side.”

Food Dive reports that neither this litigation nor any like it has “come close to fully working its way through the system,” and explains that if and when a final ruling is passed on one of these cases, it will set a precedent for the rest.

The post Oklahoma Judge Rules Against Upton’s Naturals, PBFA in Plant-Based Labeling Lawsuit appeared first on WholeFoods Magazine.