Traction. 2015 was the year natural products gained significant traction outside their core channels of distribution. Overall, natural and organic product sales grew a stunning 14.9%, adding $9.367 billion to total $72.4 billion in sales, and reaching 11.75% of total U.S. food store sales. Perhaps more noteworthy is this fact: total U.S. food store sales grew 3.1%, adding $19.1 billion; meaning natural and organic products growth made up nearly half (49%) of this number. At this rate, the natural products industry is on track to reach one-third of total food store sales within the next generation, or $500 billion of the then $1.5 trillion U.S. food store business.
There has hardly been a better time to eat as a vegan or vegetarian. Whether consumers are longtime followers, new converts or “flexitarians” dabbling in the meat or animal byproduct free lifestyle, they now have more foods and flavors to choose from.
Some 25,000 industry members came together in Baltimore, MD, for the 30th annual Natural Products Expo East tradeshow and conference. This year’s event boasted 1,363 exhibiting companies, including 400 new brands that launched at the show. Here are four observations from the tradeshow from WholeFoods editors.
When we see the words gluten-free, allergen-free or dairy-free on the shelf, in many cases, our mind goes to the preventative—the idea that these foods are here to accommodate for health needs. On paper, this may still be the case, but in reality, that frame of mind is outdated, and we need only to look to the numbers to prove it.
One innovative retailer has managed not only to survive, but also to thrive for over 25 years through an emphasis on building trust and loyalty among their consumer base. It is this achievement and innovation that makes Debra’s Natural Gourmet a perfect choice for the WholeFoods Magazine 2015 Retailer of The Year.