As we put the finishing touches on the Aril 2015 issue of Natural Foods Merchandiser, I still bask in the California glow of Natural Products Expo West. There we celebrated with our forefathers and mothers; we marked the passing of others; and we absorbed the palpable energy of the future. The vision of natural living as everyday rule rather than exception is gaining in the collective consciousness. Decades of dedication have birthed what could be the dream generation for natural products: the millennials.
Just as all “next generations” do, they scare us a little. They’re changing the world at a faster pace than ever before. They don’t have affinity to brands. They certainly don’t have loyalty to retail channels. But they love the story of organic. They value sustainability and this planet Earth. They embrace animal welfare. They strive for just and right—in life and in business. In the April issue, we examine what millennials want and how they shop. We explore how you can serve them better in your store.
If we focus only on this generation, though, we are bound to fail. These idealistic youth are fast-moving and raising our next generation. We need to serve them in helpful and informative ways but also keep a vision of whole health in place to affect change as we have seen our parents do. What actions will advance improving the planet and creating healthier food systems?
At Expo West, we didn’t just look at products, we didn’t just celebrate people, a lot of deep thinking and discussion occurred, too. One inspirational talk led me to ponder the future we will leave, how it’s not just about organic anymore—and we’re not talking about the silly “better than organic” here, we’re talking about truly getting back to the earth, building a strong foundation, about regenerative agriculture. I wanted to throw my fist in the air and shout, “Let’s get dirty!” Then I realized the concept isn’t limited to earth and sea. It also means growing and creating regenerative foods, regenerating ourselves in body and mind. Natural retail connects it all.
So please enjoy this issue. I hope you find inspiration and ask yourself: What will I do in my store and community—for this generation and next?
Please let me know what Natural Foods Merchandiser can do to help you build that better world.