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February 16, 2022
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Represented by more than 40 ethnic subgroups and countries including China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Fiji and Samoa, this population is predicted to jump to more than 51 million by 2060 from 20 million.
A significant number of AAPI people own and operate companies. According to the latest U.S. Census data, there are more than 577,000 Asian-owned businesses, which translates to one in 10 of all businesses nationwide. Currently, nearly 7,000 businesses are owned by Pacific Islanders. As these populations continue to grow rapidly, the number of AAPI-owned companies will surely increase too.
We’re already seeing this in the natural products industry. There is a plethora of AAPI-owned natural and organic brands moving the needle with innovative products, authentic flavors, sustainable practices and strong missions—definitely deserving the support of retailers and other stakeholders.
Plus, if there were ever a time to back AAPI-owned businesses, it’s right now. Along with navigating the persistent COVID-19 crisis and supply chain constraints, this population has borne the brunt of unprecedented racial discrimination and outright hate since the pandemic began.
From March 2020 through September 2021, 10,370 hate incidents were reported to the nonprofit advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate, the majority of which occurred in 2021. This means that one in five AAPI people has experienced such an incident, whether it be verbal or online harassment, a physical assault or a civil rights violation such as workplace discrimination or refusal of service.
Fortunately, given the growing number of AAPI-owned natural products brands—including several exhibiting at Natural Products Expo West in March—it has never been easier to support these businesses. Here are 20 of the exciting AAPI-owned companies you’ll want to meet on the show floor.
Melaina Juntti is a longtime freelance journalist, copy editor and marketing professional. With nearly two decades of experience in the natural products industry, she is a frequent contributor to Nutrition Business Journal, Natural Foods Merchandiser and NewHope.com. Melaina is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and is passionate about hiking, camping, fishing and live music.
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