Let’s play a word association game. What comes to mind when you hear the term, “gluten free diet plan”? Perhaps, “celiac disease”?  Try, “dairy free.” Did you think of “lactose intolerant”? Now, what about “nut free”? Maybe you thought of “allergen.”

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Often, we don’t know what we need to make our lives more convenient, until some new technology arrives to show us. People got by without the Internet fairly well in the pre-digital era, but can you imagine life without it now? If so, good for you! You’re a more resourceful sort than the rest of us over-connected Web crawlers. But the point here is that the same general principle applies to retailing. Once you’ve integrated or upgraded to some of the technologies described below, you’ll never know how you got by without them.
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On product labels, in testimonials and in marketing literature, we often see phrases like, “…for the active lifestyle.” It’s trendy marketing vernacular, sure, but when it comes to sports nutrition foods and beverages, it rings true: the consumer base for these products is indeed active, and it needs products to support that lifestyle.

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Sprouting up in neighborhoods across eight different states and counting, a relatively young chain of grocery stores trades on a decidedly old-time look and feel. “When you walk into a Sprouts Farmers Market, it’s supposed to feel a little bit different than your everyday grocery store,” says communications manager Lauren Rosenblum. With fresh produce and wholesome grains sold from wooden crates and barrels, and spacious aisles all brightly lit to evoke the feel of a sunny afternoon outdoors, the store makes quite the impression on first-time shoppers. There are a lot of those lately, as the chain expands rapidly and grand openings generate excitement in new markets.

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Healthy foods should all be functional to a certain extent; fatty fish deliver omega-3s and oranges are packed with vitamin C. So, what makes certain products “functional foods,” and how are your shoppers shaping the functional foods and beverages market?

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As an independent natural products retailer looking to improve your store, how do you tackle the world’s largest natural products industry trade show, Natural Products Expo West?

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Within the ever evolving tale of organics, there are many sub-narratives. Some are topics that prove contentious, some complex and some confounding. But they are always intriguing, and to those who care deeply about the organic food industry and its future, they are all highly important stories to tell.

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For the past 10 years, WholeFoods Magazine has honored outstanding natural products industry companies with our Natural Choice Awards.

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Those that self-define as vegans or vegetarians were once a rare breed, at least in Western culture. Less so today: Last year’s Gallup poll revealed that 5% of people in the United States think of themselves as vegetarians. 2% identified as vegan, and there’s not a lot of overlap between the two; most respondents that called themselves vegan marked down that they were not vegetarians (1).

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It’s that time of the year again! Natural Products Expo West, hosted by New Hope Natural Media, is once again coming to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA from Thursday, March 7th to Sunday, March 10th. On Friday and Saturday, the show floor is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Co-located with several other events (Engredea; Nutracon; Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace; and Beer, Wine, and Spirits Marketplace), Expo West provides invaluable knowledge for those looking to improve their stores and products.

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