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How retailers can take action on issues affecting industry

Recently, I was privileged to participate in the Natural Foods Merchandiser Market Overview Webinar with Carlotta Mast, editor-in-chief of NFM and and John Gay, CEO of the Natural Products Association. The Market Overview always contains timely and useful information for those in the natural products industry, but this year, considering the economic and regulatory uncertainties we are facing, it carries extra importance.

If you were among those who joined us live for this event or you’ve listened to the archived recording over the past weeks, thank you for taking the time to do so. I trust it was worth your while.

I learned a lot while preparing for the Webinar, going over data provided by NFM and other retail trade magazines. I also gained many valuable insights from what Carlotta and John shared during the presentation. One of John’s points really stuck with me and helped me to see how we can direct our efforts to be the most effective when issues affecting our industry come up in Washington.

Two major issues we’re seeing on Capitol Hill at this time are the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues and the Durbin Bill, potentially coming before lawmakers for a vote. (If you’re not familiar with one or both, please visit the NPA's website at

Referring to the NDI situation, John said that when an issue is a matter of rules or protocol being debated and eventually amended by a regulatory agency, our best course of action is to work through a trade association such as the NPA. The FDA and other government agencies listen to and rely upon trade groups when making weighty decisions.

However, when it comes to pending legislative issues, such as the Durbin Bill, we need to deal directly with our senators and representatives. They want to know what their constituents, those that vote them into office, have to say. These are times when we, our retail staffs and our customers can be most effective by calling or emailing to let all voices be heard. The NPA also has many resources and tools to help carry out these actions.

If we want to impact how these and other industry-affecting issues turn out, we have to know the rules of the game and get plugged in accordingly.

If you did not yet register for and log in to the Webinar, you can still access it for free. Also, I will be doing a seminar at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore in September sharing data from the NFM Market Overview, along with data and info from several other national trade magazines. Please join me!

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