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01/25/2023

REX Awards 2023 – Natural Products

This year’s winners pay homage to legacy brands that have been mainstays in the drug store channel’s natural section as well as new brands that have created a name for themselves.

This year’s winners of the REX Awards – Natural Products pay homage to legacy brands that have been mainstays in the drug store channel’s natural section as well as new brands that have created a name for themselves. 

Drug Store News’ REX Awards honor those manufacturers who have made a difference in their respective industries, be it with innovative products, promotions or merchandising. These are companies that have gone above and beyond assisting their retail partners as they seek to create a point of differentiation between themselves and other merchants.

 

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marie originals group

Marie Originals

Marie Originals offers a wide array of natural health and skin care remedies that sell under the ear care, first aid, skin and healthcare categories. 

Early on, the Pearl River, N.Y.-based company identified the ear care category as one that has long been lacking innovation. Marie Original’s top-selling Ear Oil has transformed the ear care options that are available in pharmacy assortments. With the recent FDA approval of OTC hearing aids, the company looks forward to continuing to be a driver in the innovation that lies ahead for the ear care category.

A recent problem the company has been working to solve is one that historically crippled even the toughest outdoorist: poison ivy. Maria Originals is creating a poison ivy and oak soap that offers a proactive solution prior to the reaction. It’s targeted at tradespeople, wildland firefighters, rescue teams, farmers and other people who operate in areas infested with poisonous plants.

The company is also focusing on its Wounds and Burns Ointment, which helps speed up the healing process of cuts, burns, diaper rash, cellulitis and other skin afflictions. “We want to highlight the Wounds and Burns Ointment because of its unique ability to aid in a healing process which was typically left to the body to fend for itself,” said Bojana Dackovic, marketing director of Marie Originals.

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The Relief Products natural eyes

The Relief Products

Reno, Nev.-based The Relief Products has been offering homeopathic options for the past 36 years, developing more than 30 remedies that harness the healing power of nature to gently ease symptoms. A majority of the company’s products are concentrated in the eye and ear care categories, with additional remedies for cough and cold, digestive health and pain management. 

“In 2022, TRP unveiled Natural Eyes as a ‘natural’ fit in the marketplace, where we recognized a growing need for clearly labeled, natural products to provide safe and effective eye care solutions,” said Susan Hanson, TRP COO. 

As the entire OTC market continues its shift toward natural, TRP has established itself as a frontrunner in the eye care category, using 100% natural active ingredients that are contact lens safe, suitable for adults and children and have no known side effects or drug interactions.

The company will continue to focus on the natural OTC eye care products in 2023 with its latest product development, Natural Eyes Dryness Relief, which provides a natural solution for one of the most common eye conditions experienced by consumers, especially those who are middle-aged or older. 

In addition, TRP’s Natural Ears offerings will be formally introduced into the marketplace in 2023.

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kori group

Epion Brands

Renton, Wash.-based Epion Brands is the maker of Kori Pure Antarctic Krill Oil – an omega-3 supplement sustainably sourced from Atlantic krill. Recognizing that more 70% of Americans are deficient in omega-3s, an essential nutrient our bodies need but can’t make on its own, Kori Krill Oil has led the charge to create awareness and excitement around the category to galvanize Americans into action to incorporate more omega-3s into their health regimen.

Krill naturally contains more nutrients like choline, which supports brain and nervous system health, and the antioxidant astaxanthin. Kori Krill Oil also delivers omega-3s in their most natural phospholipid form, resulting in superior absorption without the fishy aftertaste.

In 2022, the company launched two products: Kori Mind & Body and Kori Krill Oil Gummies. Mind & Body combines the benefits of krill oil with clinically tested ingredients like lutein and zeaxanthin to create a unique supplement that provides added brain support on top of the whole-body benefits already offered from krill oil. Kori Krill Oil Gummies is the first brand to deliver the powerful health benefits of krill oil in a gummy format in a natural mixed citrus flavor.

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lifelab honeyworks group

Lifelab Health

Lifelab Health, based in Coconut Creek, Fla., was the first to formulate a dye- and sugar-free liquid gas relief product and was among the first to launch a black elderberry-based product intended to help boost immune systems and reduce the duration of cold and flu symptoms. 

Immunity products were a focus for the company in 2022. As people return to social events after the pandemic isolation, the increased interaction is resulting in a record cough cold season. Lifelab Health continued to innovate in the cough cold category, introducing HoneyWorks Dark honey cough syrup for adults. This is the first HoneyWorks SKU containing an active ingredient for those adults who want all the goodness of organic honey for their cough relief, supplemented with Dextromethorphan HBR, a clinically proven cough suppressant. 

Lifelab Health has also introduced a HoneyWorks USDA Organic certified metered dose adult throat pump spray, which contains USDA certified dark honey and zinc, for relief of sore throats and hoarseness, and also helps with immune support.

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nordic naturals group

Nordic Naturals

When you think of fish oil, you think of Nordic Naturals. Or at least you should. The company boasts the No. 1 fish oil brand in the U.S., according to sales data from Clearcut Analytics and SPINS. 

But Watsonville, Calif.-based Nordic Naturals offers more than 200 products across 35 global markets, including omegas, probiotics, vitamins and minerals, and benefit-specific nutrients, such as stress, sleep and joint relief products. 

“Our exceptionally fresh, pure and effective ingredients distinguish our brand as a trusted leader in the supplement industry,” said brand manager Anna Mein.

The company, which has been a leader in the supplement space for more than 25 years, will be focused on the consumer-pleasing delivery format of gummies in 2023. The Magnesium gummies feature 300 mg of magnesium citrate with 2 g of sugar to provide support for a relaxed mind and body. The Nordic Immune Gummies include all-star ingredients zinc (8 mg), elderberry (150 mg), vitamin C (90 mg) and vitamin D3 (50 mcg). And the newest member of the Ultimate Omega family is the Ultimate Omega Gummy Chews, with 1,200 mg omega-3s per serving, zero sugar and no fishy aftertaste.

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mason vitamins

Mason Vitamins

Mason Vitamins offers a variety of branded and private-label products ranging from A to Z vitamins to minerals, and specialty categories with a selection of more than 350-plus supplements. The Hialeah-Fla.-based company uses shopper insights and research for supplement trends and subcategories that are forecasted to grow. Its UL-certified manufacturing facility follows dietary supplement Good Manufacturing Practices, and each product is produced following strict FDA guidelines.

Products that were launched in 2022 include delivery forms like stick packs, effervescent tablets and liquids, along with products with trending ingredients such as Mushroom Power, Quercetin Complex and Turmeric with Bioperine. Additionally, the company launched a new convenience product line, Wellness-To-Go, for the convenience-store channel. 

In 2023, Mason Vitamins will be introducing more disease-state products with new Renal and Nerve supplements. The company also plans to enter the pet supplement category.

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liquid iv seaberry

Liquid IV

Los Angeles-based Liquid I.V. has made a name for itself in the electrolyte category with its ubiquitous drink mixes. The product portfolio continues to expand and now makes up five categories, all utilizing Cellular Transport Technology to enhance rapid absorption of water and other key ingredients into the bloodstream. 

In 2022, Liquid I.V. launched two key products. The Hydration Multiplier + Probiotic Kombucha blends, Liquid I.V.’s signature CTT-powered hydration with 1 billion CFU of Probiotic BC30 and Double Fermented Tea Vinegar Powder. The Energy Multiplier in the Yuzu Pineapple flavor features a blend of Coffeeberry Energy Extract, CognatIQ Coffee Fruit Extract and L-Theanine for physical energy and a cognitive boost. The Yuzu Pineapple flavor differentiates itself from the Energy Multiplier Lemon Ginger flavor due to its cognitive effects.  

The Seaberry flavor of Hydration Multiplier will launch in February 2023 as a permanent flavor. The original limited-time offer launched in 2020 after the Liquid I.V. team traveled to Nepal and experienced the popular wild seaberry fruit.

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pharmavite nature made

Pharmavite

Pharmavite —makers of the Nature Made brand — produces a range of USP-verified vitamins and supplements. In addition, Pharmavite offers MegaFood, a premium vitamin and supplement product, and Equelle and Uqora, which underscore the company’s deep focus on women’s health.

In 2022, West Hills, Calif.-based Pharmavite launched Nature Made Wellblends, a complete line of blends that target the important consumer need states of sleep, stress and immune health. The launch was supported by a marketing and public relations campaign in partnership with the Netflix show, “The Home Edit.”

As the company moves into 2023 it will lean on key areas including driving core segments, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and magnesium. Pharmavite also plans to offer further innovation in its mental wellness portfolio to address stress and cognition needs. The year will also see an expansion of the Wellblends portfolio and an expansion of multivitamin offerings.

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windmill fdm relaxium

Windmill Health Products

Celebrating 50 years of business, West Caldwell, N.J.-based Windmill Health Products sells products under numerous global brands, serving major categories including weight loss, sports nutrition, specialty beverages, functional foods, medical foods, whole food supplements and more.

In 2022, the company expanded its Keto Science line with a Keto Burn gummy. It also launched Country Farms Fiber Care gummies as part of a national brand that has been in retail for more than 20 years. 

“We also are excited of the growing opportunities for our women’s specific lifestyle brand that launched in June, called Her Own,” said Keith Frankel, CEO of Windmill Health Products. This targeted line of natural and organic nutrition is available at leading retailers nationwide.

In the new year, the company will continue its roll out of Keto Science’s new Vegan Keto Shakes, along with its Country Farms Fruit and Vegetable supplement, a product category it first developed in 1992 with Super Juice. In addition, Windmill Health Products will be highlighting the national launch of the natural sleep aid Relaxium, which it has partnered with for more than two years. 

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urban hydration hand creams

UI Global

Frisco, Texas-based UI Global is the maker of Urban Hydration, a clean beauty lifestyle brand created with the purpose of providing premium quality, ultra-hydrating products as an alternative to pricier-prescribed clinical care. 

Philanthropy is at the company’s core, and 2022 saw the launch of products with the BEKIND. By Ellen campaign to raise $30,000 to build a new clean drinking well in 2023. The company also partnered with the “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” film to create an exclusive clean beauty collection that utilizes clean ingredients and also honors the legacy of the late Whitney Houston.

In 2023, Urban Hydration will be highlighting its Clean Beauty Sugar Scrub, Body Oil and Bubble Bath collection available at Target.

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similasan group

Similasan

For more than 40 years, Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based Similasan has been making a wide range of options that provide temporary symptomatic relief for ear, nose and chest ailments. 

As consumers are prioritizing self-care now more than ever, the homeopathic brand — probably best known for its eye care products — is addressing the concerns of some about the use of harsh chemicals in personal care products such as eye drops. 

New products such as Similasan Dry Eye Nighttime Gel, launched in 2022, work toward that goal of providing shoppers with alternative choices as they shop the eye care shelf. In 2023, the company will focus on three products: Allergy Eye Relief, Pink Eye Relief and Earache Relief.

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nelsons day and night

Nelsons

In 1930, Edward Bach began to manufacture and stock his Bach Original Flower Remedies, made from the flowers in his own English garden to promote emotional well-being. Today, the portfolio has grown to include a full range of products, for people and pets, to help with stressful days and sleepless nights. 

“Our core Bach and Rescue product lines are more relevant than ever — especially after the COVID pandemic — but we are certainly not resting on our laurels,” said Kim Knoblauch, Nelsons Americas marketing director. “We are continuously exploring new formats, such as gummies, creams, pastilles and others, as well as ingredients that provide desired enhancements to our formulas for helping consumers balance their emotional well-being and tackle specific challenges that we all face with stress and sleep.”

In 2023, the company is launching a duo of gummies under the Rescue Plus label: Rescue Plus Mood & Stress Support gummy for daytime and Rescue Plus Sleep & Stress Support for night-time.

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