Inspirational natural products retailers, researchers and advocates received Natural Products Association recognition during its annual meeting last month at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore.
Members gathered for the annual ceremony that always highlights great men and women who have made and are making the natural products industry one of the best in which to work. And they convened for the business of association work, too—the NPA annual meeting.
Unfortunately, this all occurred with less than 100 in attendance. (About 1,100 retail members comprise the national natural products advocacy organization.)
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What’s most important for this association—and others—to be doing for you now?
Before these few NPA members, current president, Jeff Wright of Wright’s Nutrients, announced the “historic” participation in a “pivotal” election that in the end denied a move to expand association membership to larger grocers and online businesses. The election response rate: 27 percent.
And the association’s next president, Roxanne Green of PCC Natural Markets, outlined her top goals: focus on GMO labeling and increase membership engagement.
With his ever-present positivity and drive, Natural Products Association CEO and Executive Director John Shaw said the industry’s had its say in the election and that he’s proud his team effectively completed this long-open association discussion. Additionally, he noted his certainty that the association will attract members as it has been gaining traction (and attention) in Washington and with major media.
“We don’t need to be aggressive, we need to be progressive,” he said.
As with associations and organizations of all kinds, the few set the agenda for the many (if participation at the annual meeting is any indication). Yet industry leadership seems more important than ever as attention on GMO labeling rises, we have lost national champions in the Congressional ranks, scrutiny of supplements increases, and national legislation such as the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013, NDI Draft Guidance and more moves forward (or languishes).
The voice of the natural products industry—of independent retailers—must be heard in this association (and others), with government of all levels and in your local communities. Is your voice being heard?