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Industry News
November 10, 2010

Vitamin Retailer News
DHA May Improve Memory in Elderly With Mild Cognitive Impairments
A study published in the November edition of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests that taking docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may improve memory and learning in older adults with mild cognitive impairments. This is promising news for many aging Americans who are searching for options to maintain memory and support overall cognitive health.

The “Memory Improvement with Docosahexaenoic Acid Study” (MIDAS) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effects of DHA on improving cognitive functions in healthy older adults with age-related cognitive decline. The study found that DHA taken for six months improved memory and learning in healthy, older adults with mild memory complaints.

“The results of this study are very encouraging for those consumers concerned about maintaining memory. We know that lower DHA levels are associated with cognitive decline in healthy elderly and Alzheimer’s patients, and higher DHA levels help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Duffy MacKay, ND, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). “Memory loss, dementia and the development of Alzheimer’s disease are prominent health concerns for older individuals. The more we learn about the valuable role DHA plays in supporting brain function, the more options aging Americans have towards managing cognitive decline.”

The MIDAS study was conducted in a total of 485 subjects, aged 55 years and older with a subjective memory complaint and who met criteria for age-related cognitive decline (or “age-associated memory impairment”). Subjects were randomly assigned 900mg/d of algal DHA orally or a placebo for 24 weeks.

“This study reinforces the principle that consumers will reap the most benefit from their DHA supplements—and many supplements—when they are taken over time and before a health concern is imminent,” continued MacKay. “When included as a part of a proactive health regimen that includes a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity and routine visits with a healthcare professional, dietary supplements offer an important tool to help support many systems in the body, including memory and cognitive function.”

Aisle7 Offers Widgets for Retailers
Aisle7® (Portland, OR), a leader in wellness-driven shopper marketing programs for food and drug retail, recently announced the launch of the new Aisle7 ONLINE™ Widget Gallery. Widgets—plug-and-play mini-apps—can be easily placed on a website to inform shoppers of the latest health recommendations, provide shopping ideas and recommend products for health and wellness goals, said the company. They also provide website content producers with a cost-effective solution that auto-updates a page with the latest wellness content without extra development overhead.

Aisle7 has over a dozen new widgets available on health-related topics that span the major supermarket and health food store product categories. Retailers can simply browse the Widget Gallery, select the widget they’d like to use to support their marketing program and place it on their site. The new widgets come in the following formats:

Slideshows: Media-rich presentations engage shoppers with tips and recommendations for top health concerns and goals.
Product Finders: Interactive consumer decision tools connect shoppers with self-care products and improve site conversion.
Favorites and Indexes: Multi-tabbed content containers feature the most important wellness recommendations for a health goal.

The Widget Gallery also includes widgets for campaigns, quick tips and news, providing retailers numerous options to build customized landing pages that support a marketing program. Trend-inspired topics like diabetes prevention, anti-aging and healthy eating are available in multiple widget types to support an existing page or build a new page from scratch to target a specific audience. Retailers can also leverage the Aisle7 Widget Framework to build custom displays and editorial and marketing campaigns.

“We’re excited about the new opportunities the Widget Gallery provides our customers to target their shoppers on the latest wellness topics,” said Jeffrey P. Beyer, CEO of Aisle7. “The Aisle7 ONLINE Widget Gallery allows our customers to both drive higher levels of engagement and improve site conversion for their online wellness marketing programs.”

For more information, visit www.aisle7.net/widgetgallery.

Organic Products Retailer News
Colorado Proves to be Organic �Epicenter�
With more than 200 organic farms in the Colorado and a growing number of businesses dedicated to organic and sustainable products, Colorado is emerging as a center of the organic products industry. Sales of organic products by Colorado companies are estimated at more than $2.5 billion, according to trade group Naturally Boulder, representing approximately 10 percent of overall US sales of organic products, which was valued by the Organic Trade Association at nearly $25 billion in 2009.

Established national organic brand leaders have long called Colorado home, and emerging Colorado businesses are distributing their products nationally. Colorado also has played a pivotal role in the evolution of natural products retailing, with early pioneers such as Boulder-based chains Alfalfa’s Market and Wild Oats Markets paving the way for modern-day, full-service natural foods stores.

Additionally, an innovative economic development initiative, Naturally Boulder, established in 2005 by the City of Boulder, is a unique public-private partnership with a mission to help entrepreneurial natural and organic products companies grow, become profitable and create jobs through networking, resources, education and business mentoring. The organization, with more than 200 business members, specializes in linking young companies with seasoned organic industry advisors.

The state also enjoys favorable organic growing conditions. In 2008, Colorado’s 220 organic farms had farm-gate sales of more than $70 million, according to USDA’s first census of organic production published in February 2010. Like many states across the nation, farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSAs) have seen a dramatic rise, providing a direct market for many organic producers. Leading Colorado organic producers include Grant Family Farms, a 1,200-acre produce farm and CSA in Wellington, and Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss, a 110-acre, fourth-generation family farm known for its organic peaches, apples and other fruit on Colorado’s Western Slope.

“After California, which is by far the No. 1 producer of organic products, Colorado has emerged as a leader in organic farming and organic consumer products,” said Seleyn DeYarus, CEO of Best Organics, a Boulder-based company that sells gift box collections filled with leading local, regional and national organic brands. “As a gift business dedicated to organic and eco-friendly products, we serve as ‘brand ambassadors.’ With educational literature and information, recipients of our gifts around the world are excited to learn about the products and the stories of the companies behind them, as well as how organic products are made and why they are beneficial to health, local economies, and the environment.”

Sustainable Foods Summit to be Held in San Francisco
New horizons for eco-labels and sustainability are the focus of the third edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit, taking place in San Francisco, CA on January 18-19, 2011. The first-ever North American edition of the executive summit explores the evolution of organic, fair trade and other eco-labels in a food industry that is increasingly looking at the triple bottom line.

The summit will cover some of the major sustainability issues in the food industry, including lowering environmental impacts, ethical sourcing, carbon and water footprints, biodiversity preservation and green marketing. Like previous events organized by Organic Monitor, the summit will give case studies of companies that are at the cutting edge of sustainability initiatives.

Pioneering Sustainability Initiatives is the theme of the opening session of the two-day summit. Key papers in this session look at techniques to lower the environmental impact of food products, sustainable agriculture, emerging eco-labels and the potential of a sustainability certification scheme.

Key speakers include Theresa Marquez, chief marketing officer of Organic Valley; Vaughan Lazar, co-founder and president of Pizza Fusion; Meghan Quinlan of Fair Trade USA; Dr. Nasser Abufarha, president of Canaan Fairtrade; Ellen W. Feeney from WhiteWave Foods; and retailer Alex Petrov, general manager of Consumer Brands at Safeway.

With much debate about consumer confusion about eco-labels, a leading research agency will give insights into consumer buyer behavior. Timothy J. Kenyon from GfK Roper Consulting will unravel consumer attitudes, motives and expectations towards eco-labeled foods. Other papers in this session look at sustainability in distribution and logistics, and marketing strategies for ethical brands.

The final session will provide case studies of companies that are going beyond organic practices and pioneering sustainability initiatives; the session starts with an overview of the global market for organic food and drink by Amarjit Sahota, president of Organic Monitor. Finally, Tom Hanlon-Wilde, co-owner of Equal Exchange, will discuss how food companies can successfully combine organic and fair trade practices.

For more information, visit www.sustainablefoodssummit.com.

Nutrition Industry Executive News
NPA Reacts to Election Results

While some races may not be decided for weeks, the natural products industry can begin to take stock of the November 2 election results. “This was the most remarkable election in my 25 years in Washington,” said Natural Products Association (NPA) Executive Director and CEO John Gay, “and the effects will be felt almost immediately.”

Although the new members of Congress won’t take their seats until January, the current Congress gets one more crack at legislating during the “lame duck” session that begins next week. “We’ve been preparing for the possibility that Senators and Representatives soon to be out of power may try to slip their pet proposals into must-pass pieces of legislation, like the spending bill,” said Gay. “We’ll have to keep a watch on them.”

One potential threat is legislation to grant additional enforcement powers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), said NPA. “NPA members helped stop this proposal when Congress was debating the Wall Street Reform Bill this summer, but it could be brought back to life,” said Gay.

Looking ahead to the 112th Congress, Gay sees some significant changes for the industry. “The natural products sector has champions and threats coming from both sides of the aisle, so the fact that one party or the other is in control does not make or break us—the champions and a number of threats remain,” he said. “But the shift in leadership in the House may help as Representative Henry Waxman must now give up the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, although he remains in Congress.”

In the Senate, industry champions such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) remain well positioned to continue their work. One wild card is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who won re-election and will not have to face the voters again for six years. “Will he introduce another version of his Dietary Supplement Safety Act, or will he continue to work with Senator Hatch? That is a key question,” said Gay.

With additional authority unlikely to be granted by the new Congress, NPA expects federal regulators to test the limits of their existing powers. “We support their actions aimed at getting the bad actors out of the market,” said Gay, “but it is a problem if they target the legitimate industry, especially if they go beyond the current law to do so.”

Every election brings new members of Congress to Washington—members who probably do not understand the natural products industry, said the association. “NPA will be reaching out to the newly elected members of Congress and their staffs to begin educating them, but we need the industry’s help,” said Gay. “The more these new Representatives and Senators hear from their constituents about the value of the industry, the better.”

NPA urged retailers and suppliers to come to Washington, DC, for the 2011 Natural Products Day, which likely will take place in March, pending announcement of the Congressional schedule. “Nothing makes a greater impact than a face-to-face meeting with a constituent,” said Gay.

For more information, visit www.npainfo.org.

AB Enzymes, BioSun FFI Enter Distribution Partnership
AB Enzymes (Darmstadt, Germany) and BioSun FFI (Tampa, FL) have signed an agreement that makes BioSun FFI the sole distributor and agent in the Eastern US for fruit juice enzymes.

The new sales and distribution structure will support AB Enzymes’ strategic initiative to further strengthen its presence in the region. It will also, as previously announced, contribute to AB Enzymes’ plans for accelerated growth and superior customer service in North America.

“We have a long business relationship with BioSun FFI, one of the top players in the fruit juice industry in the Eastern USA,” said Joerg Koehler, AB Enzymes’ regional sales director. “BioSun FFI, set up in 1996, is well known for offering great customer service and products by applying over 30 years of fruit processing and enzyme knowledge to create solutions that meet their customers’ key challenges. We believe this is a good fit with the AB Enzymes philosophy.”

“We were looking for a strategic partner who was a reliable, stable and basic manufacturer of enzymes who also had a mission to provide exceptional customer service with a wide variety of products and applications that would complement the vast application skills BioSun FFI exhibits,” said Mark Messersmith, COO and technical director of BioSun FFI. “AB Enzymes fitted this spec perfectly.”

For more information about BioSun FFI, call (888) 524-6786 or visit www.biosunffi.com. To learn more about AB Enzymes, visit www.abenzymes.com.

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