The Non-GMO Project

You have the right to know what’s in the food you eat. The most common genetically engineered ingredients — corn, soy and canola oil — find their way into 70 percent of popular processed foods like breakfast cereal, cookies, chips, soda and frozen meals. Get the facts and find non-GMO choices at the Non-GMO Project. Learn more at The Non-GMO Project.

Florida Friendly Landscaping

Learn about Florida-friendly landscaping, pick up some landscaping tips and see examples of landscape designs. Learn how to transform your yard and lawn into a Florida-friendly landscape design. Learn about Florida-friendly plants, including Florida native plants, that require little irrigation or fertilizer, are low maintenance and attract wildlife. Learn more at Florida-Friendly Landscaping.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these creams and sprays. Use the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection but fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin. Learn more at EWG’s Guide to Suncscreens.

This App Helps You Make Healthy Food Choices

The Environmental Working Group has rated more than 80,000 food products to help you make healthier, greener food choices. The EWG Food Scores website and mobile apps rate foods on a scale of 1-10 based on nutrition, ingredient concerns and processing.

Want to know more about the food you eat? With EWG’s easy-to-navigate Food Scores database, you can look up a product, search by company or search by category to view product ratings. You can even see how products rate in comparison to other products in the same category.

Head on over to EWG’s Food Scores website and know more about what you eat.

The Health and Wellness Market is on the Rise

Kerri Krom, Research Director
Women’s Marketing

“More consumers are spending more money on Health and Wellness.” That’s the trend discovered by Women’s Marketing and Rodale in recent study designed to explore the Health and Wellness mindset.

Women’s Marketing recently collaborated with Rodale on original consumer research designed to explore and explain the modern “Health & Wellness” consumer mindset and delve into 2014 wellness trends. Wellness, defined as the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort, is a mindset we believe has seeped into the lives of the everyday woman, and has emerged as a lifestyle here to stay.

Which Product Categories Account for the Increasing Wellness Market Size?

There are several common threads that stand out across the various definitions of wellness. Wellness is multi-dimensional, holistic, changes over time and along a continuum, and is most importantly individual, but also influenced by the environment and community. The next trillion dollar industry globally, the Health & Wellness market space is dominated mostly by beauty and anti-aging product sales at $679 billion, followed by fitness and mind + body exercise ($390 billion) and health eating, nutrition and weight loss sales ($277 billion).

Other product sales that complete the Health & Wellness market are complementary and alternative medicines, wellness tourism, spas, medical tourism and workplace wellness. In the United States alone, women invest $125 billion against their nutrition, $40 billion against alternative medicine and $25 billion against OTC drugs.

The Wellthy Mindset

Wellness, the “new black,” is now a status symbol among consumers, who prioritize maintaining their well-balanced physical and mental health. We are experiencing a phenomenon where health is creeping into all aspects of consumer life and experience. The increase in wellness market size has brands taking notice, adopting the health creep, or consumerization of health. More consumers are gravitating towards products with embedded health benefits that are actually well designed, desirable, accessible, fun, tasty, interesting or storied.

Health & Wellness Industry Trends

Fitness and wearable technology sales (think FitBit, Fuelband and Timex Sport) is up $10 billion to $81.4 billion in wholesale sales in the US as 3.3 million fitness bands and trackers were sold in 2013. The digital fitness category is now a $330 million market, and that is just one of many fitness categories that is experiencing exponential growth. Healthier food sales are seeing serious growth as well, as 73% of consumers have switched to healthier versions of food items. Blenders, juice extractors and citrus juicers are top-growing small kitchen appliance categories.

Just as this consumer is mindful of her fitness and what she puts in her body, she tends to purchase beauty products that are more environmentally friendly. Health & Wellness industry trends reflect this, as organic beauty product sales are expected to grow 74% from 2013 to 2018. Vitamins and supplement sales will reach $13.9 billion by 2018, a 58% increase from 2008.

Not in the heath & wellness market? Think again!

As people around the world become more active in their pursuit of physical, spiritual and emotional well-being, this health creep is forcing every brand to recognize and deliver Health & Wellness marketing by providing comfort, wellness or both. The Health & Wellness market has become important to brands of all kinds, from hotel chains to beauty products.

Download Women’s Marketing’s full Health & Wellness market research presentation.

From Soup to Fries: Amy’s Joins the “Clean” Fast Food Club

In two weeks, an organic farmer at an undisclosed California potato patch will harvest the first crop of potatoes destined for the fryer in the kitchen at the soon-to-launch Amy’s Drive Thru restaurant in Rohnert Park, California. The fast food restaurant with a twist is the brainchild of Amy’s Kitchen, the popular frozen food and soup company.

It took two years, and thousands of pounds of potatoes, to find the right organic variety of potato for fresh-cut french fries cooked in sunflower oil. “Most businesses would go to a company and buy a bunch of frozen potatoes,” says John Paneno, Director of Sourcing at Amy’s Kitchen. “Amy’s started from scratch. We hired experts who could find the best varieties that met our sensory requirements. We had to figure out where they grew best and who is the best farmer to process them. We’re not taking any shortcuts.”

In late June, the meticulously sourced french fries will debut at the official launch of the first Amy’s Drive Thru.

Customers have asked the company’s owners to enter into the restaurant business for two decades, says co-founder and co-CEO Andy Berliner, who oversees the company with his wife, Rachel.

“About four years ago, we decided to do more of a traditional drive-through restaurant, but with organic, vegetarian, pesticide-free, and GMO-free food,” Berliner tells Civil Eats. The menu, which the company says is made with around 95 percent certified organic ingredients, will be familiar to fast food fans: burritos, pizza, shakes, chili, salads, and, of course, French fries.

Creating organic and good-tasting menu items has taken an inordinate amount of work. A task only compounded by the fact that all menu items will be available in regular, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan configurations.

The price point is higher than most fast food, but inline with fast casual chains like Chipotle and Panera. Customers will be able to buy a meal for under $9 and have it delivered within three-and-a-half minutes, a key to drive-thru success.

It’s important to note that the Berliners avoid the term “healthy fast food.” “We’re not calling it healthy because we do use salt and oil,” says Rachel Berliner. “It wouldn’t sell if we weren’t frying it in oil. You have to reach a medium. It just tastes good and it’s clean.”

“Better-for-you,” is how her husband Andy puts it.

As consumer demand for local and organic food continues to skyrocket, the time has never been better for a venture into “clean” fast food. McDonald’s may have changed their tune about kale, but fast food won’t shake its reputation for industrially produced meat, low-quality produce, and large quantities of of fat, sodium, and sugar anytime soon. Now a new breed of restaurants aim to clean up fast food’s reputation–and change the eating habits for legions of Americans along the way. Indeed, Amy’s Drive Thru is part of a larger trend taking place throughout the U.S.
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Bigger Is Not Better

Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, explains how a handful of big organizations controlling our economy is bad for business. There’s a lot to recommend an economy that’s rooted in community:

“Many people are beginning to have a different idea about how the economy ought to operate and act on that idea. We’ve seen these remarkable shifts in just the last few years. The number of farmers markets has more than doubled, we’ve added over 1400 new locally-owned grocery stores, more than 500 independently-owned bookstores have opened, long-dormant factories in New York and San Francisco are filling up with small-scale clothing makers and beer brewers, and more than 600,000 people have moved their accounts from big banks to local banks and credit unions.”

Watch this 15-minute TEDx Talk that sheds light on how to confront corporate power and bring about a new economy.

Apples Top Dirty Dozen List for Fifth Year in a Row

Apples, peaches, and nectarines topped EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce Dirty Dozen™ list of the dirtiest, or most pesticide-contaminated, fruits and vegetables, a new analysis of U.S. government data found. Apples turned up with the highest number of pesticides for the fifth year in a row, while peaches and nectarines moved up to the second and third spots.

Nearly two-thirds of produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and analyzed by EWG for the 2015 Shopper’s Guide contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals, EWG reported. EWG said that USDA tests found a total 165 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetables samples examined in 2013.

“The bottom line is people do not want to eat pesticides with their fruits and vegetables,” said Ken Cook, EWG’s president and cofounder. “That’s why we will continue telling shoppers about agricultural chemicals that turn up on their produce, and we hope we will inform, and ultimately, empower them to eat cleaner.”

Published today, EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ ranked 48 different fruits and vegetables by the total number of pesticides found on them. The guide is based on testing by the USDA and the federal Food and Drug Administration. The information EWG provides is valuable for consumers because pesticides have been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer and lower IQ in children.

The Shopper’s Guide, updated every year since 2004, is broken down into two easy-to-use lists, the Dirty Dozen™ and the Clean Fifteen™. The Dirty Dozen™ list includes the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticide residues, while the Clean 15™ list has the 15 cleanest, or least contaminated produce. Apples tend to have the most pesticides because of the chemicals applied to the crop before and after harvest to preserve them longer the analysts said.

Other produce items on the 2015 Dirty Dozen™ list are strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.

Since leafy greens and hot peppers were frequently contaminated with insecticides that are particularly toxic to human health, EWG highlights these items in its Dirty Dozen Plus™ category.

Avocados were the cleanest item on the list, with only one percent of samples showing any detectable pesticides. Other items on the 2015 Clean Fifteen™ list include sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas (frozen), onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower.

“We are saying, eat your fruits and vegetables,” said Sonya Lunder, EWG’s senior analyst. “But know which ones have the highest amounts of pesticides so you can opt for the organic versions, if available and affordable, or grab a snack off the Clean Fifteen™.”

A recent study shows people who buy organic produce have lower levels of organophosphate insecticides measured in their bodies even though they eat more produce than people who buy mostly conventional grown fruits and vegetables.

EWG analysts use six metrics to rank produce including, the total number of pesticides detected on a crop and the percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides.

Additionally, the rankings are incorporated into the overall produce scores in EWG’s Food Scores: Rate Your Plate database, which houses ingredient and rating information on more than 80,000 foods, including fruits and vegetables. The favorable scores for produce reflect the fact that eating more fruit and vegetables is a healthier choice.

Download the guide as PDF

Tomorrow’s Child

I just posted a video in which Ray Anderson read the poem, Tomorrow’s Child, during his TED Talk about his vision for industrial sustainability. Like many of you, I live my life as sustainably as possible. This poem reinforces why it’s so important to do so.

Tomorrow’s Child
© Glenn Thomas

Without a name; an unseen face
and knowing not your time nor place
Tomorrow’s Child, though yet unborn,
I met you first last Tuesday morn.

A wise friend introduced us two,
and through his sobering point of view
I saw a day that you would see;
a day for you, but not for me

Knowing you has changed my thinking,
for I never had an inkling
That perhaps the things I do
might someday, somehow, threaten you

Tomorrow’s Child, my daughter-son
I’m afraid I’ve just begun
To think of you and of your good,
Though always having known I should.

Begin I will to weigh the cost
of what I squander; what is lost
If ever I forget that you
will someday come to live here too.

The Business Logic of Sustainability

From plunderer to recovering plunderer to America’s greenest CEO, Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Global, left behind a visionary legacy in sustainability.

At his global carpet company, Ray increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional “take / make / waste” industrial system on its head. He shared his powerful vision for sustainable commerce in this 2009 Ted Talk.