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Billion Dollar Natural Health Industry Awards its Leaders

22 March 2012

Billion Dollar Natural Health Industry Awards its Leaders

The leaders of the natural products industry were recognised at the New Zealand Natural Products Summit in Rotorua today.

The annual awards, held by Natural Products New Zealand and sponsored by James & Wells Intellectual Property, the Cawthron Institute, and Label & Litho, acknowledge individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Natural Products New Zealand executive director, Michelle Palmer, said the natural products sector had now exceeded $1billion in revenue and continues to go from strength to strength, putting it on an earnings par with the New Zealand viticulture industry.

“The natural products industry has reached a significant milestone, showing continued growth even throughout the challenging global economic conditions and this comes three years ahead of the anticipated target of reaching $1billion in revenue by 2013.

“This is testament to the work of each company, and the many individuals within those companies, that has continued to innovate and develop new markets through strong research and persistence. The Awards recognise just some of the outstanding achievements,” said Mrs Palmer.

This year’s James & Wells Intellectual Property Excellence in Marketing Award winner was Essential Touch Ltd for Goodbye Sandfly, a natural insect repellent that not only wards off bugs but even acts as a bite soother and skin healer. After working as a river guide for 14 years, founder, Becky Cashman began experimenting with developing a natural repellent for her clients and herself. What started as a very small operation is now a highly successful business with Goodbye Sandfly distributed through major supermarkets and pharmacies in over 700 locations in New Zealand.

Driving loyalty has been key to the brand’s success and Cashman’s belief that by providing a high level of value to customers by marketing with giving, you attract new customers and gain incredible loyalty has paid off. With a strong social media strategy, in particular, Facebook and Twitter, combined with a digital magazine, an online shop and the publication of a guide to wellness book, Goodbye Sandfly has taken an innovative approach to marketing and achieved outstanding growth.

The Cawthron Innovation in Science & Technology Award went to Vitaco Health NZ Ltd for its research and development of Biolane™ LPPC, a unique Green Lipped mussel product for horses. Biolane, which is well accepted internationally for the support of arthritis and degenerative joint disease in humans, uses a proprietary process which preserves the naturally occurring anti-inflammatory and tissue protecting activities of the New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel. Working with Massey University’s animal research centre, extensive and challenging clinical trials were undertaken on horses that scientifically proved Biolane significantly alleviates the severity of lameness and joint pain and improves joint flexibility. An equine Biolane product is being prepared for market which Vitaco expects to gain significant share of the equine joint market both locally and internationally.

Vitaco Health also scooped the Label & Litho Sustainability Award for its initiative that reduces the company’s waste to landfill, increases volume of waste being recycled and reduces the overall cost of waste. As a result, waste disposal costs were reduced by 66%, an average of 80.59% of total waste produced was recycled and only 19.41% of waste went to landfill. To achieve this, staff were trained on what can and cannot be recycled and the best way to present materials for recycling. Full waste audits of the manufacturing, warehousing and office areas took place and separation processes and recycling infrastructure, such as cages and bins for different materials, were introduced.

The Outstanding Contribution to the New Zealand Natural Products Industry Award was awarded to Murray (Ross) Keeley, chief executive of SeaDragon Marine Oils, for the enormous voluntary contribution he has made to benefit the industry over many years. Ross was a founding member of Natural Products New Zealand (NPNZ) and his expertise and skills have helped evolve it into a highly effective organisation that represents the views of a diverse industry. Serving voluntarily as a board member for the last nine years, Ross has held various positions within the organisation providing considerable guidance to the industry, and has also served on the Trust board for the Canterbury Nelson Nutraceutical Cluster.

The Industry Awards capped off the eleventh annual NZ Natural Products Summit which was formally opened by Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Economic Development, and Science & Innovation,, and was attended by natural health specialists, research organisations, government agencies, big and small manufacturers and marketers including brand leaders like Healtheries, Comvita, Blackmores, Manuka Health, Go Healthy NZ and Phytomed.

Awards Winners’ Summary:

James & Wells Intellectual Property Excellence in Marketing Award : Essential Touch Ltd for Goodbye Sandfly
The Cawthron Innovation in Science & Technology Award : Vitaco Health NZ Ltd
Label & Litho Sustainability Award: Vitaco Health NZ Ltd
Outstanding contribution to the New Zealand natural products industry : Murray (Ross) Keeley

To learn more about the New Zealand natural products industry visit


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