{PR Newswire} Boston Public Schools Selects Revolution Foods as Pre-Made Meal Provider for Breakfast and Lunch

New partner will deliver fresh meals made with all-natural ingredients, expand access for students

BOSTON, July 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston Public Schools (BPS) announced today that Revolution Foods, a national school meal provider focused on transforming the way America eats by providing access to healthy, affordable meals to students and families, has been selected as the district's pre-made breakfast and lunch provider through 2020.

Revolution Foods, which has a strong track record of providing high-quality, delicious food to schools throughout the U.S., ensures that all of its meals adhere to "clean label" standards. This means that they are made from wholesome, all-natural ingredients free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and additives. All of its meals are fresh, which will essentially eliminate the district's use of frozen food. Additionally, Revolution Foods utilizes fresh local and regional produce, high quality proteins, rBST (growth hormone)-free dairy products from local dairies, and prohibits the use of high fructose corn syrup and trans fats.

"For many students, the meals they receive at school are their most nutritious of the day," said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. "Revolution Foods embraces our nationally-recognized efforts of making sure every student has access to healthy foods in order to be well fed and ready to learn. I am excited that Boston Public Schools and Revolution Foods will work together to ensure all students get the healthiest and tastiest meals they deserve to help them better achieve their academic potential."

Revolution Foods is committed to providing minimally processed meals that are prepared fresh and delivered refrigerated — virtually eliminating the district's reliance on frozen food. Only about 1% of the BPS food inventory will be frozen, and even then it will adhere to clean-label standards and only be used in cases of emergency. 

"Our mission is to create lifelong healthy eaters and it starts by introducing a variety of healthy ingredients and culturally relevant menu items that drive student consumption," said Kristin Groos Richmond, CEO and founder of Revolution Foods. "Revolution Foods is the only company on a national level to offer a clean-label supply chain and student-inspired, chef-crafted meals. We are incredibly honored to serve the Boston Public Schools community. We are committed to being a strong partner in setting all BPS students up for success each day."

The company currently serves 2 million meals a week to more than 22 school districts throughout the U.S, including San Francisco, Austin, Texas, Newark, N.J., Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. It also serves more than 15,000 meals a day at 25 school campuses throughout Massachusetts.

Revolution Foods will build on its current relationships with local and national partners, such as Commonwealth Kitchen, Community Servings, Food Corps, Let's Talk About Food, and Share Our Strength/Cooking Matters, to help facilitate the distribution of fresh food and nutrition education for parents, teachers and students. It will also utilize the Rosev Dairy facility in Chelsea to facilitate distribution each day.

"Revolution Foods will be a strong partner as Boston Public Schools continues to make strides in expanding accessibility of healthy, delicious meals to all students," said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill. "Revolution Foods' strong commitment to community outreach and ensuring the healthiest possible meals is particularly encouraging."

Recognized for its active outreach to families, Revolution Foods will bring to Boston a robust community engagement program that includes "Back-to-School Nights," community open houses, staff training, student/school food tasting events, and participation in local "Let's Talk About Food" events.

Each of these will provide BPS students and families an opportunity to discuss community needs, share feedback related to nutrition and taste standards, and sample meals through regular taste-testing. The goal is to use the family feedback to help develop innovative and culturally relevant menu items tailored to each school community based on family feedback.

Revolution Foods is also committed to working with BPS on exploring all options to increase participation in both breakfast and lunch.  The company recently implemented a successful "Breakfast in the Classroom" program in San Francisco in which students eat after the morning bell. The program positively impacted student test scores, attendance levels/tardiness, behavior and ability to focus as well as healthy habits and increased meal participation.

"Revolution Foods shares our vision of ensuring all students have access to healthy food," said Laura Benavidez, Executive Director of the BPS Food and Nutrition Department. "We look forward to working with Revolution Foods as we find innovative ways to expand menu choices and opportunities for students and families."

Through its partnership with BPS, Revolution Foods is creating 35 new jobs in the Boston area. Revolution Foods was selected following a thorough review process that included BPS parents, school staff, community members, and a member of the City's Finance Commission.

The Boston Public Schools (BPS), the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves nearly 57,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 125 schools. BPS is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families, and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career, and life.

Founded in 2006 by two moms on a mission to transform the way America eats, Revolution Foods set out to solve the problem of limited access to healthy meals. The company's innovative approach began with serving freshly prepared, healthy meals to students in schools nationwide, and the company is now serving over two million school meals every week in 15 states. Parent and student demand for Revolution Foods products inspired the company to expand to the grocery store aisles and the company now offers a full line of healthy, ready-to-eat, on-the-go meals and snacks to nourish families throughout the day across breakfast, lunch and dinner. Revolution Foods meals and snacks can now also be found in more than 4,000 grocery stores nationwide, including Safeway, Target, Whole Foods, Acme, Harris Teeter, Shaw's and Hannaford as well as Amazon.com. Revolution Foods believes in bringing things full circle – one percent of retail sales are donated to schools through the company's "Feeding Good Fund," which provides grants to schools who need equipment to serve freshly prepared meals to their students. Revolution Foods was listed in 2015 among Fast Company's 50 Most Innovative Companies.

Press Release for Revolution Foods by Ditas Mauricio

{Los Angeles Business Journal} Diet Soda Maker’s Online Sales Shake Up Sector

BEVERAGES: Zevia bested all competitors except Coke with healthier alternatives.

Azero-calorie soda company is rising to the top in online sales as American consumers thirst for healthier alternatives.

Zevia, which sweetens its drinks with sugar substitute stevia, sold more of its branded soda online in the United States than any other brand except Coca-Cola for the year ended in February, according to a new report from New York industry analytics firm 1010data.

Sales of the Encino company’s drinks made up 17 percent of the online market, compared with 22 percent for the Coca-Cola Co.’s flagship beverage. The next closest was Pepsi with 12 percent. The report didn’t include sales numbers.

Paddy Spence, Zevia’s chief executive, said the internet provides the company a more level playing field than retail stores, where industry giants have strong relationships with distributors. His company generated less than $200 million in revenue last year.

Spence also said it is a sign of things to come as customers’ tastes change.

“The online market tends to skew younger than brick-and-mortar,” Spence, 50, said. “We see it as a leading indicator of what we’re going to see down the road. Younger shoppers are more focused on better-for-you products.”

The amount of soda consumed by Americans on average declined to a 30-year low in 2015, according to data from Beverage Digest. In response, big soda makers are buying startups selling healthier offerings.

Coca-Cola, which reported almost $42 billion in net operating revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, bought L.A.’s Zico Coconut Water in 2013 for an undisclosed amount. Last year, Pepsico Inc., which generated almost $63 billion over the same period, announced that it would acquire Oxnard kombucha maker KeVita, founded in 2009, for a reported $200 million.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which had net sales of $6.4 billion, acquired Bai Brands, a maker of flavored waters, tea, and soda, for $1.7 billion last year.

Since Spence bought Zevia, founded in 2007, with Syosset, N.Y.’s Northwood Ventures in 2010, sales have multiplied tenfold, he said.

In addition to Spence and Northwood, the company is co-owned by the management team and Seattle family office Laird Norton Co. Although it has less than 50 employees, Zevia outgrew its space in Culver City and moved to Encino two years ago. The company produces its drinks at 12 manufacturing plants around the country.

The rapid growth has prompted offers for acquisitions, Spence said, but Zevia is considering an initial public offering.

The company’s introduction in recent years of flavored sparkling water and energy drinks means consumers can drink Zevia beverages during every part of the day, he said.

“Now we have something for every member of the family from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep,” he said. “It’s a pretty neat place to be as a company.”

Beyond El Segundo

Beyond Meat, an El Segundo maker of a meat alternative, is increasing its reach with a deal to be distributed in 280 Safeway Inc. stores in Northern California, northern Nevada, and Hawaii.

The company, founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown, announced the news last week. Its patties made of peas are also available in certain Ralphs, Whole Foods Markets, and other outlets. The company started selling its Beyond Burgers in Whole Foods in May of last year, according to a spokeswoman’s email.

The company has raised $17 million from investors including Bill Gates, General Mills, Tyson Foods, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Safeway is owned by New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

Fancying a Change

A local gourmet ice-cream maker has left the San Fernando Valley for downtown.

Nancy’s Fancy, founded by Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery in 2015, moved from the North Valley into a 6,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Arts District, the company announced last week.

“Having a new, much larger facility designed specifically for the product will give us the opportunity to do some things I’ve been wanting to do, such as expand the flavor line and possibly add toppings and sauces,” Silverton said in a statement. “The thriving neighborhood also makes our new location ideal for a scoop shop.”

The facility was previously occupied by New York chocolate maker Mast Brothers, who moved out less than a year after moving in, Nancy’s Fancy said.

The company’s gelatos and sorbettos are sold at Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, and Gelson’s.

By Caroline Anderson for Los Angeles Business Journal

{Greentechmedia.com} Choose Energy, a KPCB-Funded Retail Choice Platform, Acquired by Red Ventures for ‘Less Than $100M’

A rare successful (?) exit for a VC-funded greentech company.

Digital advertising firm Red Ventures just acquired Plano, Texas-based Choose Energy for "less than $100 million," according to Dan Primack's Pro Rata newsletter. (We'd like to know just how much "less than $100 million" is, and we're asking around.)

Choose Energy is a retail energy choice platform that allows residential and commercial electricity and natural-gas customers (in non-regulated states) to select a cheaper or cleaner energy provider. Jerry Dyess is CEO and founded the firm in 2006.

The retail-choice company claims a sophisticated online strategy on its website: "Historically, retail energy companies have gained customers via acquisition channels like door-to-door, telemarketing and multi-level marketing networks. More recently, the greater volume of customers embracing retail energy choice has come from online and digital channels -- creating a more competitive landscape and a more informed customer."

As GTM has reported, the number of residential customers choosing their electricity source has grown considerably in recent years, and today there are more than 16 million accounts with competitive suppliers. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia are deregulated to allow consumers to select their electricity supplier.

Katie Tweed points out: "Whether the regulated or deregulated construct is the best approach depends in part on what the state is trying to accomplish. In New York, it's about creating an energy market at the distribution level. In Hawaii, it's about integrating very high levels of renewable energy."

The CEO of acquirer Red Ventures, Ric Elias, founded the digital marketing firm in 2000. Based in North Carolina, the firm specializes in "performance-based digital marketing." (Elias was a survivor of Flight 1549, the "miracle on the Hudson," and has given a TED talk recounting his experience.)

Primack notes that private equity firms Silver Lake and General Atlantic invested $250 million into Red Ventures in 2015. Last year, Red Ventures closed an $800 million credit facility, evidently to finance purchases like Choose Energy.

Choose Energy raised at least $25.7 million from investors, including Kleiner Perkins, BlueScape Resources, Sandler Capital and NGEN Partners. KP's investment in Choose came from the VC firm’s $1 billion green investment fund. We've asked KPCB partner David Mount for a comment and are awaiting his response.

Choose claims that its website has "helped over 100,000 consumers and business owners shop for and switch energy suppliers and plans." The company was profitable with “double-digit millions” in revenue, according to a Primack source.

Quick -- name six cleantech-funded VC-startup acquisition exits that would qualify as successful. "Successful" in this context means that in addition to a VC-quality multiple, the acquired firm continued to provide value after the exit was complete.

I'll start the list.

  1. Zep Solar (acquired by SolarCity)
  2. Nest (acquired by Google)

You can finish the list in the comment section.

By Eric Wesoff for Greentechmedia.com


Swarm Logic® integration with Zen HQ adds intelligent energy management features to further curb building energy usage and benefit customer bottom lines

NEWPORT BEACH and SAN MARCOS, Calif. — June 14, 2017 – Zen Ecosystems and Encycle today announced a partnership to bring Encycle’s Swarm Logic offering to the Zen HQZen HQ intelligent energy management platform. Zen HQ’s smart thermostats will leverage Swarm Logic energy optimization technology, which will further reduce customers’ electricity and maintenance costs by synchronizing and streamlining the operation of rooftop air handling units (RTUs) and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

Zen HQ enables organizations to cut electricity costs through robust controls for HVAC, demand response, lighting and energy consumption. Swarm Logic brings cloud-based enhanced demand management capabilities to the Zen HQ offering through additional control over power-hungry RTUs at the site level; it establishes a wireless network among RTUs that enables the units to communicate among themselves autonomously and efficiently respond to demand by spreading energy consumption more logically among individual units. Swarm Logic also measures the power consumption of each RTU, providing the intelligence needed to proactively pinpoint inefficiencies and allow building managers to cut maintenance costs and extend the life of building equipment.

The combined Zen HQ and Encycle solution set has been deployed thus far with two Zen HQ customers, National Stores and WSS, California-based retailers with a national presence. National Stores and WSS have already realized a 15-20 percent reduction in peak demand charges, on top of the 15-25 percent energy savings achieved by Zen HQ alone, demonstrating the synergy of the two technologies. 

“Swarm Logic is a perfect cloud-based energy management complement to the Zen HQ offering,” said Robert Chiste, President and CEO, Encycle. “Integrating Zen HQ’s smart thermostats with our elegant cloud-based EASE™ (Energy as a Service by Encycle™) solution provides Zen HQ customers additional demand management benefits with ‘set and forget’ convenience that can help bring annual energy costs down 15-25 percent. In addition, there’s no need to install additional equipment on site. Energy saving has never been this easy or effective.”

Additional features of Zen HQ include:

· An integrated platform to view, control and schedule heating, cooling, lighting, and energy usage across single or multiple sites.

· Partial or full lockout controls that prevent on-site deviations from schedules.

· Demand response capabilities through OpenADR and utility certifications.                                 

“Zen HQ has proven itself as a provider of unprecedented energy control and ROI for businesses of all sizes and footprints,” said James McPhail, CEO, Zen Ecosystems. “Zen’s success is largely due to our relentless focus on simplicity. By integrating Swarm Logic technology without disrupting customers, they’re able to further benefit from this ‘better together’ relationship that delivers even greater energy management features, and ultimately, cost savings.”                                           

About Zen Ecosystems                                                                         

Zen Ecosystems (Zen) provides intelligent energy management solutions to businesses and consumers. Zen HQ is an energy management system designed for the unique needs of businesses and utilities to provide insights and control over multisite commercial energy usage while delivering the fastest payback in the market. The Zen Thermostat is a beautiful, simple connected device for home and business that also enables multi system operators to enhance the customer experience. Learn more at http://zenecosystems.com/

About Encycle

Encycle Corp. is focused on helping commercial and industrial customers achieve dramatic improvements in the efficiency of their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The company’s multi-patented Swarm Logic® energy management technology is at the heart of the company’s solution set, leveraging the elegant simplicity of honey bee-inspired biomimicry to establish a wireless network among HVAC rooftop units (RTUs) that enables them to communicate among themselves autonomously.

A long and growing list of the world’s most-respected and sustainable companies depend on Swarm Logic to maximize energy efficiency, cut electricity costs, participate in demand response programs, reduce carbon emissions and reduce HVAC maintenance costs. Companies using the technology have reduced HVAC electricity costs by 15-25%, often with an ROI that’s less than a year. Encycle offices are in Toronto (Canada), San Marcos (California), and Taunton (UK). For more information, visit Encycle.com or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

By Michael Salmassian for Zen Ecosystems and Ginger Juhl for Encycle

{NewHope.com} Unboxed: 13 portable nutrition bars to stock

Convenience is key for these trendy nutrition bars.

Walk down the bar aisle of any natural or conventional grocery store and you'll find dozens of bars that cater to different special diets, flavor preferences, activity and time of day. It's a crowded, competitive category. But nearly every month, new nutrition bars launch into the natural channel. Is there really that much of a market for these ubiquitous convenience foods?

Essentially, yes. As brands continue to innovate in nutrition bar formulations, such as swapping cane sugar for honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup, the category expands in size and sales growth. Such growth is partly driven by a strong consumer desire for more protein and fiber in a portable, quick-to-eat product. Here are some of the newest, trendiest players in the bar aisle.

By Jenna Blumenfeld for NewHope.com

{The Atlantic} Do Healthy Lunches Improve Student Test Scores?

A new study identifies a link between food quality and achievement.

March 22, 2017. For more than a decade, standardized-test scores have been the dominant metric for measuring what public-school students know and are able to do. No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education law enacted in 2002, ushered in a new era of student testing and school compliance. And in the years that followed—to meet targets and avoid sanctions—education leaders at the local and state levels have sought a variety of ways to boost students’ performance on tests, including extending the school day and giving bonus pay to teachers based on students’ test scores. Even less conventional methods, such as banning cell phones and offering yoga-like exercises, emerged as school administrators pursued the holy grail of high standardized-test scores.

But according to a new study, there’s one option that may have been overlooked: the ubiquitous school lunch. As detailed in a recent paper, economists set out to determine whether healthier school lunches affect student achievement as measured by test scores. The intense policy interest in improving the nutritional content of public-school meals—in addition to vendors’ efforts to market their school meals as good for the body and the mind—sparked the researchers’ curiosity and led to an unexpected discovery: Students at schools that contract with a healthier school-lunch vendor perform somewhat better on state tests—and this option appears highly cost-effective compared to policy interventions that typically are more expensive, like class-size reduction.

“When school boards are going out and contracting with these vendors, what they're thinking is that they're going to improve the health of the students, that they'll get them to eat healthier. I don't think they're thinking of it as a tool to actually improve academic performance [but] we found that it is,” said Michael L. Anderson, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the study's co-authors. “Something that is basically cheap, that is going to improve student health, and that has test-score gains seems like it would be very attractive [to] policymakers.”

According to Anderson, who spoke as school meals received renewed attention due to President Trump’s proposed budget, this is the first large-scale study to examine how the overall nutritional quality of school meals affects student test-score achievement. In 2010, as part of a push to combat childhood obesity, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed, resulting in more rigorous nutrition standards for school cafeterias. There is a body of recent literature that suggested a link between school meals and student test scores, but that research focused on improving access rather than the meals’ nutritional value.

To determine the link between food quality and student achievement, Anderson and his colleagues collected data from the California Department of Education on school districts’ meal vendors for the academic years from 2008-09 to 2012-13. Over that five-year period, 1,192 schools—about 12 percent of California public schools, including public charter schools—contracted for at least one school year with an outside company to provide lunch.

The team then hired the Nutrition Policy Institute, a research unit housed at the University of California, to score the nutritional content of vendors’ school lunches. Armed with sample school-lunch menus, NPI calculated the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), a U.S. Department of Agriculture measure of dietary quality for food items, for all of those companies’ meals. The average HEI score among all vendors with menu information was tabulated, and vendors with above-median scores were classified as healthy school-lunch providers. But there was still one crucial piece of information missing: how students at schools with healthy vendors stacked up against their peers at non-vendor schools on state tests.

In pursuit of that answer, the study’s authors compiled a database covering the same five-year timespan with school-by-grade-level test results on California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting exam, a statewide test given at the time to all public-school students in grades 2 through 11. Test score data from some 9,700 elementary, middle, and high schools found that contracting with a healthy meal vendor correlated with increased student performance by between .03 and .04 standard deviations—a statistically significant improvement for economically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students, Anderson said, adding that the size of the effect “is not huge … but it is notable.”

What’s more, he said, districts are almost getting these improvements free of charge. After tabulating the average price per meal in the vendor contracts—and estimating the cost of in-house school meals based on National School Lunch Program reimbursements—the study found that it cost about $222 per student per year to switch from in-house school-lunch preparation to a healthier lunch vendor that correlated with a rise of 0.1 standard deviations in the student’s test score. To put that statistic into perspective, healthier meals could raise student achievement by about 4 percentile points on average.

In comparison, it cost $1,368 per year to raise a student’s test score by 0.1 standard deviations in the Tennessee STAR experiment, a project that studied the effects of class-size on student achievement in elementary school. The paper notes that established research in the field supports the need for “lower-cost policies with modest effects on student test scores [that] may generate a better return than costly policies with larger absolute effects.”

Sean Patrick Corcoran, an associate professor of economics and education policy at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, said the study underscores the positive impact of schools serving healthier meals, and he seconded the authors’ conclusions regarding cost-effectiveness. “I've seen a number of other rigorous studies that also find a connection between healthy eating and academic performance,” he said. “Students who eat regular, healthy meals are less likely to be tired, are more attentive in class, and retain more information.” And he said some effects are almost immediate: “Even when schools serve calorie-rich food on test day, students perform better on those tests.”

In Oakland, California, Kweko Power, 15, a sophomore at Oakland High School, agreed that there’s an academic benefit to healthier meals—citing classmates who skip school lunch because it’s unhealthy and unappealing—but she believes the benefits extend beyond test scores. “When students eat healthier and better food, they get more stamina because their body doesn't have to work as hard to process what they’re eating,” she said. “When you eat and feel good, you [are] happier … and feel less cranky. While I am usually upbeat around people, I can't be myself without good food.”

For children living in areas of concentrated poverty like Oakland, good food like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be hard to come by. A secondary finding in the study was that contracting with a healthy lunch provider showed no evidence of reducing student obesity. And Power’s personal experience helps explain why. “In my neighborhood, we have a Lucky's [grocery store] nearby but it's expensive … it's cheaper to go to the three liquor stores that are within five blocks of that Lucky's,” she said. “When there are liquor stores that sell cheaper and unhealthier food, families tend to opt for cheaper food; they have no other choice. In areas where youth don't have access to healthier food options, you'll tend to see more obesity.”

Power, a student leader with Californians for Justice, emphasized that test scores aside, access to healthier food is fundamentally an issue of equity and civil rights. “It's also important to look at stress levels and what contributes to stress for students,” Power explained. She said hunger and lack of proper nutrition are everyday worries for low-income students. “Without good food, students are just stressed at school, and then still stress about being expected to perform well. Having healthy school meals is really related to how the school system is serving students that don't have [much access and availability] to resources.”

By Melinda D. Anderson for theatlantic.com

{Bloomberg News} Soda Upstart Zevia Tops Pepsi in Study of E-Commerce Market

  • Zevia CEO touts nutrition, low calories in push for customers

  • Pepsi, Coke looking to shift online as soda market shrinks

May 5, 2017, 12:50 PM EDT - The race to sell soft drinks online has a surprising second-place winner: Zevia. The zero-calorie, sugar-free soda brand sold more online than Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sprite or Dr Pepper, according to a new study.

The Los Angeles-based company only fell short of perennial soda king Coca-Cola, according to 1010data Inc., an analytics company. From March 2016 through February, Coca-Cola and its diet and zero-sugar versions held 22 percent of the U.S. e-commerce market and Zevia had 17 percent. Pepsi (and its zero-sugar and diet versions) trailed with 12 percent.

The playing field is more level for smaller competitors on the internet versus the grocery store, where the largest companies have spent years optimizing their positions on shelves, Zevia Chief Executive Officer Paddy Spence said in an interview.

“The whole basis for selecting products online becomes much more based on the product attributes,” Spence said. This includes calories and ingredients because consumers are looking for healthier options. Zevia beats its bigger rivals “every time from a nutritional perspective,” he said.

The biggest soda companies have struggled to cater to increasingly health-conscious consumers. Per-capita soda consumption fell to a 31-year low in the U.S. in 2016, according to Beverage-Digest, a trade publication. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are trying to figure out the best way to migrate from brick-and-mortar stores to the virtual shelves that may be key for future growth.

Amazon.com Inc., the largest e-commerce retailer in the U.S., didn’t respond to a request for comment. But the site ranks its best-selling soft drinks in a list that’s updated hourly. As of Friday, Diet Coke ranked No. 1, followed by Bai Bubbles Voyager (a brand owned by Dr Pepper). Two other varieties of Coke were third and fourth, and Zevia rounded out the top five. PepsiCo made its first appearance at eighth with its flagship cola brand.

Amazon’s list of “most wished for” soft drinks -- a ranking that tracks products on customers wishlists and gift registries -- had Zevia at No. 1. Pepsi’s 1893, a craft-style soda that the company released last year, fared well on that list, coming in at third.

During a company presentation in February, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey emphasized the rising importance of e-commerce and said the company needs to make sure its products are “within a click’s reach of desire.”

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi echoed this sentiment in a call last month, saying the company is striving “to create impulse online.”

“It’s a work in progress, but I must tell you that our growth rates are quite impressive,” she said.

The vast majority of beverage sales still happen in stores, where Zevia still sells very little compared with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo brands. It made up only 0.1 percent of carbonated soft-drink sales in U.S. stores in the 52-week period ending April 23, according to IRI data. Coca-Cola Classic alone took 18 percent over the same period, while Diet Coke held 9 percent. Pepsi-Cola and Mountain Dew each made up 11 percent.

But the e-commerce market gives Zevia a way to overcome the marketing budgets of larger rivals, Spence said.

“That online venue, being information rich and education focused, really plays to our strengths,” he said

By Jennifer Kaplan for Bloomberg News

{Wall Street Journal) There Is Coconut Everywhere

Consumers lap up the tropical plant in water, milk, flour, oil and snacks

March 27, 2017 10:57 a.m. ET: If you feel like everything is starting to taste like a piña colada, it isn’t just you.

Coconut is in everything. Packaged soups, baby foods and snack foods are made with coconut oil, flour and shavings. Gyms are stocking coconut water. For some, coconut oil is a substitute for butter on popcorn, and coffee shops are spooning it liberally in blended lattés. The flavorful ingredient went from a garnish on a cake to a base in foods in part because consumers no longer worry about its fat content. It is also increasingly promoted as healthful: Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugar, nutritionists say, meaning it can cause blood sugar to spike less, which may help stave hunger. Consumers seek such plant-based foods because they can help them stick to popular diets, such as dairy-free or gluten-free.

Dang Foods sources its coconuts from Thailand at 8 months maturity, when founder Vincent Kitirattragarn says more meat and less water makes it better suited for chips. PHOTO: DANG FOODS

Dang Foods sources its coconuts from Thailand at 8 months maturity, when founder Vincent Kitirattragarn says more meat and less water makes it better suited for chips. PHOTO: DANG FOODS

“Coconut water put it on the map,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, which tracks food introductions. Coconut’s association with water, she says

Bare Natural Foods is combining two trendy foods - chia seeds and coconut - into a new 'chia coconut' snack. PHOTO: BARE SNACKS

Bare Natural Foods is combining two trendy foods - chia seeds and coconut - into a new 'chia coconut' snack. PHOTO: BARE SNACKS

“makes everything [coconut] seem healthy.” Coconut water took off a few years ago, as a natural sports drink high in electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Then it became a darling of the dairy case, sold alongside soy milk and almond milk.

The number of coconut-containing product launches increased an average of 21% a year in the last five years, according to Innova.

Coconut follows in the footsteps of foods that have seen their names in lights before falling out of favor, from kale to broccoli rabe and sundried tomatoes. Such trends typically last two to five years and may be influenced by factors such as plentiful supply or scientific studies that demonstrate health benefits. “It’s going to wane,” says Liz Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group, a Boulder, Colo.-based food consultancy. “I don’t think everything coconut is tasty.”

Bhavna Lee, a 39-year-old real-estate developer in Washington, D.C., says that since having her daughter Saara, 5, and son Ian, 4, she has turned to coconut oil as the go-to ingredient in fried foods and treats.

“They both like it so much they ask for a spoon of coconut oil before bed every night,” she says.

Coconut pieces are a popular alternative to potato chips. Bare Snacks, based in San Francisco, has more than doubled the number of its coconut-containing products in the last year to 10, including new coffee bean and sweet ginger flavored chips. This month it is launching a new line of coconut bites with chia seeds in 2.8-ounce bags for $4.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Dang Foods says its coconut chips are selling far more this year than last, and they contain “as much fiber, less sugar than an apple.” Founder Vincent Kitirattragarn says people tend to have strong feelings about coconut: About 80% of his coconut chip consumers are women. “I attribute that to the prevalence of coconut in beauty care,” so it is more familiar to them.

A common complaint is the mealy texture of coconut, which often gets stuck between teeth.

So Delicious coconut yogurts come in new fruit flavors such as peach and key lime, which the company says combine well with coconut. PHOTO: WHITEWAVE

So Delicious coconut yogurts come in new fruit flavors such as peach and key lime, which the company says combine well with coconut. PHOTO: WHITEWAVE

“Getting to a smoother mouth feel is one big technical area” of development, says John Ghingo, president of plant-based foods and beverages for WhiteWave Foods, which markets So Delicious coconut milks and yogurts. For others, the flavor is too strong.

Coconut sugar is becoming more popular because it can make blood sugar spike less than other sugars. PHOTO: WHOLESOME SWEETENERS

Coconut sugar is becoming more popular because it can make blood sugar spike less than other sugars. PHOTO: WHOLESOME SWEETENERS

“I am a strong and vocal hater of coconut,” says Lexa Lemieux, a 36-year-old executive operations manager at a trade association in Washington, D.C. “It tastes like suntan lotion and everyone tries to convince you to like it.”

Where does all the coconut come from, consumers may wonder. Three-fourths of global production comes from Indonesia, India and the Philippines, which are benefiting from the demand surge. In the Republic of Indonesia alone, coconut exports doubled to bring in $1.65 billion in 2014, up from $800 million in 2010, says Samit Chowdhury, who heads the Singapore-based Coconut Knowledge Center for Tetra Pak International, a Swiss-based food packaging company. Coconut prices nearly doubled in that time in India, and have gone up elsewhere as well, he says. Tetra Pak packaged over 800 million liters of coconut-based products in 2016, up from 710 million liters a year earlier.

Coconut products became such an important business for the company that Tetra Pak launched a Coconut Knowledge Centre in Singapore in 2012 to research the supply chain in response to growing demand, including running product and processing tests with regional universities.

Hain Celestial, a top maker of coconut oil, says drought conditions and typhoons that blew into the Philippines, its main supplier, have affected commodity prices for coconut oil, which are up between 5%

Spectrum coconut oil can be found in both food section and the beauty isle, as some people use it as a hair conditioner and to wipe off makeup. PHOTO: THE HAIN CELESTIAL GROUP, INC.

Spectrum coconut oil can be found in both food section and the beauty isle, as some people use it as a hair conditioner and to wipe off makeup. PHOTO: THE HAIN CELESTIAL GROUP, INC.

and 7% from a year ago. The company didn't raise it is pricing, however. Its 14-ounce unrefined coconut oil is $8.42, down 12% from a year ago, says Leah Dunmore, vice president of marketing.

This year, Hain Celestial’s Jason line launched a Simply Coconut line of toothpastes and touts “made with coconut oil” on packages of its Terra Plaintain Chips. Coconut is a featured ingredient in 77 of the company’s products compared with just 20 five years ago.

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods says its coconut flour has risen to rank eighth in its lineup of over 60 flours. One of its appeals to dieters is that it is lower in carbohydrates than regular all-purpose flour and has more fiber, says marketing director Amanda Carter, though it has more calories and fat. The company’s coconut flour contains 14g of fat, 57 grams of carbs and 36 grams of fiber per 100 grams, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Nutrient Database. Its unbleached white all-purpose flour contains 1.5 grams of fat, 73.5 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

One caveat: Coconut flour is very absorbent and tends to create a dense consistency when baked, says Amanda Carter, marketing manager. The company recommends replacing just 20% of a typical recipe’s flour content with coconut flour.

By Anne Marie Chaker for The Wall Street Journal

{CB Insights} The Ag Tech Market Map: 80+ Startups Powering The Future Of Farming And Agribusiness

Corporate investors such as Mitsui, Monsanto, and Syngenta have backed startups improving irrigation, crop spraying, harvesting, and more.

As population growth increases the need to ramp up food production, tech startups are creating a range of agricultural software, services, farming techniques, and more aimed at bringing more data and efficiency to the sector.

We used CB Insights data to identify more than 80 private companies in agriculture tech and categorized them into eight main categories.

We define ag tech as technology that increases the efficiency of farms (in the form of software), sensors, aerial-based data, internet-based distribution channels (marketplaces), and tools for technology-enabled farming. We only include companies that primarily target the agricultural sector.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Farm Management Software: This includes software like that produced by Andreessen Horowitz-backed Granular that allows farmers to more efficiently manage their resources, crop production, farm animals, etc.
  • Precision Agriculture and Predictive Data Analytics: These startups include those that focus on using big data and predictive analytics to address farm-related issues and make better farm-related decisions in order to save energy, increase efficiency, optimize herbicide and pesticide application (such as Prospera, which uses machine vision and artificial intelligence), and manage risk, among other uses.
  • Sensors: Startups in the sensor category include Arable, which offers smart sensors that collect data and help farmers monitor crop health, weather, and soil quality.
  • Animal Data: These companies provide software and hardware specifically aimed at better understanding livestock, from breeding patterns (Connecterra) to genomics (TL Biolabs).
  • Robotics and Drones: This category includes drone companies and related drone services that cater to agricultural needs (such as TerrAvion), as well as robots or intelligent farm machines that perform various farm functions more efficiently (such as Blue River Technology, backed by Monsanto Growth Ventures, Syngenta Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, among others).
  • Smart Irrigation: These startups, including Hortau, provide systems that help monitor and automate water usage for farms using various data exhausts.
  • Next Gen Farms: A growing category of companies that utilize technology to provide alternative farming methods to enable farming in locations and settings that cannot support traditional farming. Examples include AeroFarms for vertical farming and BrightFarms for new greenhouses.
  • Marketplaces: These startups offer marketplaces relevant to agriculture by connecting farmers directly to suppliers or consumers without any middlemen. While some are e-commerce platforms, others use tech to facilitate physical marketplaces (La Ruche Qui Dit Oui).

Some companies may overlap with different categories and are grouped according to their main use case.

By CB Insights

{Yahoo Finance} Nlyte Enables Organizations to Manage the Expanding IT Edge

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Mar 15, 2017) - Datacentre World (Booth #M75) -Nlyte Software, the leading data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software company, today announced the availability of Nlyte Edge at Datacentre World, March 15-16 in London. The new software module extends the capabilities of the company's award-winning data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution by enabling IT and facility managers to visualize, manage, control and report on the IT and facilities infrastructure across and outside the extended enterprise. Nlyte Edge also includes the recently announced Nlyte Command Center capabilities.

Tweet This - .@Nlyte Edge sets new standard for #DCIM & reporting of #datacenter layers http://bit.ly/NlyteEdge @datacentreworld #DCW17

Offered as an option with Nlyte Platinum package, Nlyte Edge offers drill-down visualization and reporting capabilities across the various data center layers including: operations, capacity management, power management, and asset/change management. A detailed global map enables IT and facility personnel to quickly view locations, space and power usage while also managing their distributed locations:

·        Data rooms / data closets and their respective devices.

·        Assets in remote retail branch locations.

·        CRAC units, PDU's, BMS, EMS, Energy Infrastructure and other sensors.

·        Office lighting, cooling, power, communications closet room, power and cooling.

Peter Levine, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, explained at a recent conference that as computing capacity at edge nodes grows, demand for large centralized pools of processing resources in massive data centers will shrink, representing a pendulum swing not unlike the shift from mainframes to distributed client systems in the past.

"This shift is being driven by IoT demands and will become an increasingly important part of a CIO's service delivery strategy and that can only be successful if it is implemented with strong management systems," said Nlyte's Doug Sabella, CEO and President. "Nlyte Edge gives these organizations the visibility and control, to successfully and efficiently move their IT assets close to their customers without giving up control, efficiency or performance."

In addition, Nlyte Edge also promotes a more efficient use of devices through better planning while automating change audit logs across the extended enterprise. Facility managers now have the ability to further increase productivity through more efficient personnel time management as well as improve security by identifying unplanned changes.

Nlyte Command Center and Nlyte Edge are currently available. For more information, visit Nlyte at Datacentre World (Booth #M75) London, or Datacenter Dynamics Enterprise (Booth #63), New York, or contact: info@nlyte.com or call 650-642-2700.

About Nlyte Software

Founded in 2004, Nlyte Software is recognized as the industry leading data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution provider. Nlyte's DCIM provides unmatched functionality that supports all data center processes across the entire "dock to decom" lifecycle. With a 98% customer retention rate, Nlyte's DCIM solution is used by many of the world's largest and most sophisticated data centers, as well as many small and medium sized organizations. Customers can quickly deploy the Nlyte DCIM solution and begin to immediately enjoy reduced costs and increased efficiency across all data center processes. For more information, visit www.nlyte.com or follow @nlyte on Twitter.

All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are used for identification purposes only.

Marketwired for Yahoo Finance

{Today.com} Best Snack Awards: The 8 greatest grab-and-go bites

Meredith Rollins, editor-in-chief of Redbook magazine runs down her top-rated snack picks. Whether you're looking for something healthy, quick, kid-friendly, or indulgent, she shares which snacks should be your new go-to for a convenient and tasty bite.

1. Kid favorite

Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar, $2.69 for six 1-ounce bags, Target


You know you've got a winner when the kids are hooked. As a mom, they also make me feel like I'm not giving them terrible-for-them junk food since it's Sun Chips, which are really thoughtfully made and contain whole grains, so they're healthy-ish.

RELATED: 6 fun and easy snacks to make for hungry kids

2. Most satisfying

Philadelphia Multigrain Bagel Chips & Cream Cheese, $1.99 for a 2.5 ounce pack, ShopRite


The Philadelphia bagel chips and cream cheese are an invention I didn't know I needed but am now totally obsessed with. What took them so long to combine bagels chips and dip into one delicious product? It's the perfect match.

Moms loved that it's a to-go pack that's surprisingly hearty, whether for breakfast or between meals. Testers also loved the big crunch and tasty with the creamy, seasoned dip.

3. Top flavor combo

Sargento Balanced Breaks Natural White Cheddar Cheese with Almonds and Dried Cranberries, $2.99 for three 1.5-ounce packs, Amazon


Sargento Balanced Breaks is pure genius. It's all the things you are supposed to have in a snack (protein, fiber, healthy fat) in a little single-serving package that 100% makes you feel like you should be having it with a glass of wine at cocktail hour.

Universally loved by both the adult and kids testers.

RELATED: This super spice snack mix will boost your metabolism and give you energy

4. Juiciest treat

Del Monte Fruit Refreshers Mandarin Oranges in Coconut Water, $2.12 for two 7-ounce cups, Target


The Del Monte fruit refreshers are weirdly sophisticated: you think "pre-packaged fruit" and it calls to mind old-school fruit cocktail, but this is way more gourmet and fancy-feeling yet still a huge hit with the kids.

Our judges loved that the oranges taste fresh, and it's both a snack and a refreshing drink in one."

5. Best sweets

Oreo Thins Chocolate, $2.99 for a 10.1-ounce pack, Target


The Oreo thins are INCREDIBLE. They're totally addictive and great for someone who doesn't want their Oreos to be sweet-sweet-sweet. I think these got hoovered up the fastest in the office.

Or, in the words of one of our 9-year-old testers Griffin: "These are the bomb!"

RELATED: Kid-friendly healthy snacks that aren't boring

6. Most filling

Blue Moose of Boulder Roasted Red Pepper On-the-Go Hummus, $2.56 for 5.25 ounces, Amazon


It comes with little multigrain chips that are great with the hummus or would be just as good alone, and the whole thing feels both super-healthy and super-treat-ish.

7. Tastiest low-cal snack

Mamma Chia Blackberry Bliss Chia Squeeze, $1.79 for a 3.5 ounce pouch, Target


Mamma Chia has a lot of flavor and is deliciously fruity Its way more decadent than you think it's going to be, given that it's a) in a squeeze packet and b) made of chia.

RELATED: 9 healthy snacks you can find at CVS, Walgreens and more

8. Greatest grab-and-go breakfast

Belvita Sandwich Peanut Butter Breakfast Biscuits, $2.99 for a pack of five 1.76 ounce packs, Target


The Belvita breakfast cookies are a true revelation for those of us whose kids won't eat breakfast. It's like you're feeding them a cookie! Any kid will eat a cookie! But it's actually a super-healthy breakfast, too!

By Meredith Rollins for Today.com

{fastcoexist.com} The Future of Urban Farming Might Actually Be Suburban Farming

After dealing with the high costs and logistical nightmares of developing in urban areas, one farming startup realized that they could streamline their process by moving just a bit outside the city limits.

When the urban farming startup BrightFarms first launched, it envisioned building its hydroponic greenhouses directly on grocery store roofs and on vacant city lots. Now, it says that the smartest place to grow food for cities may be just outside of them.

The company’s newest site will be in the town of Wilmington, Ohio. With a population of only 12,459, it's not the target market. But it's near Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, which together have a population over a million people.

BrightFarms also has greenhouses in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Culpeper County, Virginia; and Rochelle, Illinois—all also near, but not in, large cities. The new strategy lets the company avoid the costs and challenges of working on urban sites, while still providing a local version of foods like salad greens that would normally travel thousands of miles.

"Like most good strategies, it was driven by some painful experiences," Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms, tells Co.Exist. "Basically, we had a couple of failures. We tried to develop a giant rooftop of a building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and we also tried to develop an environmentally soiled parcel of land in the city of Washington D.C., owned by the city."

In both cases, the landowners were eager for BrightFarms to build, and they had strong support from the communities and city leaders. But both sites had challenges. In Brooklyn, the roof needed complex engineering work that couldn't be completed on the startup's timeline; in D.C., the city had to do environmental remediation that also took longer that was commercially viable.

Both cities also had complex regulations that weren't created with urban agriculture in mind. "We found ourselves dealing with a regulatory framework that didn't understand us, and didn't have the ability to adapt to us," Lightfoot says. The projects were classified as “industrial" rather than agricultural, which triggered regulations that didn't fit.

In smaller communities, the experience was radically different. In Virginia, because it was considered an agricultural project, it was exempt from the typical permitting process. "I think we got the permit in a week," Lightfoot says. "In D.C., we spent a year getting it."

The company realized that even if it built outside city limits, it could still stay close enough that transportation would be negligible. BrightFarms sells its produce in 150 stores in the D.C. market, and even if its greenhouses were inside city limits, it would still require driving fairly long distances to make deliveries to all of the stores.

"Being in the city center is not logistically a benefit," Lightfoot says. "Being 30 miles out of the city is just as good as being in the city. The extra cost of building in a city has absolutely no benefit except for maybe shallow, fake marketing, but it has a real significance in terms of capital costs, and in some cases, operation costs as well, including utilities and transportation."

BrightFarms' greenhouses often make use of underutilized spaces: In Rochelle, Illinois, they've set up on an empty lot between a distribution center and a factory that was once farmland, then an industrial park.

Even though BrightFarms sometimes establishes its greenhouses near traditional farms, the startup isn't directly competing with the other operations because it's focused on tomatoes and greens that typically come from California or Arizona. The greenhouses grow the food with a tiny fraction of the water, and provide it fresher to customers. Less perishable crops, such as root vegetables and corn, are left to traditional farms.

BrightFarms plans to use the same model, building outside cities, as it moves forward. After closing a $30 million equity round in September 2016, it plans to open 14 more greenhouses over the next four years.

By Adele Peters for fastcoexist.com

{Yahoo Finance} Nlyte Expands On Demand Offering With Hosting Service

SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 7, 2017) - Nlyte Software, the leading data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software company, today announced Nlyte Hosting Service. The new service is an extension of the company's Nlyte Enterprise On Demand (SaaS) and gives customers flexibility on how they want to purchase, configure, and manage the solution.

The new Nlyte Hosting Service offers its licensed customers the flexibility to host Nlyte in their own environments or outsource the hosting to Nlyte. This new service will provide significant long-term economic benefits and flexibility to an organization.

The new Nlyte Hosting Service provides the entire environment where the customer's DCIM deployment resides -- maintaining the server, network connection, software components and updates of Nlyte software. Customers no longer need to acquire and maintain these infrastructure elements. They can instead decide how they want to pay for the Nlyte system, benefit from reduced costs of maintaining the system, while retaining 100% ownership of their data, all without the hassles or expense of acquiring and managing the solution's underlying components.

Whether using an on premise model, SaaS, or this new hosting service, Nlyte customers get the same, massively scalable solution that is VerAcode security certified. Additionally, in all models, customers own their DCIM data and do not forfeit rights to how that data can be used.

"We continue to invest in Nlyte Enterprise On Demand and the Nlyte Hosting Service is a natural step in our evolution. At Nlyte, we want to give customers complete flexibility in how they pay and where they run the solution," said Nlyte's Niraj Desai, Vice President of Professional Services. "This new service means customers can mix and match how they pay and how the solution is maintained -- with future flexibility built in for the customer."

There are a wide variety of benefits for customers leveraging the Nlyte Hosting Service:

·        Lower cost than maintaining the platform themselves

·        Eliminating the need to acquire the underlying hardware and software components

·        Predictable cost of the platform, removing unpredictable administrative cost

·        Pushing OPEX costs instead of CAPEX

·        Automatic application updates

·        Increased flexibility in conducting business with Nlyte

"We are interested in anything that helps bolster the success of our customers and their ongoing use of Nlyte," said Nlyte's Mark Gaydos, CMO. "Ultimately the customer is in charge and at Nlyte providing customers flexibility is what, in part, has helped us maintain our 98% customer retention rate."

About Nlyte Software

Founded in 2004, Nlyte Software is recognized as the industry leading data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution provider. Nlyte's DCIM provides unmatched functionality that supports all data center processes across the entire "dock to decom" lifecycle. With a 98% customer retention rate, Nlyte's DCIM solution is used by many of the world's largest and most sophisticated data centers, as well as many small and medium sized organizations. Nlyte's customers can deploy quickly and immediately begin to reduce costs and increase efficiency across all data center processes. For more information, visit www.nlyte.com or follow @nlyte on Twitter.

Marketwired March 7, 2017

(Business Wire} Bare Snacks® Strengthens Snack Portfolio with Launch of New bare® Chia Coconut Bites at Natural Products Expo West

Pioneer of Snacks Gone Simple® Unites Two Mighty Superfoods into One Satisfying Bite

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bare Snacks®, creator of delicious Snacks Gone Simple®, will launch its innovative new snack line, bare® Chia Coconut Bites, at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. at booth #3074. Available in three crave-ably crunchy flavors including Chia + Vanilla, Chia + Pineapple and Chia + Flax, the new snacks combine the superfood power of chia and coconut into one deliciously crunchy bite for the ultimate nutritious snack. Each variety is made using bare’s proprietary slow-baking process, which creates a crave-able crunch from simple, real ingredients. Bare Chia Coconut Bites will be available at retailers nationwide in April.

“Like coconut, chia has exploded in popularity due to its strong nutritional benefits and versatility, and our new bare Chia Coconut Bites unite these two on-trend, nutrient-dense ingredients in a highly snackable way,” said Santosh Padki, chief executive officer at Bare Snacks. “Our research revealed that consumers are looking for snacks that provide enough energy to “hold them over” between meals. Responding to this insight, bareidentified chia seeds as a superfood with sustenance because they are packed with fiber, protein and omega 3’s. Combining deliciously approachable flavors with bare’s signature crunch, our innovative new line of bare Chia Coconut Bites enables modern snackers to enjoy a satisfying, nutritional powerhouse of a snack that gives people sustainable energy on-the-go, post-workout, or between meals.”

Bare Chia Coconut Bites are made from delicately sliced whole coconuts that are sustainably harvested and lightly seasoned with whole-food ingredients, all perfectly baked with a generous sprinkling of small but mighty chia seeds. All three varieties are a good source of fiber and are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, and contain no trans fats, added oils or preservatives. Additional details include:

· Chia + Vanilla – Thin slices of coconut slow-baked with authentic Madagascar vanilla and a coating of chia seeds for an exotically satisfying and crunchy bite.

· Chia + Pineapple – Tropical pineapple complements the naturally sweet flavor of coconut, all finished with a dusting of chia seeds before being baked to perfection.

· Chia + Flax – A nutrient-dense combination of two powerful seeds, these delicious bites are baked crunchy with chia and flax, resulting in a super healthy flavor duo.

Bare Chia Coconut Bites join the brand’s existing portfolio of Snacks Gone Simple, including bare Coconut Chips, Organic Coconut Chips, Apple Chips, Organic Apple Chips, and Banana Chips. Based on the founding philosophy that “less is more,” Bare Snacks is committed to making simple snacks that are baked, never fried, and stand at the intersection of crunch and health, differentiating them from the chewy dried fruit of the past. Bare offers a simple, fun way to get your recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables per day.

The full lineup of bare snacks is available nationwide in natural and conventional grocery stores including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Safeway, and Publix, as well as national retailers such as Target and Amazon. For more information, please visit www.BareSnacks.com.

About Bare Snacks

Bare Snacks® is a line of delicious Snacks Gone Simple®, including bare Apple Chips, Coconut Chips, Banana Chips and Chia Coconut Bites. Crafted using only real, whole-food ingredients, Bare Snacks helps consumers enjoy truly good-for-you snacking any time of day. Bare Snacks is on a mission to create a snacking revolution nationwide, motivated by a founding philosophy of creating delicious snacks with simple ingredients and nothing artificial ever. The company is also deeply committed to sustainability, and has been carbon neutral since 2012. To learn more, please visit www.BareSnacks.com, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

By Rachael Kay for Business Wire

{Project Nosh} Soul Sprout Unveils New Plant-Based Almond Butter Power Bites and Big Bites

LONGMONT, Colo.– Soul Sprout, a pioneer in the organic sprouted food movement, is expanding its portfolio of clean grab-and-go snacks with the addition of Almond Butter Power Bites and Almond Butter Big Bites, debuting at Natural Products Expo West March 9-12, 2017. Continuing the brand’s dedication to making great-tasting foods with simple, sprouted, plant-based ingredients, the new snack lines are USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, and will be available online in March. Attendees of the show are invited to receive an exclusive first look and taste samples at booth #3307.

“More people than ever before are embracing plant-based diets and clean eating but it can be a struggle to get enough protein throughout the day, especially when on-the-go,” said Matt Fuller, CEO of Soul Sprout. “Artificial preservatives and chemicals don’t cut it for today’s clean eaters who are savvy and demand ingredient transparency. With these two innovations, we’re offering new ways for busy consumers – whether you’re a young working professional, mom or athlete – to choose plant-based protein by making it easy, delicious and convenient. We wanted to combine the power of organic sprouted ingredients with plant-based protein to make a one-of-a-kind snack that’ll stand out at the grocery store.”

Nutrient-dense but decadent, new Soul Sprout Almond Butter Power Bites and Almond Butter Big Bites are dynamic and tasty ways to consume daily servings of plant-based protein. Product details include:

  • Almond Butter Power Bites – the perfect option to fuel a healthy lifestyle, these 1.5 oz. bites boast a whopping 12 grams of plant-based protein and are made from the cleanest, simplest ingredients for an easy-to-digest snack in between workouts. Available in two sweet flavors, Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, the bites retail for $1.99.
  • Almond Butter Big Bites – retailing for $1.79, these are ideal for satisfying cravings in between meals. Soft, rich and indulgent, these 1 oz. bites come in Cacao Almond and Cinnamon, and explode with almond buttery flavor. They’re bigger than a nutrition ball but smaller than a snack bar, and are perfectly designed to provide a quick blast of energy to help anyone get through their daily tasks.

Like all other Soul Sprout foods, the new snacks are comprised of nutrient-packed sprouted nuts and seeds, and are free from gluten, dairy, peanuts and refined sugar. Soul Sprout uses a variety of proprietary methods called Accelerated Nutrition™ that starts with the process of “sprouting,” which allows certain nutrients to become more bioavailable for the body to absorb the nutrients more readily.

Soul Sprout foods, including granola bars, nut bars, almond butter truffles, almond butter bites and grain-free cereal, are available at Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers, Sprouts Farmers Market and other natural grocers throughout the United States, as well as online at http://www.soulsprout.com/shop/.

About Soul Sprout

Originally founded as Two Moms in the Raw, Soul Sprout™ is the next generation of a brand dedicated to great-tasting snacks made with organic, non-GMO, sprouted ingredients that nourish your body and soul. Soul Sprout granola bars, nut bars, almond butter truffles, and almond butter bites are packed with plant-based nutrition, including organic nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits and herbs and spices, and are free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy and refined sugar. For more information, visit SoulSprout.com, ‘Like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Soul Sprout Press Release, March 1, 2017

{Fallbrook Technologies Press Release} NuVinci® Cycling Introduces N330f™ - The First and Only Groupset for Rental & Commercial Grade Bicycles

Company responds to growing demand for specialized components for commercially-used bicycles

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS / CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – February 15, 2017 – In recent years, the market has seen extraordinary growth in bike share programs, delivery fleets, and other bicycles that demand commercial grade components. NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies, is proud to introduce N330f - the ultimate rental and commercial grade bicycle groupset.

The revolutionary N330f provides durability like no other transmission due to the specifically designed hardware components. With a ratio range of 330%, a maximum continuous torque of 80Nm and 200kg maximum permissible vehicle weight, this transmission is specifically designed for usage in the bike share and commercial environment. Throughout the product lifecycle, it offers the best value compared to existing solutions. This value is predominantly provided by N330f reducing service and maintenance costs compared to non-commercial grade, competitive products.

Solving common pain points

Common pain points for operators of bike share programs and commercial bicycle fleets include the misuse or even abuse of the bicycle by its user, high maintenance costs, and unpredictable service cycles. These pain points are addressed with the launch of N330f. “Our NuVinci hub technology protects the system from the usual wear and tear of a commercial duty cycle. Its extended system lifetime saves operating costs by minimizing out-of-service time and logistics and administration costs. NuVinci Cycling

is the only supplier that offers a 1-year warranty for commercial grade applications. In addition, the unique NuVinci riding experience creates differentiation from the competition and drives subscriptions,summarizes Richard Hilgart, Product Manager at NuVinci Cycling.

 Rider Benefits

Riding a N330f NuVinci Optimized™ bicycle means concentrating less on operating the bike and more on what's important such as traffic, road hazards, or the scenery. Stepless shifting works whether you are freewheeling, shifting under load, or waiting at a traffic light. Interruption of the ride caused by locked gears or even a broken-down bike is now a thing of the past. "Our customers value our NuVinci Optimized bicycles as they provide a riding experience like no other. This technology clearly differentiates us from our competition,” concludes Andreas Weil from the Bike Share Program in Mainz, Germany.

Transmission and controller durability like no other

The N330f transmission includes an individual three-pawl freewheel which ensures even pawl engagement for higher durability, increasing the overall strength of the transmission. Also, the group offers a three millimeter offset sprocket. This enables the use of a one-eighth inch chain which lasts longer than regular chains. The pad-printed logo preserves and extends the high-end look of the product. The associated, new C3f controller features a specifically-designed rubber material

which ensures comfort, a better ride, and a longer grip life. The new cable locking screw (four millimeters) offers an extremely durable, overdrive cable end fixture and protects against higher pullout forces.

About NuVinci® Cycling

NuVinci Cycling, a division of Fallbrook Technologies Inc., moves people better through its product portfolio of smooth, stepless, automatic and integrated shifting products for bicycles and eBikes. The NuVinci technology incorporated in continuously variable transmissions (CVT) for bicycles has been providing the best rider experiences since 2006. NuVinci Cycling products include the Nfinity and Harmony group sets, utilizing the latest versions of the transmissions and controllers. Products from NuVinci Cycling are available globally in over 100 bicycle brands. For more information, visit www.nuvincicycling.com.

About Fallbrook Technologies

Fallbrook Technologies is the inventor of the revolutionary NuVinci® continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology, which enables performance and efficiency improvements for machines that use an engine, pump, motor, or geared transmission system – including urban mobility vehicles, cars and trucks, industrial equipment, and many other applications. Fallbrook has a unique collective development model and community through which NuVinci technology licensees share enhancements, which adds to the value of the technology and accelerates product development. This approach enables forward-looking companies, who wish to create visionary new products with NuVinci technology, to move quickly from concept to market commercialization. Fallbrook is based in Cedar Park near Austin, Texas, USA and holds rights to over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.fallbrooktech.com.

By Anne Guethoff and Trammie Anderson for Fallbrook Technologies, Inc.

{Fallbrook Press Release} Fallbrook Technologies Inc. Names Sharon O’Leary President and Chief Operating Officer

CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – January 18, 2017 – Fallbrook Technologies Inc. (Fallbrook) today announced that Chief of Staff and Secretary Sharon O’Leary has been appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, a newly created position within the Company. O'Leary brings nearly 30 years of strategic legal, operational and business development experience to Fallbrook through a number executive leadership roles. She will continue to report to William Klehm, chairman and CEO of Fallbrook.

 “Sharon is a seasoned and trusted leader with a track record of delivering results and profitable growth. She is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability within Fallbrook, with a laser-focus on operational excellence,” said William Klehm, Fallbrook’s chairman and CEO. “I have tremendous confidence in

Sharon’s ability to align Fallbrook’s world-class innovation in NuVinci® continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology with industry-leading operational practices to spearhead and extend the next-generation of Fallbrook’s market leadership.”

Effective as of January 1, 2017, O’Leary assumed responsibility for all areas of Fallbrook’s business units, except Finance. In particular, she will be responsible for the alignment and prioritization of company initiatives and ensure operational excellence across the organization.

“Fallbrook’s strategy has never been more compelling, and we are rapidly increasing our collaboration efforts with our community of licensees to make more innovative products possible with NuVinci technology,” said O’Leary, president and chief operating officer. “I am incredibly energized to support Bill and help lead Fallbrook to its next phase of commercializing its technology and accelerating long-term strategic goals coupled with operational excellence.”

O’Leary joined Fallbrook in September 2010 as Chief Legal Officer and Secretary. In January 2016, O’Leary assumed the role of Chief of Staff. Prior to Fallbrook, O'Leary spent close to 15 years working in the telecommunications and cable industries. Since 2000, she has been working with start-up companies in a variety of industries. O’Leary started her career as a prosecutor for the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force.

Sharon holds a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude from Dominican College, and a J.D. cum laude from New York Law School.

About Fallbrook Technologies

Fallbrook Technologies is the inventor of the revolutionary NuVinci® continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology, which enables performance and efficiency improvements for any machine that uses geared transmission systems – from urban mobility vehicles to cars and trucks and from industrial equipment to marine applications. Fallbrook has a unique collective development model and community through which NuVinci technology licensees share enhancements, which adds to the value of the technology and accelerates product development. This approach enables forward-looking companies, who wish to create visionary new products with NuVinci technology, to move quickly from concept to market commercialization. Fallbrook is based in Cedar Park near Austin, Texas, USA and holds rights to over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.falbrooktech.com.

By Trammie Anderson for Fallbrook Technologies

{Greentechmedia.com} LED Startup Soraa Debuts Its First Consumer Light

January 5, 2017: The company says it’s a healthier, smarter to light a home. About five years ago, startup Soraa emerged onto the scene with an invention from a Japanese LED expert and backing from some of Silicon Valley’s most well-known venture capital firms.

This week, after years of building up a business based on selling LED lights for commercial and industrial buildings, the company launched its very first foray into the consumer market at the CES technology expo in Las Vegas.

Soraa, which was co-founded by Nobel laureate Shuji Nakamura and funded by Khosla Ventures and NEA, calls the lighting product “helia.” It’s a light bulb and smart controller set that dynamically adjusts lighting to help households sleep better, achieve a more convenient lifestyle, and light a house more efficiently.

The light bulbs come in the form of a widely used down light (BR30) and can be screwed into standard sockets at a home or business. To make the lights smart, you need to buy one of the controllers, which pops into the center of one of the lights and contains sensors and a communication chip to enable the lights to connect information over the power line.

Each light will set you back $49.99, plus $29 for the controller, and will be on sale starting in the spring of 2017. The idea is to buy a set of lights, and you’ll just need one controller for the whole group.

So how exactly can lights be “healthier” and help you sleep better? Well, it has to do with blue light and human circadian rhythms. Morning natural light is filled with blue light, and humans are conditioned to wake up under such conditions. Conversely, as the sun sets, blue light disappears and we drift off to sleep.

If you’ve got blue-light-dominant lights on in your house at night, they could be interfering with your rest. Unfortunately, if you’re using LED lights, or have a lot of LED screens on, it’s quite possible you have a lot of blue light getting in the way.

Soraa’s bulbs use LED chips that can replace blue light with violet light, so they can produce a natural-looking light at night without messing with your sleep cycles. The bulbs are also tuned to dynamically change the light spectrum throughout the day to match the natural light as the sun rises and sets.

If this all sounds like the province of hippies, the company says it’s in the early stages of conducting a study with sleep expert and Stanford professor Jamie Zeitzer, the preliminary results of which seem to suggest that Soraa’s lighting interferes less with sleep than do blue-light dominated LEDs. Other companies have launched sleep-friendly LED lights, but many of these have a yellow tinge to them.

In addition to the health aspect, the company has other algorithms that can do things like learn a household's behavior and adjust the lights accordingly, or maintain the typical lighting schedule automatically when the household's residents go on vacation. An additional piece of hardware can connect the system to the internet and devices like Amazon's Alexa. These are a lot of things that smart lighting companies tout, like Philips and its Hue brand.

But the blue-light control is mostly what makes the helia lights unique. The feat is based on Soraa’s original invention, created by Nakamura, which uses the semiconductor gallium nitride for the substrate part of the LED. LEDs commonly place gallium nitride on top of a sapphire or silicon carbide substrate, but Soraa lays gallium nitride on top of gallium nitride.

The result is a more uniform light. Nakamura was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for knowing such things (specifically for inventing the blue LED). (If you get a chance, read about Nakamura’s back story, lawsuit against his Japanese employer, and move to America, it’s quite fascinating.)

Soraa’s Senior Principal Scientist, Aurelien David, said that the blue-light control, and inducement of healthy sleep, was one of the big reasons why Soraa wanted to make a light for consumers. “It’s an obvious application,” explained David during an interview at CES on the 34th floor of The Venetian.

It’s also because the market opportunity for consumer lights is so large, and because there aren't a lot of good options for smart lighting out there today, explained Soraa execs Todd Antes and Phil Kearney. However, Antes also acknowledged that the consumer market can sometimes be a tough nut to crack.

The company is also planning to expand its business by launching light fixtures for its commercial customers. So clearly Soraa is looking to grow its revenue and expand beyond its current size.

It’s not clear exactly how big or successful the company has been so far, but Antes said that the company already ships more than 1 million commercial lamps per year, and within a year or two could be generating more than $100 million in annual revenue. Soraa has just under 200 employees, and is in the process of building a new factory in Syracuse, New York to add production capacity beyond that of its current factory in Fremont, California.

A funding filing from 2011 shows that Soraa raised at least $88 million, but it’s unclear if the firm has raised more since then -- though it seems likely given the company's expansion plans. If not, Soraa will likely have to invest in the New York factory in the future.

The early days of the business looked like it was something of a long slog. The company’s current CEO Jeff Parker joined the company about two and a half years ago.

It is undeniably hard to build an independent LED manufacturing company. Switch was another promising LED tech startup that ended up not working out.

We’ll see if Soraa can convince consumers to invest in its healthier, smarter home lighting tech. If all goes well, the company could offer lower-cost options and more basic bulbs like the A19 down the road.

By Katie Fahrenbacher for Greentechmedia.com

{Geeky Gadgets} SORAA Helia Smart Bulbs Use Your Electric Cabling To Create A Network

12:21 pm January 4, 2017: Soraa has won a CES 2017 Innovation award for its new consumer Helia smart bulb after primarily providing industrial solutions for corporate clients. The new consumer smart bulb is capable of creating its own network to other smart bulbs by using your homes internal wiring and HomePlug Green Phy technology.

The Soraa Helia smart bulb also comes with a companion application that supports both iOS and android devices and will automatically adjust the type of colour they admit depending on the time of day. In a similar way to how the Apple Night Shift feature works on the latest iPhones.

Watch the video below to learn more about the new consumer smart bulb created by Soraa who explained a little more about its inspiration, features and design.

“Say hello to Helia the healthy light environment from Soraa. It combines healthy and beautiful full spectrum LED lighting with a secure, expandable network of smart home sensors. The result is an intuitive, energy-efficient lighting system that brings the benefits of natural sunlight indoors.

Helia Dynamic White bulbs replicate the cycle of natural sunlight to improve circadian health and sleep. They automatically adjust color temperature and spectral content throughout day and night to provide the most natural, healthy, indoor light possible.

When the quality of light is beautiful, it affects us in a positive way. You not only see it, but you feel it. Helia bulbs leverage Soraa’s exceptional GaN on GaN violet LEDs which uniquely produce beautiful, full spectrum white light. This is light as it should be.”

For more information on the new Soraa Helia smart bulb jump over to the official website for details by following the link below.

By Julian Horsey for Geeky Gadgets