Wellness Foods Readers' Choice Awards: Win-Win Situation
Our readers have answered the challenge and made their choices. We present our third annual Readers’ Choice Awards for the best suppliers of nutritional ingredients.
By David Feder, R.D., Editor
Here are the categories we presented for your appraisal, followed by the results. Calcium, Fiber, Inulin, Lutein, Lycopene, Omega Oils, Polyphenols/Green Tea Extracts/Plant Sterols, Soy, Vitamins/Antioxidants and Whey Protein. You’ll notice some new ingredients were added: polyphenols/tea extracts/plant sterols is one new category and antioxidants were added to the vitamin category.
Categories are based on ingredients featured in our editorial lineup, and no ingredient or category is meant in any way as an endorsement of a particular manufacturer.
In the interest of objectivity and simplicity the survey was short, and in the interest of fairness we did not define the designation of “best.” Best was what you, the individual voters, deemed it to be. We assume the ideals of efficacy, service, availability and cost were considered on your part, but all in all, best was what was best for you. These are your choices, through and through.
In calculating the winners, we determined a difference of 2 percent or less to be a statistical tie. This year we also limited categories to first- or second-place winners. In the event of a first-place tie, there was no second-place winner.
For the third-place winners — and also for all those who had a good showing but shared too many votes among all the great companies — we hope you’ll take the words of the late, great Vince Lombardi to heart: “Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything.” Keep up the good work; there’s always next year!
Winner: Purac America Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill. (11%)
- Ashland/Mitsubishi Cos. (Dublin, Ohio (5%)
- Specialty Minerals Inc., Bethlehem, Pa. (5%)
Calcium has gained a lot of attention for its possible role in helping to combat obesity and heart disease, and Purac America Inc. (www.purac.com) — our readers’ number one choice for the mineral — has gained a lot of attention for its calcium. Tying for the red ribbon are Specialty Minerals Inc. (www.mineralstech.com), maker of a number of precipitated calcium carbonates, and Ashland Chemical Co., which sold its calcium division last year to the Mitsubishi Cos. (www.mitsubishi.com).
- International Fiber, North Tonawanda, N.Y. (8%)
- SunOpta, Bedford, Mass. (8%)
Fiber was a tough category, well divided among a number of great companies, but two — International Fiber Corp. (www.ifcfiber.com) and SunOpta Ingredients Inc. (www.sunopta.com) — squeaked ahead of the rest to tie for first place. IFC offers a variety of multi-functional fibers including a number under the JustFiber name. Sun Opta is the world’s leading supplier of oat fiber for the food industry and markets the Canadian Harvest Oat Fiber family of insoluble fiber products.
- Cargill Health and Food Technologies Inc., Minneapolis (16%)
- Sensus America, Monmouth Junction, N.J. (14%)
Cargill‘s (www.cargill.com) Oliggo-Fiber inulin shares a statistical first-place win with Sensus America. Inulin, made from chicory, adds nutritional value while improving taste and texture. Research suggests inulin can help increase calcium absorption and contribute to digestive health. In foods and beverages, inulin can be used as a fat replacer to reduce calories while adding texture and improving mouthfeel.
Sensus America (www.cosun.com), a manufacturer of natural foods and ingredients, produces and markets Frutafit and Frutalose inulin/fructo oligosaccharides for the international food industry.
Winner: Kemin Foods, Des Moines, Iowa (10%)
- BASF Corp., Florham Park, N.J.; (6%)
- DSM Nutritional Products, Parsippany, N.J. (6%)
Lutein is a carotenoid compound critical to eye health. This year, Kemin (www.kemin.com) continues its lutein winning streak with its FloraGlo brand lutein. This powerful antioxidant, used in food and beverage applications as well as vitamin and dietary supplements, too, is derived from a species of high-lutein marigolds cultivated in Thailand.
BASF’s (www.basf.com) Lutein 5% DC powder consists of natural lutein finely dispersed in a matrix of gelatin and sucrose coated with native starch. The product also contains the antioxidants tocopherol, sodium ascorbate and ascorbyl palmitate.
DSM (www.nutraaccess.com) was the first company to synthesize commercial quantities of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, starting more than half a century ago with beta-carotene. Today, DSM produces carotenoids that are nature-identical, having chemical structures and properties indistinguishable from carotenoids found in plants or animals.