First, it’s got to taste good, and it’s got to be full of real foods in as close to their natural state as possible. USDA Organic is a major plus, too. And I admit I'm a sucker for great packaging; I love companies that make an effort to communicate their values with engaging visual branding, special-diet certifications, and eco-friendly materials.
Kelsey Blackwell, Senior Editor, Food
A product must first taste delicious while delivering nutrition using minimally processed ingredients. I then look for third party certifications such as USDA Organic, Gluten-Free and Non-GMO Project Verified. Brands that go the distance by also supporting environmental and social causes definitely get kudos.
Jenna Blumenfeld, Associate Managing Editor
I’m drawn to products not only dedicated to helping us live more sustainably, but also that’s from a company which scrutinizes every aspect of their supply chain. If a certification label is on the (recyclable or compostable) package—such as Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic, or Fair Trade—the product gets extra points!
Susan Enfield, Senior Editor, Health
I get excited by supplements from companies that invest in human clinical research on efficacy, as well as third-party quality certifications. Also: efficacious doses; clean ingredients (no binders or fillers, gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, non-GMO); and innovative delivery systems. Sourcing traceability and efforts to support local workers and communities are also a plus.
Natural beauty has evolved so much; it’s no longer enough for product to be nontoxic. I carefully read ingredient lists and labels to ensure the product is in fact natural or organic. Then I look for research-backed bioactives that prove purity and efficacy. Finally, I love a company making a positive impact and telling a story, whether through packaging or sourcing.
Radha Marcum, Editor in Chief, Delicious Living
I keep it simple. I look for organic, wholesome ingredients with fresh, vibrant taste. Classic brands and natural newbies sit side-by-side on my shelf. No meat for me—I'm a lifelong vegetarian. Having grown up on eclectic-ethnic cuisines of the west coast, I love bold tastes like fiery chile, raw cacao, curry spices, and nori. Bonus points for creative use of healthy ingredients!