HOT PICK: Vegan Jerky

Jerky sometimes gets a bad rap. Some think of jerky and immediately think of a late-night salty and spicy snack purchased from a gas station or convenience store. Well, the folks at Jack & Friends are about to change your mind.

Jack & Tom Jerky

Two ingredients form the foundation of Jack & Friends and are responsible for their vegan jerky’s ability to mimic the texture and appearance of real meat: jackfruit and pea protein.

  • Jackfruit is a fruit grown and popularized in Southeast Asia that is proving to be a versatile food ingredient because of its neutral flavor, white color, and meaty texture when unripe. It contains a large amount of minerals and fiber, making it nutritionally favorable as well.
  • Pea protein is a hypoallergenic and vegan alternative to soy, wheat, and dairy proteins, which are three of the eight major allergens. Despite being derived from plants, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains each of the nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet.

While jackfruit and pea protein create their jerky’s texture, additional ingredients are used to develop flavor. In their flagship Jack & Tom jerky, tomatoes, poblano peppers, and a signature blend of spices pack each bite with bold, savory flavor and a spicy kick that keeps you coming back for more.Jack Jerky

  • Jack & Tom
    • Tomato & poblano pepper flavor
  • Jack & Barb
    • Sweet barbecue flavor
  • Jack & Teri
    • Ginger teriyaki flavor

Jack & Friends believes in inclusivity—especially when it comes to food. They are committed to crafting products you can feel good about eating, regardless of your lifestyle or diet, so you can enjoy food without compromising on quality.  Great as a lunchbox snack or an on-the-go treat, Jack & Friends vegan jerky was born to satisfy the growing demand for all natural, better-for-you snacks that effortlessly fit into any lifestyle. Too many snacks force us to sacrifice one benefit for another: high protein but not allergy-free; low fat but not low sugar; plant-based but inconvenient. Jack & Friends jerky delivers on the promise of a great tasting jerky with many benefits for every lifestyle.

  • “Plant-based jerky for any lifestyle”
  • Made with jackfruit and pea protein
  • Vegan
  • Good source of protein
  • Good source of fiber
  • Keto-friendly
  • No added sugar
  • Refined sugar-free
  • No preservatives
  • Low fat & low saturated fat
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Top 8 allergen-free (gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, etc.)
  • Nitrate-free

The Jack & Friends vegan jerky is currently available in individual 2.2 oz bags ($8.99) as well as value packs of 5 or 10 bags. The company offers FREE shipping on all U.S. orders over $25! www.jackandfriendsjerky.com


LA Clothing Designer Turns Ocean-Bound Plastics into Products with a Purpose

(re)x, an eco-design company founded by Los Angeles-based designer Paulina Quintana, is introducing at NY NOW a new hanger made from 100% recycled plastic that is gathered from the ocean or intercepted before entering the ocean. The (re)x hanger was named "Best in NY NOW Show" in the sustainability category by the New York chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association.­­­­­­­­­­(re)x hanger

"We need to change people's relationship to plastic," said (re)x CEO Quintana. "Our mission is to create sustainable solutions for everyday products and turn them into an opportunity to remove plastic waste from the environment. The environmental impact of discarded plastics is one of the most vexing issues we face. There are over 8 billion plastic hangers discarded every year along with over 8 million metric tons of plastics entering our oceans annually. Our new hanger represents an advancement in reducing the damage plastic is inflicting on our planet."

An accomplished designer, Quintana's experience in the fashion industry fuels her passion for green innovation. The (re)x founder ran her own international children's clothing brand for 13 years to much acclaim but was troubled by the sheer volume of waste created by plastic hangers that were discarded and bound for landfills. (re)x (pronounced re-to-the-x) was born from the desire to reduce consumers' environmental footprint, with the goal of eliminating the need for products made from virgin plastic.  Quintana engineered a solution by designing a 100% recycled hanger made from recovered ocean plastics.(re)x hanger photo

Raw materials for the (re)x hangers are sourced from beach clean-ups and local recycling efforts in South Africa, recovering plastics from the ocean and removing post-consumer and post-commercial plastics from the waste stream. The color of each hanger will feature slight variations over time, reflecting the variety of plastics collected. All the company's packaging is made from 100% recycled material and is 100% biodegradable, helping keep more plastic out of the ocean.

Marrying Design with Purpose
(re)x has innovated a ubiquitous household item. "We have reengineered the hanger," said Quintana. "We increased the overall thickness by 50%, ensuring a significant improvement in durability and resistance to breakage."  (re)x also increased the vertical strength of the pant bar to hold heavy garments without bending and added an integrated "fishhook-style" garment hook.  A unique 'bridge' at the apex of the hanger completes the design to provide maneuverability in tight spaces packed with clothing. "It is superior to traditional plastic hangers in every respect, so it is not going into a landfill, and it is NOT made from virgin plastic," says Quintana.

Quintana aims to demonstrate to retailers and consumers alike that when it comes time to reorder hangers, they can use their purchasing decisions to protect the environment with a better designed, more durable, and more sustainable option. "When you consider that most every home, apartment and retail store have plastic hangers, we have a big challenge on our hands to change people's future buying patterns."

Mission Based Manufacturing
To manufacture the product, Quintana is partnering with Ocean Plastic Technologies (OPT), a South African manufacturing technology company whose sustainability principles extend well beyond recycled plastics. Ocean Plastic Technologies not only provides the raw materials and fabrication for (re)x 's hanger, but they also educate, train, and employ South African workers who have a desire to protect their environment.

OPT uses portable "micro recycling plants" that are deployed where storms and ocean currents churn up plastic along the shore. These self-contained, mobile manufacturing facilities allow OPT to access local communities quickly and efficiently to capture plastics from waterways or before they enter waterways and then recycle them for use in products like (re)x hangers.  To date, the production of (re)x hangers has removed 3.3 tons of ocean and ocean-bound plastic waste.

"Paulina has incredible passion and determination to reduce the use of virgin plastic," said Oliver Nudds, managing director at Ocean Plastic Technologies. Paulina's authenticity about the environment is a revelation and we bought right into her vision. Let's face it, everyone buys plastic hangers, but when made from recycled plastic they are the right hanger for today, and honestly the right hanger for the future. This is a hanger with a purpose. We are honored to help (re)x make a positive impact to reduce worldwide plastic waste."

Early Success and E-Commerce Functionality
After a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, (re)x has manufacturing underway in South Africa and is fulfilling purchase orders for immediate delivery. To date, the company has sold more than 1,000 hangers to high schools, colleges, and universities across North America.

This month, (re)x launched an e-commerce store on its website, allowing consumers to purchase the company's hangers online and have them shipped anywhere in the world. Individual consumers can also purchase their own 10-pack of (re)x's fully recycled hangers for a retail price of $18.

For more information about (re)x's products or to place an order, customers can visit retothex.com.


Go Bananas for Barnana® Snacks

Move over potato chips! There's a new plant-based salty snack in our midst that's gaining traction with Americans and it's made from bananas -- more specifically, plantains, a variety of banana that's loved around the world and gaining well-deserved popularity in the U.S.

Barnana Snack Photo

America's salty snack lovers are broadening their taste preferences, and recent research1 suggests that plantain chips could be the next salty snack sensation. Barnana®, a sustainable snacks company, recently fielded a national consumer survey to gauge mainstream America's knowledge about plantains as it introduces its newest chip, Organic Plantain Crisps. The national survey revealed that while potato chips may still be America's favorite, with 87% of Americans finding them at least somewhat appealing, plantain chips are a contender at 42%, far ahead of kale chips at 27%. Younger adults are even more enthusiastic, with plantain chip appeal jumping to 55% among 18-34 year olds, versus potato chips at 84%.Barnana Dip

"Plantains are an incredibly versatile fruit, used in countless ways globally," said Caue Suplicy, Barnana's Founder. "Our new Organic Plantain Crisps are a savory, crispy, layered chip perfect for Americans who love potato chips but seek something new that's made from ingredients that are better for you and better for the planet. If you've ever tasted a tostón (also known as a patacón in Ecuador), a beloved and popular snack in Latin America, you'll be familiar with the unique taste experience in store from our new Crisps." 

A common misperception about plantain chips is that they will be sweet because many plantain products on U.S. grocery shelves and served in restaurants use fully-ripe plantains that contain more natural sugar, giving them a sweeter flavor profile. Barnana's plantain chips, including the new Organic Plantain Crisps, are savory because they're made from organic green plantains which are rich in resistant starch that has not yet converted to sugar. They're sliced, gently fried in 100% organic coconut oil, mashed until they're even thinner, then fried again to create a unique, flaky and layered texture.

While taste is still the top driver in snackingBarnana bags choices, nutrition is a factor in plantain chips, according to the survey, as Americans look for better-for-you options. Barnana's Organic Plantain Crisps are made with only whole foods; the Sea Salt flavor is made from organic green plantains, organic coconut oil and sea salt and the Garlic flavor is made with the same three ingredients plus organic garlic. Each variety contains 0 grams of sugar per serving and the crisps are gluten-free, grain-free and Paleo-friendly.

Americans are embracing foods from all around the world and that includes plantains. Barnana's survey found that more than two-thirds of Americans (71%) enjoy trying foods from different cultures. This is especially true for younger Americans as 76% of those 18-34 look to try foods from other cultures, compared to 65% of those 55+. This penchant for expanding food choices helps explain the survey finding that nearly one-quarter (23%) of Americans buy plantains or plantain products at least once per month, with 37% of younger Americans, those 18-34, purchasing them at that frequency.

Barnana's Organic Plantain Crisps will also appeal to the growing number of people, sometimes called planetarians, who eat foods that leave a lighter footprint on the planet; or anyone who is trying to eat more sustainably to help reduce global environmental and social justice problems within the food system. They fit in perfectly with the growing demand for plant-based snacks.

 "We work with hundreds of small farmers in Ecuador, many of whom are indigenous people, to grow organic plantains using regenerative farming practices that rebuild and restore soil biodiversity," said Suplicy. "As a Certified B Corporation, it's critical to us that our snacks not only taste great, but that they are produced in a socially-just, environmentally sustainable way."

Barnana's Organic Plantain Crisps in both Sea Salt and Garlic flavors will launch on National Banana Lovers' Day, August 27, on Amazon and Barnana.com and then will be available at retailers including Whole Foods in mid-September. Suggested retail price is $4.99 for a 4.0-ounce package.

1 Source: YouGov, Feb 2021, Americans 18+, n=1,318


The Joys of Thrifting At Goodwill®

National Thrift Shop Day (earlier this month) should serve as a reminder to all of us to celebrate the art of thrifting and the joy of finding affordable, one-of-a-kind items. Goodwill organizations help extend the life of usable items through its business model of collecting and selling donated goods. Thrifting at Goodwill helps people create unique styles in fashion and décor while embracing the three Rs of sustainability: reduce, reuse and recycle.

woman in thrift shop

Consumers can take pride in shopping at Goodwill stores as their purchases support employment programs that help people find jobs and build careers in their communities. Nearly 86 percent of collective revenue from the sale of donated goods at Goodwill organizations supports community-based programs and services.goodwill logo

Every day and on "National Thrift Shop Day is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of thrifting and the thrill of the hunt," said Onney Crawley, chief marketing officer at Goodwill Industries International. "By thrifting at your local Goodwill store, you also extend the life of items and prevent them from ending up in landfills."

In 2020, Goodwill organizations connected more than 126,000 people with jobs through career services programs. Nearly 1.1 million people received in-person services through Goodwill, and more than 20 million people received online or mobile services.

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 156 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 12 other countries. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people find employment, Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar's highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval.

Local Goodwill organizations offer employment opportunities, job placement and training services, and other community-based programs, funded by selling donated clothing and household items in nearly 3,300 stores and at shopgoodwill.com®.

"Thrifting at Goodwill is good for the community and the environment," said Crawley.  To find your local Goodwill store or donation center, visit www.goodwill.org.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit goodwill.org. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl. Register for our Legislative Action Center via advocate.goodwill.org.


Naturepedic Wins Good Housekeeping's 2021 Parenting Awards for Best-in-Class Bedding

Leading the organic mattress revolution since 2003, Naturepedic has recently been awarded the Good Housekeeping 2021 Parenting Award for its innovative 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress.

Following rigorous evaluations from Good Housekeeping's team of scientists and editors, along with product experts and a panel of consumer testers, Naturepedic's novel product was selected as a "Best-in-Class Bedding" winner from hundreds of entries.Naturepedic

Unique to the mattress industry, Naturepedic features an exclusive product-line for kids, ranging from toddlers to teens, that is designed to meet their specific developmental needs. Their 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress features a smooth, waterproof surface on one side, meant for children that are still potty-training, along with a luxurious, quilted finish on the other side, so it can be flipped as the child ages. This design allows parents to choose what works best for their child based on their development.

"Our analysts appreciated its thoughtful design, from the organic materials to the functionality of its two-sideNaturepedicd features," comments Good Housekeeping editors, adding that it's "Perfect for a child's first bed," as the mattress "is firm for growing bodies and an ideal seven inches tall."

With generous layers of organic cotton over a premium innerspring, the 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress also features Naturepedic's unique non-toxic waterproofing technology. This makes it easy for parents to clean-up the inevitable messes by simply wiping it clean with soap and water. This results in a surface that is truly waterproof, extremely durable, and so safe it actually meets food contact standards.

"To be recognized in Good Housekeeping's highly-competitive Parenting Awards is an incredible honor and testament to the innovative nature of this product," remarks Barry A. Cik, Founder and Technical Director of Naturepedic, "At Naturepedic, we strive to give parents transparency and peace of mind, so our goal for this product was to combine safer, healthier materials with a convenient, smart design. We're thrilled to be awarded for these efforts."

All Naturepedic mattress products, for babieskids and adults, are certified organic by GOTS and certified non-toxic by MADE SAFE. They are also certified to the GREENGUARD Gold and UL Formaldehyde-Free standards, and eliminate questionable materials and chemicals found in most conventional mattresses, such as vinyl, PFCs, polyurethane foam, flame retardant chemicals and chemical flame barriers, formaldehyde, pesticides, GMOs, and glues/adhesives, while still passing all government flammability requirements.

To learn more about the Good Housekeeping 2021 Parenting Awards: goodhousekeeping.com/parenting2021  To learn more about Naturepedic's Kids Products: https://www.naturepedic.com/kids


Wildland Coffee Launches Coffee in A Tea Bag

Tired of complicated French presses and stale instant coffee when you camp or travel? With Wildland Coffee’s trendsetting Coffee in a Tea Bag, you can enjoy fresh ground coffee (not instant!) with the same ease and convenience of a quick brew of tea.

Wildland Coffee

Perfect for avid campWildland Coffee Photoers, traveling, or busy on-the-go lifestyles, Wildland Coffee can be easily turned into a delicious hot coffee beverage without sacrificing flavor or needing a ton of equipment. Simply steep one of the brand’s coffee-infused tea bags in 8 ounces of boiling hot water. For a robust cold brew, soak the bag in cold water for up to 12 hours.

Sustainably sourced from Cerrado, Brazil and 100% traceable so consumers can enjoy quality, ethical beans, Wildland Coffee’s medium roast is a creamy blend of tasty dark chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter. It’s so good some say you could even drink it black.  Coffee enthusiasts can also remain conscious of the planet while enjoying a cup of Wildland Coffee, as the tea bags are compostable and wrappers recyclable.

How to Make Wildland Coffee:

‍1) Bring 8oz of water to almost boiling
2) Place Wildland Coffee Bag in water
3) Wait at least 5-7 minutes- if you like your coffee stronger, just let it hang out in the cup for longer
4) Drink and Enjoy

Wildland Coffee is currently available in packs of 5, 10, 20, and 40 and can ship across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.  A 5-count box is $7.50.  Wildland Coffee launched their innovative coffee tea bags in March of 2021 but is on a mission to make additional coffee products that get people outdoors. We all need more fresh air these days, after all.  For more info, visit: www.wildlandcoffee.co