Some start-up companies begin operations without the backing of a parent company, but for WINFUNUSA, the situation is much different. Vice President of Operations Tom Salzmann explains that the firm is a branch of Winfat Industrial Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-based toy firm.

“Our goal in establishing this company in the United States is to develop [Winfat’s] WINFUN brand,” he says, noting that Winfat sells products worldwide and has many private-label programs. “We’re at a stage where we want to develop additional products under our own brand name.”

People want to eat right, but more often, they want to eat what tastes good. Products that give them the right nutrition – such as the probiotics and prebiotics that aid good digestion and strengthen the immune system – may have the healthy ingredients and functionality nutritionists advocate. But to be consumed regularly, they also have to be something that people not only feel they should eat, but also crave.

“All my products have to pass my test,” insists Gerry Morrison, owner of Wasatch Branding Concepts LLC, which is developing Active D’Lites chocolate bars, individually wrapped bites, ice cream bars and shakes containing probiotics and prebiotics. “I have to make sure these are something that I want to eat. If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for a lot of people.”

Nowadays, consumers who purchase pro­ducts from mobile devices or on the Web often want their purchases shipp­ed to them, plan to pick it up the same day at the store, or they might just be checking the availability of their product at a competitor’s location. It is MICROS-Retail’s challenge to provide the integrated software and hardware systems that function seamlessly behind the scenes.

“Tourneau is the flagship for us,” says Jane Cannon, chief technology officer for the retail division of MICROS Systems Inc. “They represent a retailer who has really brought it together, somebody who’s created an experience on the Web.”

It is rare when a business results from the founder’s goal to improve his personal health. But for Chairman Lewis Hendler, that is exactly the story behind MICHAEL TODD true organics, a Port St. Lucie, Fla.-based manufacturer of organic and vegan skin care products.

Hendler, who started his career as an attorney, acquired MICHAEL TODD Cosmetics in December 2008. Previously, he was co-owner of scünci International, the hair accessory company formed in the early 1990s to market the well-known “scrunchy” ponytail holder that went on to become one of the world’s best known hair accessory brands. “We started [scünci] with zero market share and built it in 10 years to be the largest hair accessory company in the world,” he recalls. “[We were] passing companies like Goody Products and Conair.”

Green tea is a Japanese staple and it seems the climate is just right in the United States for the herbal sensation to flourish here, as well. Eastern tastes, such as sushi and soy, have penetrated Western culture and the shift toward a healthier lifestyle has left U.S. consumers with a void ready to be filled with new products. For ITO EN (North America) INC., a company born out of Japan and launched in North America in 2001, it seems the stars have aligned for its inevitable success.

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