How do you know if you’re being burdened by toxins? It’s never a question of if, according to Walter Crinnion, ND, professor at Tempe, Ariz.-based Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. “It’s a question of how toxic are we and how it affects health,” he said.
So unless you live in a bubble, toxins have touched you, which explains why last year consumers spent more than $100 million on cleansing and detox products, according to Schaumburg, Ill.-based market research firm SPINS. And why Crinnion's “Call of the Cleanse” seminar drew a crowd of attendees.
Crinnion helped retailers in the audience differentiate three types of toxins: fat soluble, which accumulate over time; water soluble, which come at us and then flush out every day; and heavy metals. The distinctions are important because the strategies to reduce each vary.
To reduce fat-soluble toxins, according to Crinnion, people must stop exposure and increase excretion through colonic irrigations, saunas and supplements like chlorella, green tea and rice bran fiber.
- To dodge water-soluble toxins, Crinnion recommends avoiding the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables, stopping cooking in plastics, cleaning indoor air and choosing phthalate-free personal care products.
Other key supplements: broccoli, which increases enzymatic action; N-acetylserine (NAC), which increases glutathione levels in the body and can work with broccoli to usher toxins out of the body; activated charcoal, which prevents the recycling of toxins; and probiotics.
Marketing and merchandising detox products
Easier said than done? Perhaps, which is why savvy natural retailers will prepare for shoppers who inevitably will look to them for guidance on how to choose and do an appropriate cleanse. But be careful not to cross the line and give health advice, cautioned Mike Greenblatt, owner of Manahawkin, N.J.-based Pangaea Naturals, a certified-organic store he and his wife opened in 2004. “I guide them to the information and let them make their own decision,” he said.
Consider it an opportunity to capture this audience and turn them into lifelong shoppers. To that end, Greenblatt offered the following merchandising and marketing tips:
Interact with customers.
Customers like a personal experience whether shopping for food or cleansing products. Greenblatt makes a point to get to know customers by name to individualize the experience.
Create a seasonal end cap.
Customers want to get off to a fresh start each year, so January is the perfect time to create a cleansing end cap in your store.
Stock books and DVDS on cleanses.
Greenblatt has chairs and tables near his store library, so customers can get cozy while educating themselves while shopping. Greenblatt’s employees often point customers to books and even read relevant passages to customers to help them make purchasing decision.
Hold events with cleansing experts.
Bring health experts into your store for lectures. On days when Greenblatt has in-store events, he sees a spike in sales.
Use social networks.
Greenblatt hasn’t yet figured out the best strategies for these new technologies, but he knows his customers are already there, offering another opportunity for him to connect with them.