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Rodale Institute celebrates its 9th Annual Organic Pioneer Awards dinner while BeyondBrands launches its First Accelerator Class

There will be no commentary this week, as Natural Products Expo East begins today in Baltimore. We will be back next week with a recap and analysis of the show.

If you are at Expo East and would like to say hello, please be sure to stop by the RE Botanicals booth (#8922). I will be there from 1 to 2:30pm tomorrow.

In lieu of my regular commentary, I wanted to share with you two organic-related events that I attended this past week — (1) the Organic Pioneer Awards dinner at Rodale Institute and (2) BeyondBrands’ NYC launch party for its new consumer accelerator program called BeyondSKU.


Rodale Institute, the birthplace of the organic food movement in the U.S., held its 9th annual Organic Pioneer Awards dinner in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Three outstanding contributors to the organic industry were recognized – Jennifer Taylor, PhD, owner of Lola’s Organic Farm and professor at Florida A&M University; Dr. Philip Landrigan, pediatrician and epidemiologist, specializing in the health of children and the effect of toxic chemicals on their brains and nervous systems; and Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, a tremendous advocate for organic in the state.

Rodale is a place unlike any other, and the awards dinner was, as usual, a magical night.

(Pre-dinner cocktail party)

(Jeff Moyer, Executive Director of Rodale Institute, giving everyone a progress update)

(The tractor ride, taking people from the cocktail party to the barn for dinner)

(Heading into the barn for dinner)

(Dr. Andrew Smith, Chief Scientist at Rodale, addressing the crowd at dinner)

(From l. to r., Dr. Jennifer Taylor receiving her award from Diana Martin, Director of Communications at Rodale)



Started by long-time organic industry veterans Eric Schnell and Marci Zaroff, BeyondBrands is a full-service consulting and brand incubation firm for organic and natural CPG companies, and on Monday night in New York, it had a launch party for BeyondSKU, its NYC-based conscious consumer products accelerator program.

At the event, BeyondSKU unveiled its first cohort of companies — True Moringa, Pilot Kombucha, Mud, Jalapa Jar and Hudson Green.

(From l. to r., Eric Schnell and Marci Zaroff, founders of BeyondBrands, and Michelle Thompson and Derick Thompson, co-founders of Startup Runner)

(From l. to r., Jeremiah McElwee, Senior Vice President of Merchandising + Product Development at Thrive Market; Marci Zaroff; Max Goldberg, founder of Organic Insider (me); Autumn Bree, Managing Director of AB Investments and co-founder/partner at BeyondBrands)

With gratitude,

Max Goldberg, Founder

New Organic Products

New Organic Products

Traceable Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Bellucci

Recently launched at Whole Foods Market, the organic extra virgin olive oil by Bellucci utilizes a blockchain-based traceability system. Download the traceability app and the unique lot code imprinted on the label allows you to follow your bottle back to its birthplace in rural Italy. Sourced from a cooperative of farmers, Bellucci is also available in on-the-go squeeze packs.

Mushrooms and Herbs Powder Blends by Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs has introduced three new organic mushrooms & herbs powder blends -- Energy Thrive, Immune Shine and Mind Spring -- that support cognitive, energy and immune health. The blends utilize chaga, cordycep and maitake mushrooms, and they also contain ingredients such as astragalus, elderberry and ginger.

Plant-Based Creamers by MALK Organics

Made with gluten-free whole grain oats and nuts, the plant-based creamers from MALK Organics are made with six ingredients or less and come in three flavors -- unsweetened oat + almond, maple oat and pecan, and unsweetened oat + vanilla almond. No gums, no carrageenan, thickener-free and Glyphosate Residue Free certified.
This Week's News Items

Weekly News Summaries

First Course
The Cornucopia Institute

Report: Organic Fraud from Abroad Continues and the USDA is Not Doing Enough to Stop it

OFARM’s former executive director John Bobbe and Cornucopia’s Anne Ross have joined forces to again impress upon the USDA's National Organic Program that the import crisis is ongoing and that the agency has not done enough to stop it.


Mercaris: Record Organic Production in 2019

According to the Annual Acreage Report released by Mercaris, farmers will harvest 3.1 million acres of U.S. land certified for organic field crop production, an increase of 7 percent over 2018.


Germany to Ban Glyphosate by 2023

By Andreas Rinke and Michelle Martin

Germany will ban the use of the cancer-causing weedkiller glyphosate by the end of 2023 and will limit its use before then.

Produce Retailer

Rabobank: Organic Produce Price Premiums are Sliding

By Tom Karst

According to a report from Rabobank, organic apples, strawberries and bell peppers are among items seeing downward pressure on price, while cantaloupe, table grapes and oranges are holding their premiums better.

Second Course

Alter Eco assembles Eco-Friendly Brand Coalition to Protect the Amazon Rainforest

Led by organic chocolate company Alter Eco, this new Amazon Alliance has committed to protecting 3 million Amazonian trees.

Whole Foods Market

Survey: Quality and Transparent Sourcing Drive Millennial Food Choices

According to a new Whole Foods Market survey, 80% of Millennials value quality when it comes to food shopping, and nearly 70% are willing to spend more money on high-quality foods.

Food Navigator

Organic Faces Very Serious Challenges in Asia

By Pearly Neo

Poor organic branding and a lack of policing are two of the major challenges facing the organic industry in the APAC region today.


Juice Beauty is One of the First Farm-to-Face Brands to Have Their Ingredients Studied by Academia

By Yola Robert

Juice Beauty is being studied by UC-Davis for developing grapes and olives specifically for skin benefits.

Third Course
The Guardian

Why are Industry Players Hiding their Sustainable Initiatives?

By Cassandra Coburn

A look at why some organic food brands and other companies are hiding their sustainability initiatives from consumers.


Use Your Fingerprints for a Faster Check Out at Whole Foods

By Jenny G. Zhang

Amazon is currently testing a system called “Orville” that allows Prime users to scan their hands to ring up a purchase at Whole Foods.

The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute unveils its Cottage Cheese Scorecard

With the cottage cheese industry experiencing a resurgence in popularity, Cornucopia rates more than 100 cottage cheese products from 24 brands.

Fast Company

The New Group of Workers Spreading Organic Pesticides on Crops: Bees

By Ben Paynter

As they leave their hives, the bees get coated with a beneficial fungus that they spread to plants, which has proven to protect fruit from mold.

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This Week's Quick Hits

Quick Hits

* Congrats to Columbia Gorge Organic for 30 years of growing organically.

* In the New York organic restaurant scene, there is plenty of activity.

* London-based Farmacy will have a 6-month residency at Chefs Club Counter in Soho beginning this Friday. Malibu Farm opened in the Seaport, and the upscale Ella is slated for November.

* What’s it like to sell Dr. Bronner’s products? I asked the question.

* Rootwave, an Amazon Innovator award-winner, is using electricity to zap weeds, a method that can be used in organic farming.

* California-based restaurant chain Tocaya Organica has launched Tocaya Life Foundation, a charitable foundation that will invite non-profits to pitch partnership ideas for environmental and social causes.

* An organic farm in Illinois is not only growing produce, but it is also providing critical job training for low-income individuals and people who have criminal records. Since 2006, 85% of the trainees have secured and maintained full-time employment. Very cool!

* Rumiano Cheese Company had a big feature in the NYT.

* Another reason to eat organic — there are now GMO probiotics.

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