Natural Foods Merchandiser

The state of the industry is still solid

To a packed room of more than 400 Expo West attendees, Nutrition Business Journal on Thursday laid out its predictions for how the U.S. nutrition and natural products industry will fare in 2009. Patrick Rea, NBJ’s publisher and editorial director, first dished out the bad—but not surprising—news: Industry growth is slowing.

“No nutrition industry product category will be immune to the effects of this recession,” he said. But then came what everyone in the room was likely hoping to hear: “We do not expect the nutrition industry to contract in 2009 or 2010,” noted Rea, who said NBJ forecasts 7.5 percent growth for the industry in 2009. “We expect to see $7.6 billion in new sales, down from $9 billion in new sales 2007.”

Rea’s presentation kicked off “NBJ’s State of the Industry: Hot New Products and Industry Trends” seminar. Michael Movitz, vice president of business development at market research company SPINS, followed Rea and offered his assessment of how the industry performed in both the natural & specialty and conventional channels in 2008. The news was particularly good for the natural channel, which Movitz said is still very much an expansion engine for the industry. Natural supermarkets, Movitz said, posted strong dollar growth of 10.9 percent in 2008, with stores continuing to show solid growth at the end of last year.

NBJ Editor Carlotta Mast and Natural Products Consulting Group Principal Bob Burke finished the session with a discussion of leading and emerging product trends for the natural products industry. Stevia, “beauty from within” drinks, gluten-free and kids’ nutrition were at the top of Mast’s list, while Burke pointed to precycling, anti-aging skincare products, natural candy bars (think healthier versions of conventional favorites such as Twix or Snickers), salba and natural and sustainable hygiene products as categories that will likely gain ground in 2009.

Carlotta Mast
Nutrition Business Journal

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