Winner: Clif Bars (and Wines)
Often admired as a model sustainable and socially responsible business, Clif Bars have come off the trail and have gone mainstream. Their lighter Luna bars for women are now available in mini snack sizes, and new Luna Protein ups the fill factor (but is still under 200 calories). There's a natural high-protein Builder's Bar for weightlifters, a sweet and salty treat called Mojo and the new C Bar, made "with only a handful of ingredients." The so-called Clif Family Winery and Farm recently opened in California, with plans for a sustainable vineyard. Early product is promising. (Available widely and at amazon.com.)
People's Choice: Annie's Homegrown
A beloved maker of natural, easy-to-prepare comfort foods since 1989, Annie's Homegrown has been significantly expanding distribution, especially in mainstream stores. The company has recently added new product lines, including granola bars, cereals, crackers, quick "skillet meals" and canned pasta, as well as new flavors of their classic macaroni. (Available widely and at amazon.com.)
Learn more about our 2011 Heart of Green Award winners!
About the Nominees
As Whole Foods has expanded so has its house brand 365 Organic, which is now offered in dozens of product categories, from pizza to cookies. Despite initial resistance from the store's legendary founder, John Mackey, the company has recently embraced Fair Trade, and is now one of the movement's top sellers. Whole Foods' signature coffee, Allegro, is now offered with Fair Trade and organic certification.
Raw Revolution Bars
At the 2010 Natural Products Expo, packaged raw foods were highlighted as a major growth area. Proponents of raw food claim it is higher in nutrients and better for the body, but historically it has tended to be a bit labor intensive or limiting in choices. Raw Revolution's certified organic "live food bars" pack a wallop in a to-go package; new this year are Organic Greens Super Food Bars.
Trader Joe's Brand Products
Counterculture icon Trader Joe's continues its rapid expansion, and these days, the vast majority of packaged products offered by the chain are private label, representing a gradual evolution. The company remains committed to natural ingredients, with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, GMOs or added trans fats allowed. Our recent faves include Mini Brie Bites and the heavenly Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels.
- Brian Clark Howard