The customer is always right, but perhaps the customer should always be your inspiration, too. All stores, regardless of what products or services they offer, can take the opportunity to learn from their customers and grow their business in ways that meet their needs.

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It’s no secret that functional foods comprise a steadily rising category, with more and more consumers seeking to improve their overall health through their food. However, as the category both expands and improves, new factors and new demographics are changing how functional foods are perceived.

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healthy indulgences

Pizza, popcorn and jerky. Nope, it’s not a suggestion for tonight’s dinner, though it would make for an interesting combo! Together, they represent some of the hottest savory items in the healthy indulgences market. When considered as a unit, they speak to what gourmet shoppers are craving: high-end natural foods that are built for taste and are still part of a healthy diet.

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This year makes it a (gluten-free) baker’s dozen as we honor our winners in the 13th annual Natural Choice Awards. Natural products in 18 categories were voted on by our readers, and we’ve come away with a truly impressive group of winners and runners up, including several multiple-time Natural Choice Award winners. There are some newcomers to the party as well.

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ancient grains

Ancient grains have achieved strong recognition from mainstream and natural shoppers alike. Here’s what you need to know about some of the hottest grains on the market.

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What do more than half of your shoppers have in common with each other? Pets! About 62% of U.S. households own at least one pet, and 47% percent have at least one dog, according to The Humane Society. Incorporating some pet care items into your store will likely make your loyal pack see your business as a one-stop shop for the entire family—and yes, that includes the furbabies!

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People will always crave carbohydrates of all shapes and sizes. But the cookies, crackers, breads and baking mixes that lead the market, especially in the natural and specialty channels, are offering a little something extra. Let’s find out what makes certain baked goods more appealing to the foodies of today, and how retailers can make use of this knowledge.

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With current strong market expansion for hemp products and state-legalized marijuana, the Cannabis plant is the foundation for some of the fastest growing industry segments in the United States today. This is in spite of the fact that no commercial production of hemp is occurring in the United States and the Cannabis plant remains prohibited by federal statute.

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Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, CA, once ran a television/radio advertising campaign that involved three different jingles. The first featured Beach Boys-esque music and a deep male voiceover. The second was reminiscent of a 1980s female soloist and included an energetic male voiceover and the tag line “Oh Yeah!”. The third had early 2000s-inspired electronica with an autotuned voiceover and ending line, “Chill out and get your game on.” These Genergraphics Gingles were specifically designed to reach three different sets of key clientele simultaneously: Boomers, Gen X and Echo Boomers (also known as Gen Y).

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Are your food demos and store promotions getting stale? Consider highlighting some of the hottest drinks on the market: coffee, tea and drinking chocolate. Here is some fun and important information to share with shoppers when showing them off.

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