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What will keep natural products retail sales growing?

With Wall Street once again on a roller coaster and our political parties bickering about how to deal with the United States’ massive debt and stagnant employment market, I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for the economy through the rest of 2011 and 2012. The pessimist in me thinks we are in for a continued rough road ahead—at least for a while. My more optimistic side—the one that fortunately is frequently fed by my work within the growing natural products industry—believes that we are actually moving in the right direction.Natural Foods Merchandiser receipt

In preparing for Natural Products Merchandiser’s 2011 Market Overview Webinar tomorrow, I’m trying to keep both of these voices in balance. I certainly don’t want to sugar coat any of the data from our survey of nearly 300 natural products retailers, but I also want to use this Webinar—and our research—to help identify as many growth opportunities as possible for the natural products industry in 2011 and beyond.

As our NFM Market Overview research found, the overall $36 billion natural products market continued to grow last year—but some product categories fared much better than others. In addition, the natural retail channel expanded at a slower rate in 2010 than did nearly every other sales channel (except for multi-level marketers). That’s not necessarily surprising, however, given that the natural retail channel continues to generate the lion’s share of natural products sales in the United States. Tomorrow’s event will provide a much deeper dive into the findings from our Market Overview research.

Helping me to paint a picture of how retailers fared last year, what is expected this year and where expansion opportunities exist for the future will be John Gay, CEO and executive director of the Natural Products Association, and Bill Crawford, director of retail publishing programs at New Hope Natural Media. We’ll use this Webinar to discuss the economy, important product and consumer trends, and the changing regulatory and legislative environment facing the natural products industry.

If you’re a natural products retailer or manufacturer, or you serve this industry in some other capacity, I hope you’ll be able to attend this complimentary, data-packed Webinar tomorrow. The event starts at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow (Aug. 17) and is free of charge. Register today so you can start preparing for tomorrow.

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