The June sun has delivered scorching heat to this industry. Two early summer trips here at WholeFoods showed me, however, that there may be some important ways to beat the heat and let the industry shine through—if we take advantage.
The way human beings behave in groups is truly fascinating. For millennia, humans have lived together, eaten together, raised our young together and suffered losses together. As much as we may applaud individuality, as humans, we’re compelled to feel that there’s strength and comfort in numbers.
Give and take in just the right balance makes everything to work out for the best. Too bad the mainstream food industry hasn’t learned anything about balance, and keeps trying to tip the scale toward an unhealthy diet.
Jam-packed lanes. Backups forcing long lines of people to inch forward at a snail’s pace. Rubber-necking at something surprising on the sidelines. Nope, I’m not talking about my typical commute on New Jersey’s notoriously crowded highways. I’m describing the busiest aisles of Natural Products Expo West 2015, held March 5–8 in sunny Anaheim, CA.
I was driving to the office one Tuesday morning when I heard a news report that ended up occupying my attention for the week to come. Results from DNA testing of herbal supplements—requested by New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman—painted a dark picture of the supplement industry. Several store brand products had reportedly failed identity tests by including ingredients in the formulas that weren’t supposed to be there and by leaving out important active herbal ingredients. The commentator implied in a mocking tone that companies had tried to circumvent those “pesky DNA tests.”
I recently heard that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them. If you’re looking for a goal you can actually accomplish, consider one that’s within your reach and beneficial to those far and wide: lobbying on behalf of your company and this industry.
Possibly one of the most famous Person of the Year recognitions in the United States was actually a bandage intended to cover up a faux pas. A ground-breaking aviator who made a pioneering trans-Atlantic flight had inadvertently not made it onto the cover of a popular news magazine that year (1927). To correct their oversight, the editors took a “better late than never” approach by putting him on the cover at yearend and giving him the honor of Person of the Year. Since then, this cover story has been a December tradition, naming the person who most affected the year’s news, either good or bad.
About a decade or so ago, when Internet buying was starting to get really hot, I remember hearing of an experiment. A man tried living for a year without leaving his house, even banning face-to-face contact with anyone. The challenge was to see how easy it would be to buy everything he needed to live—from apples to toilet paper—online only and to communicate only through e-mail, chat rooms and other Web services.
Welcome to the 2014 edition of the WholeFoods Who’s Who of Manufacturers and Suppliers, the only reference tool of its kind in the natural products industry. In these pages, you will find listings of hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals who work for these companies.