2011 has been another ride on the financial roller coaster. Anyone who has not felt the tremors, bumps and absolute death drops of the economy is extremely lucky. The same is true of small and large businesses alike, even though there are some rays of hope breaking through the cloudy economic storms. It’s arguable that the natural and organic industry is among the bright spots.
It is an exciting time to be involved with the sweetening of our foods and beverages. Chief among the factors driving change is the movement toward healthier foods, which for many consumers starts with how they ate sweetened. Manufacturers big and small are taking notice, and leveraging their changes in an effort to grab consumer attention. Food and commodity prices are other influencers, affecting product formulation across the manufacturing industry.
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.
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.
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.
One in five shoppers seek out gourmet foods when grocery shopping (1). Though you may not see yourself as a gourmet store per se, it’s likely that shoppers see your products as upscale and expect you to offer high-end foods and beverages.
Lots of things are hard to do on an empty stomach, and thinking is foremost among them. For one thing, you can’t keep your mind off finding something to eat. Worse still is that without the proper dietary nutrients in sufficient quantities, the brain will have trouble doing much at all, period. For this reason, consumers are looking to power up their brains while they chow down.
The organic industry is perhaps one of the most dynamic markets in the food industry today, as it grew 8% in 2010 to $28.6 billion in sales even during a down economy (1). To keep shoppers in the know, it’s important for retailers to have hard facts about why spending extra for organic is worth it.