From an impressive list of contenders, natural retailers voted for this year’s most outstanding product introductions.
What makes a product a must-have for a retailer? What qualities must it possess for storeowners to make room on their shelves in the first place? Is it filling a category void with an innovative delivery system or ingredient combination? Is it communicating elevated quality control measures and safety standards?
We know for a product to remain on store shelves, it has to meet consumers’ needs and be a repeat seller, but that’s something retailers can only enjoy when consideration is paid to the previously mentioned factors, among others.
For the sixth year in a row, Vitamin Retailer (VR) editors examined products released late 2012 through September 2013—any product that would have made it to retailers’ shelves from the very close of 2012 through today. Sifting through thousands of press releases and reviewing retailer interviews where stellar products were mentioned, we came up with a list of Best New Product Contenders.
Then a pool of retailers weighed in on VR’s picks based on what they have been seeing in their stores, along with what they perceive as innovative, high quality and filling a need. At times, retailers offered write-in nominees for consideration that they felt the VR team may have overlooked. Based on all of that feedback, the list was whittled down to 10 top products, which readers will find highlighted here.
A big thank you to the retailers for their fervent and candid participation, and, of course, a well-deserved congratulations to the winning manufacturers.
Now, here are VR’s Best New Products 2013!
Digest Gold with ATPro
Enzymedica | Venice, FL | (888) 918-1118
Enzymedica super charged its already top-selling digestive formula, Digest Gold (featuring the company’s Thera-blend™ technology), by adding an exclusive blend of nutrients and introducing Digest Gold with ATPro.
ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the body’s energy currency. In the GI tract, ATP plays a key role in signaling timely, proper and complete digestion of food, in part by regulating gastric acid (HCl) and pepsin secretion (a protein-digesting enzyme). It is also vital in the absorption of nutrients through the cell wall.
A combination of aging, exercise, and eating cooked and processed foods can significantly increase the demand to produce large amounts of ATP, thus making it difficult for the body to keep up. ATPro™ technology, Enzymedica’s proprietary combination of ATP, CoQ10, magnesium citrate and alpha lipoic acid, promotes nutrient absorption, improves Hcl availability and decreases the energy demand of digestive processes.
Marge Roman, manager of Stay Healthy! In Las Vegas, NV, said she ordered the new Enzymedica SKU as soon as it was available. “It helps the consumer who wants a product they can feel,” she said, adding that the company provides excellent backing through demos, samples, literature, trainings, “and also supports our radio show.”
According to Summer Auerbach, COO of Rainbow Blossom Natural Foods Market, the five-store chain based in Louisville, KY, carries all sizes and variations of this product and “they all move really well.” Just a bit further north is Syracuse, NY-based Natur-Tyme, which has carried Digest Gold for more than five years. Buyer Laurie Deapo said, “With the addition of the new ATPro, it is a staple on our shelves.”
Baby’s DHA Vegetarian
Nordic Naturals | Watsonville, CA | (800) 662-2544
Baby’s DHA Vegetarian, made exclusively from microalgae, is specially formulated for the specific needs of infants 6 months and older (or as directed by a physician) to ensure they get the DHA they need for healthy development. Non-GMO and hexane-free, Baby’s DHA Vegetarian supports learning and language abilities, as well as healthy brain, eye and nervous system function.
Baby’s DHA Vegetarian offers the same health benefits as Nordic Naturals Baby’s DHA, which is made from the company’s Gold Standard 100 percent Arctic Cod Liver Oil. “We developed a plant-based formulation recognizing that some parents prefer a vegetarian option,” noted Dr. Keri Marshall, Nordic Naturals chief medical officer.
The product is packaged in a 1-oz. Bottle and includes a measured dropper for easy addition to formula or food. And like all Nordic Naturals omega oils, it is third-party tested and surpasses strict international standards for purity and freshness.
Bobbi Elliott, owner/president of Healthy By Nature in Leesburg, VA, brought Baby’s DHA Vegetarian into her store in January 2013. “It’s been a really good seller—my customers love it,” she said.
For Carmela Wolf, wellness manager with Down to Earth Organic & Natural in Honolulu, HI, bringing the product in was an easy decision. “It’s a great product and a great alternative to fish oils,” she said. “Its source, algae, has no mercury or other contaminates, which we certainly don’t want to give to our children.
“Nordic Naturals has been very supportive by offering monthly promotions and participating in our flyer program, helping to make these great quality products more affordable,” Wolf added.
NeoCell | Irvine, CA | (714) 352-0000
Having beautiful and radiant skin has never been so easy—or delicious—with NeoCell Beauty Bursts delivering high absorption beauty nutrients in gourmet soft chews. The collagen chews are specially formulated to nourish the body with nutrients to fight the effects of aging and enhance beauty from the inside out. Two servings contain 2,000 mg of NeoCell’s Super Collagen™ types 1 & 3 for firm, smooth skin and strong hair and nails; 20 mg of hyaluronic acid to help skin stay hydrated; and 20 mg of vitamin C to help boost collagen in the skin. Together, these three nutrients work together to build beautiful skin from the inside out in a delivery form bursting with flavor.
While the product is touted for its beauty-from-within properties, Elliot brought the product into Healthy By Nature “because I felt the difference in my joints within minutes. Although it’s meant for skin, it’s one of those products that has multiple side benefits,” she said.
Auerbach credits Dr. Oz for the product’s success in Rainbow Blossom stores, while Heddy Tabet, owner of A Matter of Health, a chain based in Nanuet, NY, acknowledges delivery, thoughtful packaging and strong placement for sales. “We hang this product all over our supplement department shelves. People read it then buy it,” he said. “When customers can’t swallow pills or drink the liquids, it helps us in offering them a candy with hyaluronic acid. Isn’t that great to have such an option?”
Ideal Omega 3
Barlean’s | Ferndale, WA | (800) 445-3529
Barlean’s calls its Ideal Omega 3 its “one-and-done” solution. Ultra-purified and molecularly distilled, the product was designed to give users an optimal dose of omega-3 (1,030 mg) in just one soft gel per day.
Clinically proven to increase omega-3 levels in the bloodstream and muscle tissue of humans, Barlean’s pharmaceutical-grade Ideal Omega 3 has been certified to the rigorous Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards to ensure sustainability and, like all of the company’s fish oils, has been 5-star rated by IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards Program).
“We added this one as soon as it hit the market,” said Ted Major, regional wellness coordinator with the 10-store MOM’s Organic Market based in Rockville, MD. “Customers have responded well so far due to the concentration and minimal soft gel requirements. Our customers are also in tune with Barlean’s sustainable fishing practices, so this new offering is very sensible for them.”
Similarly, Roman said Stay Healthy! Didn’t waste any time getting Barlean’s Ideal Omega 3 in the store; it’s been carrying the product since its introduction. “Our customers love the one-per-day dose. And we love that Barlean’s supports us as a major sponsor of our daily radio show.”
Nelsons | North Andover, MA | (800) 319-9151
The original natural stress reliever, RESCUE Remedy, was developed by a doctor more than 75 years ago. Nelsons hasn’t altered the formula, but it has offered consumers a new fast-acting delivery format— dissolvable gel capsules—with its RESCUE Pearls. Each Pearl quickly releases one all natural dose of RESCUE Remedy, and provides non-habit forming relief from everyday stressful situations.
A blend of five of the 38 Bach Original Flower Remedies, RESCUE Remedy is perfect for anyone with a “To Do” list, the company stated. Formulated to help users stress less and keep up with life’s demands.
“Rescue Remedy is an effective relaxer,” said Healthy By Nature’s Elliot. “I like the idea of having a new delivery system, which is why I have carried this since its introduction.”
As part of the RESCUE Remedy line of products, A Matter of Health’s Tabet said he has found the pearls to be the best sellers “for the convenience, especially for our customers who travel. We have the product available at each checkout counter in our stores.”
Café Mocha-flavored Amazing Meal
Amazing Grass | Newport Beach, CA | (866) 472-7711
Amazing Meal from Amazing Grass is a USDA-certified organic protein and meal supplement offering 100 percent whole food nutrition with plant-based protein, fruits and vegetables. Raw, gluten-free and with no sugar added, each serving also contains 100 mg of organic caffeine.
Available as a single serving, box of 10 packets, 14.1-oz. or 28.3-oz. canisters, Amazing Meal was updated with a Café Mocha flavor option, which has been warmly received.
According to Tabet, when he first tried Amazing Meal’s Café Mocha, he told the supplement manager that he didn’t feel like he was having a green juice, “but rather a café latte shake.” “Amazing Grass has a home run with this flavor profile. We recently ordered Café Mocha for each of our 10 locations,” said Major. “I love my greens and I love my coffee. Getting them both in one product is a win. I expect this to perform very well in the category, especially once its in rotation in our greens machine demo program.”
Even though Elliot just brought this flavor in to Healthy By Nature, she believes her customers are going to love it. “It’s a good price point and it’s delicious in coconut milk or other milk alternatives.”
While Down to Earth has carried the Amazing Meal line for years because the products are naturally good tasting, Wolf expressed the new flavor—and the company’s ongoing support— doesn’t disappoint. “Amazing Grass helps keep its products affordable by running 25-30 percent off line-drives four times a year, and 25 percent off shippers any time,” she said.
Joint Logic Lozenge
Hyalogic | Riverside, MO | (866) 318-8484
Joint Health is one of the fastest growing supplement categories, and with Hyalogic’s Joint Logic Lozenge, joint health has never been so easy to achieve (or better tasting).
Everyone loses Hyaluronic Acid (HA) as they age or engage in strenuous activity. Naturally occurring HA keeps joints lubricated and functioning properly—it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, and when present in the joint cavity, provides lubrication and shock-absorbing properties. Further, HA offers benefits to the skin, eyes and other body parts.
And it’s these multiple benefits that have caught retailers’ attentions, as well as their customers. “This product is great for the consumer who doesn’t want another pill to swallow. People see results quickly, and the company provides demos, samples, literature and trainings,” said Stay Healthy!’s Roman.
“This is a great product that I have carried since it was introduced,” added Healthy By Nature’s Elliot. “Beyond just taking away pain, there are multiple side benefits my customers are experiencing.”
Down to Earth has carried Hyalogic products for years. “Hyalogic makes excellent HA products, and we brought the lozenges in as soon as they came out,” said Wolf. “While the liquid still sells faster, customers have caught on to the lozenges.”
Traumeel Combo Pack
Heel USA | Albuquerque, NM | (800) 920-9203
According to Major with MOM’s Organic Market, “No first aid set would be complete with Traumeel, and Heel really knocked it out of the park with this combo pack. There is no better performing homeopathic formula for inflammation, and Heel has made the companion sale a no-brainer,” he said, noting the chain added the product to the mix as soon as it became available. “I expect a continued rise in sales of this item as more longtime customers switch to the combo.”
The Traumeel Combo Pack delivers a duo of homeopathic pain relief with tablets and ointment. They work together to relieve minor joint and muscular pain naturally, and to soothe sports injuries and bruising. Traumeel delivers 12 safe, natural, active ingredients in an odorless ointment and pleasant-tasting tablets. The products work without going through the digestive system and are safe for use for more than 10 days.
“For years we have carried the Traumeel in tablet, ointment or cream, and it has been a huge part of our homeopathic goto,” said Natur-Tyme’s Deapo. “Since the combo pack, sales couldn’t be better.”
Nature’s Plus | Melville, NY | (800) 645-9500
Nature’s Plus sought to deliver a new understanding of antioxidants in its line of 23 AgeLoss supplements. According to the company, rather than believing that one antioxidant is essentially the same as another, there are in fact five major classes of free radicals, each with unique characteristics and thus affecting different tissues very differently. For example, olive fruit/leaf hydroxytyrosol, a key AgeLoss ingredient, is fat-soluble and thus capable of functioning in the fatty microenvironments of blood lipids.
The AgeLoss line offers complementary targeted formulas that feature Rejuvabolic technology of customizing antioxidant activity for the most prevalent free radicals for any given tissue or health concern. With formulas tailored for each individual product, the AgeLoss line provides expansive protection to prevent premature aging and age-related disease.
Wolf noted that Nature’s Plus made introducing the product to Down to Earth customers very easy, and the response since bringing in the line about eight months ago has been impressive. “They had good introductory prices and lots of passive sample packets to get them started,” she said. “Many customers had good results from the samples and came back to purchase. We keep getting good feedback on several of the formulas.”
And the product is delivering as promised in A Matter of Health. “This line targets all departments in the human body. Once recommended, customers say it worked and come back for more,” said Tabet.
Best Brain Magnesium
Doctor’s Best Vitamins | San Clemente, CA | (800) 333-6977
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic actions as an enzyme cofactor, and helps to maintain cardiovascular health, normal muscle and nerve function, a steady heartbeat, strong bones, blood sugar and energy metabolism and a healthy immune system. Lesser known are its contributions toward cognitive and brain health.
To that end, Doctor’s Best introduced its Best Brain Magnesium, which features the proprietary Magtein™ magnesium-L-threonate, a compound of magnesium, which is a dietarily essential mineral for the brain connections (synapses) that facilitate learning, memory, attention, etc. Magtein has been shown to effectively raise magnesium levels in the brain, and each two veggie capsule serving contains 2,084 mg.
“The studies on this particular form of magnesium are quite impressive and we have carried this product as soon as it was available,” said Down to Earth’s Wolf. “Doctor’s Best makes it as affordable as possible, which is very helpful since it is a much more costly form of magnesium. The company always does a great job supporting [its] products with EDLP pricing, line-drives, monthly flyer promotions and regular staff trainings.”
Doctor’s Best Dr. Parris Kidd put on a seminar at A Matter of Health about brain food, and Best Brain Magnesium was the center topic. “Since the event, we have been selling this product more than ever before,” said Tabet.
And Deapo appreciates the relationship between Natur-Tyme and the company. “We get great support from Doctor’s Best,” she said. “We have carried this for about a year. While it is still fairly new, it is gaining popularity.”