The ballots have been cast and the votes are in! The content team at SN sister brand the New Hope Network and a panel of industry judges have chosen 25 NEXTY Award winners from Natural Products Expo East 2016. The products show creative thinking and execution; adhere to a mission with wide-reaching potential; or take a new approach to clean ingredients, sustainability or transparency.
Best New Organic Food
Lotus Foods Organic Red Rice
What’s so great about this single-ingredient product? While it may appear to be your run-of-the mill rice, this ain’t no normal grain. Grown in Madagascar, a hotspot for biodiversity (think lemurs!), this crimson rice is grown via System of Rice Intensification, a way of cultivating rice that can double and triple yields using 50 percent less water, less or no chemical inputs and 80 to 90 percent fewer seeds. Lotus Foods calls this method “More Crop Per Drop,” and says that such higher yields and premiums for organic incentivizes farmers to grow in an environmentally responsible manner. Oh, and did we mention that this rice is nutty, sweet and uniquely delicious?
Best New Organic Beverage
REBBL Super Herbs Elixirs
It’s rare to find a functional beverage that tastes like a treat, but REBBL’s trio of new elixirs fit the bill in taste and efficacy. Each flavor testers deemed finalist-worthy (which include Matcha Latte, Turmeric Golden-Milk and Maca Cold-Brew) infuses organic coconut milk with a bona fide herb normally found in supplements or in chalky, unappealing smoothie boosters. For example, the 120-calorie Turmeric Golden-Milk contains 1,500 mg of consciously sourced turmeric, along with honey, vanilla extract, ginger and even black pepper fruit extract, an ingredient that can improve the bioavailability of turmeric’s active compound, curcumin. That’s all well and good, but REBBL truly captured our hearts with their collaboration with Not For Sale, an organization that works to end human trafficking.
Best New Beverage
Is soup the next drink? Is savory really a flavor for a beverage? Tio Gazpacho answers a resounding yes to both questions. It tastes about like you’d expect of a drink with “gazpacho” in the name, but the surprise is how refreshing it feels to sip soup from a bottle. Maybe it’s the recipe or maybe it’s the presentation, but Tio Gazpacho will open the soup-as-beverage category to many a curious consumer.
Best New Packaged Food
Michele’s Granola Ginger Hemp Granola
Michele Tsucalas’s company makes chunky, flavorful granola with on-trend ingredients like hemp and ginger, and packages it in a way that conveys it’s made in small batches. It’s also commendable that its bakery is powered with 100 percent windpower. Michele’s Granola donates 1 percent of its sales to support local food producers and organizations in its home state of Maryland — proof that small companies can make a difference.
Best New Frozen Product
Bonafide Provisions Restorative Bone Broth
Bone broth is hot, and likely to gain more attention as consumers learn the healing benefits of this pure and natural sippable. Bonafide Provisions solidifies broth as a category by freezing it, which makes it accessible to those not yet ready to delve into simmering bones for a day or two themselves. We love that the company commits to sourcing only farm-raised, 100 percent grass fed-and-finished beef bones and free-roaming chickens. It carries the USDA Organic certification proudly.
Best New Meat or Seafood Product
Milton’s Local Bacon Sausage
Milton's Local retail line debuted at Natural Products Expo East in 2015 with their thick-cut bacon. When the bacon is packaged, its ends are trimmed to maintain consistency. In their effort to maintain sustainability and reduce food waste, Milton’s Local captures all that flavorful goodness and re-grinds the bacon ends with other all-natural ground pork and spices to make a premium sausage that features flavorful bits of crispy bacon. Milton’s Local products are raised on multi-generational family farms without the use of antibiotics, hormones or steroids and they don’t use any artificial nitrates, nitrites, gluten or MSG.
Best New Meat Alternative
Good Seed Curried Sweet Potato Hempseed Burger
This line of culinary-driven veggie burgers are grain-free, paleo-friendly, whole-food alternative burgers with full flavor and impeccable quality. The nutrient-dense patties include sprouted lentils, fresh beets, sea veggies and cauliflower with superfood herbs, such as turmeric and ginger. Good Seed is pioneering the ways in which hemp, a sustainable and easily digestible ingredient, is showcased with unique flavor profiles.
Best New Snack
This innovative snack caught our eye and tastebuds with its clean label. JicaChips are the first-ever chip made from the nutrient-dense root vegetable jicama. These gluten-free, non-GMO chips have 30 percent fewer calories, five times more fiber and 80 percent less fat than most potato chips. With this kind of label, we didn’t feel bad about polishing off a whole bag in one sitting. We also loved the simple and visually appealing packaging.
Best New Special Diet Food
Kite Hill Vegan Ricotta Cheese
“The cultured man is an artist,” said anthropologist Ashley Montagu, “an artist in humanity.” The humanity of plant-based diets is elevated by Kite Hill’s vegan cheeses. The secret is in the cultured almond milk, and from it comes a fine fresh ricotta as buoyant as any. On a cracker drizzled with honey, or baked into a lasagna, it shows that making cheese is about art, not udders.
Best New Condiment
Maple Guild Organic Maple Cream
Love 100 percent pure Vermont maple syrup? The Maple Guild’s Organic Maple Cream is a spreadable version of this breakfast staple. The single-ingredient syrup is delicately spun into a cream consistency, showcasing maple in a way not often seen outside of New England. The unique steam-crafted method used to make their maple products is what really stood out to us.
Best New Sweet or Dessert
Pure Genius Deep Chocolate Brownie & Chocolate Chunk Blondie
These rich, fudgy brownies and blondies from Pure Genius are deceivingly healthy. Made with more than 40 percent chickpeas, these desserts are packed with fiber and protein and just 11 grams of sugar. They’re gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, soy-free, non-GMO and kosher, appealing to almost anyone with dietary concerns. Boasting an extremely clean label, these decadent treats are on our radar.
Best New Beauty Product
Goddess Garden Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum
As more consumers recognize the importance of sun care to healthy aging, their focus is turning to the quality of the products and ingredients they put on their bodies to protect from UV rays. And product opportunities in the category don’t end at sunscreen. Standout mineral sun care brand Goddess Garden is becoming a go-to not just for mineral sunscreen but also safe skin care solutions such as this well formulated product, which replenishes key vitamins that skin can lose as a result of sun exposure. Its all-star plant-based lineup includes rosehip and marula oils, lycopene and baobab.
Best New Supplement
Supporting healthy blood-sugar balance has seen few supplement strategies over the years, but Sucontral D from Terry Naturally tackles this issue by supporting insulin function with a formula powered by the botanical Hintonia latiflora, along with added co-factors. We love seeing a new entrant into the blood sugar-support space as until now there has been scant supplement support beyond chromium. And for a mere 60 cents daily, those challenged with maintaining health blood-sugar levels can benefit by this innovative formula that has been studied in Germany for decades—human clinical trials that show it supports healthy blood-sugar levels throughout the day, healthy insulin function, healthy A1c (hemoglobin functionality) levels, and proper carbohydrate metabolism.
Best Condition-Specific Supplement
Vibrant Health Vibrant Flora: Improved Bowel Support
Gut flora and the microbiome are pretty big news these days. We know that healthy microflora is key for not only digestion but even immune support. Clinically formulated Vibrant Health Vibrant Flora packs the probiotic punch with 100 billion live cultures per serving. And in case you missed the entendre, the product name sub-head Improved Bowel Support provides a subtle reference to a health claim with a wink and nod. Vibrant Flora retains its activity with the inclusion of broad spectrum prebiotics and includes eight different probiotic strains and a host of additional ingredients in the formula that support normal bowel health. Gluten free, non-GMO, easy to consume daily—the tasty powder mixes with water, Vibrant Flora provides innovative comprehensive bowel and digestive support.
Best Supplement Delivery Format
Redd Remedies Curcumin C3 Reduct Chewable
Everybody today wants curcumin. That’s good news, because we’ve been trying to inform the public for a decade how chronic, low-level inflammation is the root of all degenerative diseases. Curcumin stands out as the benchmark ingredient to address all that silent inflammation. These chewable tablets are great for pill-weary adults and kids, plus it’s got a tasty cinnamon flavor that adds an element of joy to the palate. But if you’re wondering what your teeth are going to look like after chewing on the golden-yellow curcumin, rest easy. Ingredient supplier Sabinsa, based in India, recently rolled out Curcumin C3 Reduct – a curcuminoid ingredient that is colorless, non-staining, plus non-GMO to boot. All the benefits, none of the color. Launched in March 2016, this is the first chewable curcumin on the market.
Best New Natural Living Product
Elyptol Antimicrobial Hand Gel Sanitizer
The harsh chemicals common in conventional hand sanitizers may kill germs, but they’ve also been linked to allergies, hormone disruption and even antibiotic resistance. Recently launched in North America, Elyptol offers a full range of natural skin sanitization products that effectively kill 99.99 percent of germs with a clean, safe botanical formula. Naturally sourced pure ethanol (produced by grains and sugar cane) is combined with eucalyptus oil and organic moisturizing ingredients to nourish skin while it sanitizes.
Best New Natural Kid's Product
Cocokind Organic Baby Line
Cocokind's reputation for clean beauty products carries on through their newly debuted line of baby products: Cocokind Calming Powder, Soothing Salve and Cocokind Baby Oil. The line boasts only four ingredients: organic virgin coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, organic jojoba oil and infused organic chamomile flowers that result in a light, softly scented, moisture locking feel. The simple ingredient list reaffirms Cocokind’s commitment to transparency and delivers a reassuring product that both baby and parent can enjoy. We love the familiar branding and formulaic consistency and that the company’s products are USDA Certified Organic, fair trade, non-GMO and vegan.
Best New Packaging Innovation
Eco Lips, Inc. POGO
We already loved this Certified B Corporation for its commitments organic ingredients and renewable energy, but its new product gave us even more reasons. POGO comprises a refillable lip balm applicator made from 100 percent recycled content that comes with a variety of organic, fair trade certified, non-GMO, gluten free and cruelty free balms sticks that fit in it.
Best Transparently Sourced Product
Sol Simple, LLC Solar Dried Organic Mangos
Sun-ripened and solar-dried, these additive-free snacks are sweet, tasty and tender. Yet while that’s the beginning and the end of the story, the middle is a rich narrative of farmer relationships. The company is there “every step of the way,” they say, “from seed to shelf,” working directly with Nicaraguan farmers on each batch—a story told well on every bag. The flavor is only part of the sweet simplicity of Sol Simple.
Best New Mission-Based Product
RUNA Mint Honeysucle Ready to Drink Tea
RUNA’s unsweetened tea is delicious with its subtle honeysuckle sweetness. What we appreciate most, though, is RUNA’s deep commitment to the Amazonian rainforest and its indigenous communities. Runa’s commitment to creating both sustainable incomes for indigenous farmers and rainforest preservation are clear in its story and reinforced through both its for-profit business and not-for-profit organization.
Editors' Choice – Best New Natural Living Product
EcoSouLife Bamboo Eco Table tableware
With more than 50 percent of plastics being single-use throw-away products, it’s no surprise the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. EcoSouLife seeks to reduce people’s over-reliance on plastic with the range of sustainable tableware. We were especially impressed with their line of biodegradable bamboo tableware made from plant fibers, including bamboo and cornstarch, as well as the potential impact of products such as these being worked into food service. The line stands up to high-heat washing and is completely biodegradable in two to three years.
Editors' Choice – Best New Beverage
Repurposed Pod Cacao Juice
This new company is dedicated to repurposing the fruit that brings you chocolate—the wonderfully profuse cacao plant. The fruity white pulp that hugs the cacao beans inside each pod has been largely a waste product—90 percent of it is wasted in the chocolate-making process. Repurposed Pod claims this pulp is bursting with antioxidants and polyphenols that makes a mouthwatering, tart and sweet juice. Not only that, but by creating more products from the same harvest, this company can provide health, nutrition and dental care, as well as pay bonuses to Ecuadorian farmers.
Editors' Choice – Best New Supplement
Ora Just Take Everything Women’s Multivitamin
Whole-food supplements are really resonating with consumers. USDA Organic certification, of course, has been attracting consumers for years. But whole-food, organic, non-GMO, plant-based, gluten-free supplement formulations are a real trick. As if that wasn’t enough, what really attracted us to the brand (they have multis aimed at women and men, in capsules or powder, as well as probiotics, protein and omega SKUs) is the nutritional dose. It’s hard to get 100 percent of the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals in whole-food formulations, but the formulation chef (you heard that right) did it, and did it tastefully. That’s right: put some powder in your favorite drink and it’s all nutritionally dense yumminess. Their labels are pretty tasteful, too.
Editors' Choice – Best New Beauty Product
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant
Despite vibrant growth in the natural and organic personal care category, a natural deodorant that actually works has remained the Holy Grail, forcing the greenest of shoppers to rely on products that contain less-than ideal ingredients. The door was wide open; so Schmidt’s entered (smelling great, of course) with a nontoxic, vegan and truly natural product that can withstand heat, humidity and, yes, even early-morning Crossfit classes. The formula of arrowroot powder, baking soda and a blend of oils and butters is proof that when executed with impeccable precision, simplicity can lead to the greatest breakthroughs of all. A game changer!
Editors' Choice – Best New Food
This new product fills a need in the special-diet category for the growing-in-popularity keto diet enthusiast. The nutritional keto diet focuses on high-fat and very low-carb intake with the purpose of putting the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Cave Shakes are keto-approved, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free dessert shakes made from organic coconut milk and loaded with MCTs. The shakes come in three delicious flavors (chocolate, vanilla, coffee) and each serving has nearly 320 calories, 32 grams of mostly saturated fat, just 6 to 7 grams of carbohydrate and 2 to 3 grams of protein. The full jar, which seems like a single serving to us, contains 450 calories, 45 grams of fat, 8 grams of carb and 4 grams of protein.