Brattleboro, VT—More American families than ever before are adding organic products to their weekly shopping lists, says the Organic Trade Association (OTA). In the 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study by the OTA, 1,300 families were polled about their feelings and buying habits when it comes to organic products. Four in 10 families said they are buying more organic foods than they were in the year prior. Of these families who have made the switch, three in 10 are brand new to the market.

News from industry food companies.

A new industry standard currently under development by the Natural Products Association (NPA) is set to help fill what many see as a troublesome gap in the market. Sometime next year, the trade association plans to roll out a definition and certification program for some “natural” food products.

Washington, D.C.—Activities for the second annual Non-GMO month, a multi-faceted advocacy campaign directed against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food, went off without a hitch this October, and drew more attention to the growing movement.

Given the surging food allergy statistics in this country, it’s likely that an overwhelmingly large percentage of your shoppers are looking for a “-free” lunch—especially foods that are devoid of nuts, gluten, lactose, eggs and more.

News from industry food companies.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the oft-maligned and omnipresent sweetening agent, may be in for a major change if corn refiners get their way. The ingredient itself, frequently cited for its overconsumption and the target of many recent consumer health initiatives, won’t undergo a transformation, but the way it’s referred to on food labels could, pending a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision.

An investment into private label is partly a bid to expand the unique brand that a store is, in essence, already providing to its community. Exclusive product offerings give customers a chance to take home with them the quality, the values and the healthy lifestyle that the store embodies for them to begin with.

It’s hard to stay ambivalent about technology. Either you love it and can’t get enough of it, or you dislike the change it brings, and the way its newness encroaches on our lifestyles. Many are at least fearful of jumping fully on board, because technology, even with all of its potential, can be intimidating to learn and grow with. The prospect of turning central aspects of your natural products store over to these machines? It makes for a daunting decision to be sure, but ask those who have done it, and they’ll likely tell you it was fun, profitable and brought them closer to the needs of their store and its customers.