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.

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.

New from Kinnikinnick Foods Inc. are gluten-free, ready-to-fill frozen pie crusts. Each package of Kinnikinnick Pie Crusts contains two 8-inch pie shells. At 100-calories per serving, the pie shells can be used to make any traditional single- or double crust pie, according to the company. In addition to being gluten free, the product is also free of dairy, tree nuts, peanuts and preservatives.

Flaxmilk is now available from Flax USA. The first of its kind, Flaxmilk is an all-natural, dairy-free drink made using cold-pressed flax oil. The product, according to the company, is delicious on whole-grain cereal. It also is plant-based and enriched with vitamins A, D and B12. Additionally, flaxmilk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Golden Platter Foods now offers fully cooked gluten-free chicken nuggets, tenders and patties. The allergen-free products are made with all-natural ingredients, including hormone-free chicken. Says the company, “When heated, the crunchy coating provides the perfect balance to the tender farm fresh chicken.”
SRP: $6.99.

Tipu’s Chai has released Chai Now, a chai tea latte blend. The all-natural mix contains a mix of black tea, organic spices, organic non-GMO soy milk and organic evaporated cane juice and can be dissolved using hot or iced water. There are no additives or preservatives. One 12-oz bag makes 10 servings.

NOW Foods has incorporated BetterStevia 100-count packets into its line. Original BetterStevia, Organic BetterStevia and French Vanilla BetterStevia are made, says the company, using a superior source which guarantees purity, taste and consistency. And, BetterStevia, is a whole leaf extract formulated using an enzymatic treatment process that eradicates overpowering and bitter aftertastes.
SRP: $8.99–10.99.

Stonyfield presents its new organic yogurt, which is fat-free, contains 50% less added sugar and is 100 calories per serving. This yogurt is said to be the first sweetened with organic stevia. The yogurt also contains a touch of cane sugar. Stonyfield donates 10% of its profits to efforts that help protect and restore the planet.