State of growth: SPINS report on natural industry to be featured by Naturally Chicago

This piece is part of the Good Food Insights series—a collaboration with FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator and Naturally Chicago programs, Esca Bona, and SPINS—that unpacks the dynamics driving the good food movement.

Bob Benenson, Communications Manager

September 19, 2019

4 Min Read
State of growth: SPINS report on natural industry to be featured by Naturally Chicago

If you had to boil down SPINS’ data-rich State of the Natural Industry report to one takeaway, it is this: The 5% sales growth rate for natural food and beverages over the year ending May 19, 2019, was nearly three times greater than for the overall food and beverage industry—continuing a now-longstanding trend.

“Natural products have been outpacing their conventional counterparts for some time in terms of dollar growth,” said Jessica Hochman, SPINS senior manager of natural insights and innovation research and the lead author of the State of the Natural Industry report in a webinar that accompanied the release of the study.

SPINS’ groundbreaking analysis is getting quite an airing. It was featured at New Hope Network’s Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore on Sept. 12 in a presentation by Andrew Henkel, SPINS senior vice president of brand growth solutions.

It will also be highlighted at Naturally Chicago’s Quarterly Keynote Event Oct. 7, this time with Anu Goel, SPINS president of client growth solutions, taking the lead. Brandon Barnholt, CEO of KeHE Distributors, will headline the event. For more information and tickets, please visit the Naturally Chicago Events site.

As the leading provider of data and insights for the natural, organic and specialty products industry since 1996, SPINS—a partner in this Good Food Insights with New Hope Network and FamilyFarmed—is well positioned to paint the landscape of the national market.

“Our cross-channel data has given us a front-row seat to the evolution of the trends and brands driving this industry forward, and our product intelligence has allowed us to pinpoint and anticipate the key factors driving consumer behavior at shelf, including emerging consumer ways of eating and brand positioning, providing insight along the way into where the industry was going,” wrote SPINS CEO Tony Olson in the introduction to the State of the Natural Industry report.

Here are some of the key topline findings by SPINS (the Naturally Chicago event will present a much deeper dive into market details).

● SPINS reports that natural food and beverage product sales amounted to $47.2 billion over the one-year period.

● There is much room for growth: The above figure amounted to 10.5% of the overall $448.2 billion overall food and beverage market. But … natural products accounted for 29.3% of all food and beverage industry sales growth.

● Good Food Insights examined consumers’ rising demands for convenience in their food and beverage purchases in an article on “fresh snacking” published in August 2018. Already a major factor in the product mix in both natural and MULO grocery sales, this trend is beginning to have an impact in the convenience store channel. While SPINS’ research found natural products amounted to just 4.6% of total convenience store sales, that constituted a whopping 12.6% growth rate.

Good Food Insights SPINS slide

The SPINS report also referenced data that was reported in two other Good Food Insights articles.

● An Insights article published in July 2019 provided SPINS’ breakdown of regional sales of food and beverage products in the MULO channel. And it found that natural product growth in this channel—where the vast majority of Americans gets their groceries—outstrips conventional growth in all seven regions of the United States. It also found that natural product sales in the MULO channel have reached 13.9% of total sales in California and 11.6% in the Northeast.

● The report provided data updated from a consumer segmentation study conducted by SPINS in partnership with IRI, and reported in a Good Food Insights piece in June 2018. The study found that core natural products consumers make up 21% of the population but 44% of overall natural and organic product sales—a figure that rises to 70% of those product sales in the natural retail channel retailers.

● Christine Kapperman, New Hope Network’s senior content director, provided insights from the annual natural grocer survey conducted by New Hope's Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine, for which she is editor-in-chief. That survey found that 66% of natural grocery stores responding to the magazine’s survey expected rising sales in 2019; 19% expected falling sales, down from 30% in the previous year’s survey (15% predicted flat sales this year).

Good Food Insights SPINS slide

Impressive data, yet this only scratches the surface of the SPINS report. If you are in Chicago or will be there Oct. 7, do not miss the opportunity to hear the details straight from SPINS at the Naturally Chicago Quarterly Keynote (tickets can be accessed here). If you can’t be there, make sure to access the report from SPINS website.

Good Food Insights is an editorial partnership of New Hope Network’s Esca Bona thought-leadership platform; FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator and Naturally Chicago programs; and SPINS, the leading wellness-focused data technology company for the natural, organic and specialty products industry. Good Food Insights articles provide timely analysis of major trends and innovation in the national good food landscape.

About the Author(s)

Bob Benenson

Communications Manager, FamilyFarmed

Bob Benenson is the communications manager for FamilyFarmed's communications manager. He spent 30 years covering politics and elections for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., including 11 years as the publishing company's politics editor. After relocating to Chicago in 2011, Bob changed tracks and merged his desire for a mission-driven second career with his lifelong passion for food. His roles with FamilyFarmed include serving as managing editor for its Good Food on Every Table website, and he was lead editor and co-writer for its Direct Market Success farmer training manual. 

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