The 2011 NutrAwards were announced Thursday at Anaheim Hilton. Len Monheit, director of New Hope Natural Media’s Supply Network, handed crystal trophies to DSM Nutritional Products in the Best New Ingredient category and to Good Cacao for its eponymous functional chocolate bar in the best finished product category.

The new ingredient contest focuses on the health benefits of the new ingredient and the quality of the supporting science. The new product category awards excellence in a finished product incorporating functional ingredients (once again, backed by strong science) in the product.

DSM won this year for Fruitflow, a water-soluable, tomato-based ingredient that was originally developed by Provexis.  Fruitflow is unique in that it was the first (and still only one of two) ingredients to have an approved health claim in Europe.  Fruitflow stimulates blood flow by supporting healthy platelet aggregation. DSM and Provexis announced a partnership centered on Fruitflow in mid 2010.

Reto Rieder,  senior marketing manager for DSM, said Fruitflow is backed by seven human studies, two of which are published.  The company decided on a partnership with Provexis after surveying the marketplace.  It’s a crowded field of ingredients in the cardiovascular support and cholesterol categories.

“But in the blood circulation category there was not a lot of competition,” Rieder said.

“Fruitflow was discovered in 1999 at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Provexis developed the clinicals," Rieder said.

Fruitflow acts by smoothing the blood platelets, inhibiting unnatural clumping and improving circulation.  Fruitflow is also unique in that, according to Provexis’ research, it the provides an immediate health benefit, improving blood flow with minutes of consumption via a beverage.

In conjunction with winning the award, Rieder announced the first North American product launch that incorporates Fruitflow.  He had on hand two shot products made by Relaxzen, which are targeted toward the frequent flyer market and others who have to sit for long periods.

Good Cacao, which won for its chocolate bar, is a pioneer in the functional chocolate category. It is the world’s first organic superfood chocolate to incorporate proprietary, patented nutraceutical ingredients that offer targeted, evidence-based nutritional benefit. Good Cacao added Ganeden BC30 as one of their 16 superfood ingredients for BC30’s durability, effectiveness and safety. The product contains an impressive list of other functional ingredients such as Cognis’ Heart Choice, Fuji’s AstaREAL, Martek’s life’sDHA, and Wellmune WGP, Biothera’s flagship immune support ingredient.

None of that would be of much use if it didn’t taste good, and Good Cacao nailed that part by using premium food ingredients such as raw Ecuadorian cacao, vanilla from Madagascar and others. The cacao is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and the company’s commitment to sustainability extends also the packaging. Each hand made bar is gold foiled wrapped and sealed in a recycled, FSC Certified, translucent parchment paper that is fully biodegradable.

Good Cacao, founded by CEO Paul Frantellizzi, stands apart with its commitment to health benefits.

“Paul wanted the most functional chocolate he could have,” said Mike Bush, vice president of business development at Ganeden, who accepted the award on Good Cacao’s behalf. The product includes true efficacious doses of the functional ingredients listed on the label.

“He’s not pixie dusting,” Bush said.

“Utilizing superfood ingredients, fair trade practices, manufacturing locally in our USDA certified organic facility, using exotic raw ingredients and sustainable packaging coupled with our commitment to a triple-bottom-line philosophy is not just what we do, it defines who we are,” said Frantellizzi in a statement accompanying the company’s entry.