July 5, 2023
Thrive Market has always been about partnerships with a purpose.
With more than 6,000 natural and organic products, the online retailer has made itself a place to shop with its mission to make healthy living affordable and accessible for all. Thrive Market focuses on food equity, accessibility and sustainability throughout the supply chain, farming practices and packaging.
“While the brands we find or work with may not hit every single facet at the same time, we’re almost always finding that brands are very missioned aligned,” says Christine McNerney, Thrive Market’s vice president of merchandising ops + home, health and beauty.
In the first Natural Products Expo East Buyerside Chat, New Hope Network’s Director of Content Adrienne Smith discussed with McNerney and Jason Bidart, Thrive Market’s vice president of merchandising for food, about what trends to watch and what’s most important to their mission. Here are five key takeaways.
Purge the plastics
Recently, Thrive Market, a Certified B Corporation became Climate Neutral Certified and plastic neutral, thanks to its partnership with rePurpose Global. It’s already hosted two collaborative sessions with 40 brand partners to create a plan on reducing plastic within the food, health, beauty and home spaces.
That can be tough as an e-commerce retailer. “But there are a lot of brands leading the charge and looking for alternatives,” Bidart says.
That includes NEO Plastics, he says, a proprietary packaging with an additive that speeds up microbial digestion of the package, even in landfills. At the same time, the packaging releases biogases that can be collected as a renewable energy resource.
Work with reputable partners
Measuring impact can be difficult. Showing certifications for using regenerative agriculture, such as Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC), or being cruelty free, like the Leaping Bunny or PETA, is important. So is working with other reputable organizations like Vitamin Angels and 1% For The Planet.
“That really helps us understand there's real impact being tracked and monitored, and that it is truly going somewhere to have a positive impact on people and planet,” McNerney says.
Focus on women-centered products
Thrive Market’s demographic is almost 90% female. Women’s health and hormonal support category has seen a lot of success in the past year.
“We’re seeing a lot of new brands and innovation that are really effective with their branding, marketing and messaging,” McNerney says.
Innovate for babies and kids
Across all different categories, natural products for babies and kids are doing extremely well. That includes supplements, body care, snacks and puree pouches.
“We’re seeing a big boom in the multi-pack, the kid- and snack-size products,” Bidart says. “It’s actually pretty crazy how well they’re doing.” As a result, Thrive Market is looking for new innovative brands and products in that format.
Perfect the pitch
Thrive Market loves finding amazing brands that taste good, have great stories and are aligned with the retailer’s mission. That includes looking for companies that are combating food waste and upcycling ingredients, Bidart says.
Founders need to talk about what differentiates their products from current offerings.
“On the food side, everything at a minimum has to be non-GMO,” Bidart says. “We look for organic as much as possible and regenerative organic is absolutely amazing.” But it also needs to be affordable and accessible to Thrive’s members.
Watch the entire Natural Products Expo East Buyerside Chat on demand.
Natural Products Expo East begins Sept. 20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. In addition to education sessions and trade show, New Hope's Innovation Experience debuts this year. Learn more about Expo East's agenda, exhibitors, retail buyers and registration.
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