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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Most pet owners say they are willing to do anything to give their pets long, healthy, happy lives, just like they would for their human family members. So, why feed, reward or supplement them with anything but the best? Pets are part of the family and have their own set of dietary and hygienic needs that can be amply addressed through natural products. Animal-loving, natural lifestyle customers will surely embrace these products to support many more years with their furry friends.

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The pressure is on. You are charged with making an important decision about an issue that affects millions of people. Worse, you’re really not well versed on all its complex potential ramifications. Wouldn’t it be great to have a helping hand, someone knowledgeable to tell you what you need to know in 15 minutes and leave you with a clear one-pager to remind you about everything you discussed?

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Those determined to flip the script on their digestive woes will first need to learn which types of food are up to the task. They’ll want to know how, by changing or adding to their diet, they can make their entire experience with food go more smoothly. Possessing that knowledge, and the product offerings to match, will make you the ally of such customers in their quest to digest.

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Try to convince your customers that healthful food that also manages to satisfy is more than myth. It might be a difficult task.

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