With a wide enough selection and a nudge in the right direction, even your most cooking-averse customers will find themselves dashing in the sea salt and peppering over the stew. The spice suggestions to follow will surely bring variety to their palates and their lives, but before we can apply these tips to great and tasty result, we must learn the basics on approaching spices, along with a few extra insights that any aspiring home cook must know.

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The financial figures are getting more and more impressive. Private label food and beverage sales surpassed $98 billion in the United States in 2011, according to Packaged Facts (1). That accounts for 17.6% of total food and beverage sales.

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While some retail sectors are making the best of stagnant or declining sales, the natural/organic industry is a standout. Natural and organic products retailers hold a unique place in the lives of consumers. Even if shoppers have less financial security than they did in years past, there’s no lack of enthusiasm and loyalty when it comes to the natural and organic products they depend on to lead healthy lives.

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Without question, preferences in the dessert category follow  the flavor trends and movements taking place in the food industry at large. Savory, for some, is the new sweet, while others look to get creative by cooking up some sweet concoctions for themselves.

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Whether we’re gulping, sipping or slurping, beverages are a major part of our dietary intake. Drinks are so important that their sweeteners, calorie content, energy boosting quality and the like have been under the microscope. Here, we review some of the most recent beverage-related news stories and how they have affected the natural/organic products industry.

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The one organ in the body we can least afford to have lapse is the heart. Unfortunately, the majority of us routinely or even habitually lapse in protecting our cardiovascular health through diet. Part of this is simple dedication, but one also needs the know-how, as well as access to the right foods. A push in the right direction from a knowledgeable retailer doesn’t hurt, and you can go about doing this for your clientele by making your grocery section a heart-healthy haven. 

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Sensitive diet products—gluten-free, allergen-free and intolerance-friendly—are big, big business today. They’ll be Bill Gates big by 2017, when the global market is predicted to crest $26 billion (1). It’s a classic case of supply meeting demand. The result for those with special dietary restrictions is increased selection and a more fulfilling experience with their food. The implication for product makers certainly involves more profit, but there’s also an imperative to continue to satisfy, reach out to and protect their new customers.

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We all know that fussy child who has refused to eat anything but chicken nuggets for weeks on end. “It’s a phase,” her parents say. “She’ll grow out of it soon.” They’re right to a certain extent. All children go through some amount of “stranger danger” with foods, not wanting to eat anything but a few familiar items. Too many kids—from the very young to teenagers—never learn to eat a balanced diet, however.

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Nothing says “summer” like a great cookout. Hands-on, creative retailers can help shoppers put two and two together to create ideas for a green and healthy meal. Here are some tips for how.

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Sweeteners have been all over headlines in 2012:

—“Fructose Consumption Increases Visceral Fat, Study Reports,” The New York Times, February 6, 2012
—“Sugar Seeks Sweet Revenge Against Competition from Corn,” Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2012
—“Is Sugar Toxic?” 60 Minutes, April 1, 2012
—“Rice-Sweetened Baby Formula May Contain Arsenic: U.S. Study,” Reuters, February 16, 2012

Here we brief you on the latest sweeteners news your shoppers will need to know.

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