TOP 16: Best New Products of 2011
A Year in Review
New products are added to the Sprouts shelves every week — items with great flavor profiles, sterling nutritional benefits, quality production standards, nifty packaging.... Each product had to negotiate a difficult path to make it past our buying team and into the stores. But along the way, those crafty buyers developed their favorites. So here is the list of what we consider to be the year's standouts: the tastiest, most interesting, or most exciting additions to our stores in 2011.
VITAMINS AND BODY CARE
Sequel Natural's Vega Sport Performance System. This all-natural performance line is 100% plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. It was developed by a professional Ironman triathlete, Brendan Brazier, to help aid athletic performance before, during, and after workouts. You can find Pre-Workout Energizers, Electrolyte Hydrator, Endurance Gel, Recovery Accelerator, and Performance Protein, all in a variety of flavors from Lemon Lime to Acai Berry to Vanilla. Delicious and effective, Vega's newest products definitely stand out — and help you stand out in your athletic endeavors.
Jordan Rubin and Garden of Life are well known at Sprouts stores. Garden of Life's high-quality, natural products line many shelves, from multivitamins to cleanse programs to proteins. This year saw the expansion of the line with the RAW Probiotics for men, women and kids. These provide more than 30 powerful probiotic strains, along with probiotic-created cofactors including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and prebiotics. Bottom line: they are really good for you.
In the Health and Beauty aisle, the nod goes to Mineral Fusion SPF 30 Brush-On Sun Defense. It's a whole new advance in skincare sun protection. A silky powder formula brushes on your skin for translucent coverage. It's great for men (honest), women, and kids. Whether hitting the beach or the slopes, a quick brush-on will provide oil-free protection for your skin.
We didn't have to hunt too far for this one, so to speak. Check out Durham Ranch Wild Game Meats. There is ground venison, antelope, wild boar and elk, now available to spice up your protein repertoire all year long!
Also a point of pride in the Meat Department is Bear Mountain Ranch Bison. Buffalo is not a new addition to Sprouts, but this new line is 100% grass-fed in Colorado. Enjoy "exceptional taste from an extraordinary place" with a taste of ground buffalo, patties, or steaks. It will find its way into our chili pots this chilly winter, and onto our grills when the weather heats back up.
A third solid choice is the line of products from Niman Ranch. Niman exemplifies the best of the natural foods world: they promote family farms, non-cruelty to animals, and sustainability. And did we mention they make the most delicious meat products? In 2011 Sprouts introduced a (for us) whole new line of gluten-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, no-added-nitrate meats, including bacon, Canadian bacon, beef franks and fearless "kids" franks. Good stuff that earned bonus points for how quickly it cooks up.
Veggie Chips have been available in health food stores for years, but 2011 saw a whole new group of roasted veggies crop up in the Bulk Department, including Roasted Okra Chips, which we kind of dug. Crunchy and satisfying, these newcomers satiated our snack craving, and that's saying a lot.
And to satisfy the sweet-tooth cravings, there was a great new addition to the bulk bins in 2011: Lemon Crème Chocolate Almonds. A little sweet and a little tart, these almost-sinful nuts won us over in three bites or less.
You might have thought we'd pick an ice cream product for our top new Frozen product. But instead, we went with Red's All Natural Burritos. Available in Bean & Rice, Turkey Molé, Chicken, or Steak, these burritos are bursting with quality natural ingredients and flavors. We keep some on hand for late nights of editing or coupon preparation. The flour tortilla, brown rice, and delicious seasoning provide a full meal's energy to burn the midnight oil.
Sprouts is proud of every item we place on our shelves, but especially those that wear the Sprouts Farmers Market name and logo. And one new addition to the family in Dairy, is Sprouts Buttery Spread in four varieties: Organic, Omega 3, with Olive Oil, and with Canola Oil. With great flavor and an impressive, pronounceable ingredient list, these are great for spreading on everything from toast to roasted veggies.
Chia has made a huge impact on the natural foods world, and in 2011 this funny seed found its way into beverages. GT's Kombucha with Chia Seeds combines the benefits of probiotics with fiber and Omega-3 for a beverage so well rounded, it is nearly a meal replacement! Pick from Grape, Cherry, or Raspberry. Another unique chia-filled drink that we went crazy for is Mamma Chia. It is low in calories, high in antioxidants, loaded with nutrients that leave you feeling energized and full of vitality, and it has the consistency of — well, Jello shots. Hard to say no to that. Read our profile of Mamma Chia here. Available in four delicious flavors: Cherry Lime, Blackberry Hibiscus, Raspberry Passion and Cranberry Lemonade.
Dairy gets one more vote because of what may very well be the best new product we tried the entire year: Noosa Yoghurt. Our staff cannot stop raving about this Australian-style yoghurt that is a little thick, a lot creamy, and jam-packed with protein. Available in Honey, Mango, Blueberry and Raspberry, this tasty treat is one that will have you licking the last little dollop from the container... yes, it's that good!
If you haven't already, try Pacific Natural Foods Pho Soup Starter. It's the latest in a long line of quality, delicious items from Pacific Natural Foods, this Vietnamese soup base is a great start to a tasty soup made your way. Add rice noodles, jalapenos, cilantro, and a protein of your choice — beef chicken, or tofu — and enjoy a natural taste of Southeast Asia. We couldn't believe how flavorful they were.
A great sauce is the finishing touch to great pasta, and Lucini Pasta Sauce is among the best. Glad we added them to Sprouts in 2011. Lucini products are simple (you can count the number of ingredients on two hands — less for some items) but they are robust in flavor. We'd expect no less of our friend David Neuman, the President of Lucini, especially given how many times he travels to Italy to source his ingredients. Top your favorite spaghetti or penne with any of these exciting flavors: Tomato Basil, Vodka, Spicy Tuscan, or Tuscan Marinara. Also available from Lucini are a wide variety of quality salad dressings waiting to dress up your lettuce blends.
One of the most worldly products introduced in 2011 is our very own Sprouts Lady Fingers. Imported directly from Savoy, Italy, these tasty treats are made with the utmost care in Italian tradition and quality. Available in a 17.6 ounce package, Sprouts Lady Fingers are perfect for a luscious Tiramisu — or dipped in espresso.
California certainly knows how to make a great wine, and you can pick up some outstanding varieties at many Sprouts locations. But next time you have an adult thirst, we strongly recommend you try a bottle of Rare Red 4 Grape Blend. A great blend of Syrah, Barbera, Zinfandel and Sangiovese, this red table wine complements many a meal, including a hearty and comforting chili or a grill-rich BBQ.from the December, 2011 edition of Fresh Off the Press