Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
The days of finding one-off natural food co-ops and off-the-grid country markets for grass-fed beef or almond milk hand cream are over. Today it's as close as the nearest convenience store.
While healthy eaters and environmentally conscious shoppers appreciate options that reflect their values, the sheer abundance and ongoing ambiguity around "natural" labeling still can confuse and overwhelm.
Here are four ideas to help retailers and manufacturers thrive in this important, still-emerging marketplace.
1. Take the lead: With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration refusing to set strict parameters on the term "natural", retailers may need to step in. Meijer has established its own set of rules for items that carry the natural label in its stores, such as no GMOs, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial food coloring, flavoring and preservatives. Consumers place a lot of trust in retailers, and programs such as Target's Made to Matter that unites 17 organic, natural, and sustainable brands in an exclusive collection put that credibility to good use by identifying truly healthy and sustainable products and curating their product offerings — and explaining the story behind their choices.
2. Seize the moment: A major life change — an illness, the birth of child, turning 40 — often leads consumers to shift from traditional products to organic. Retailers should keep these "moments of receptivity" in mind when arranging inventory, perhaps putting a set of green items in the baby section to appeal to new parents who are suddenly willing to try plant-based baby wipes to protect their little one's delicate skin.
3. Find inspiration in the leaders: Whole Foods' unique amenities and dizzying variety of products have played an important part in its success. As other retailers move into the natural, organic and sustainable category, similarly enriching experiences may help them attract customers who are growing accustomed to curated collections of unique and alternative products.
4. Cater to quick-trip shoppers: More shoppers are buying just a few items each grocery trip. This decline of price-driven stock-up trips provides an opportunity for retailers eager to persuade shoppers to switch to higher-margin organic and natural products. Quick errands are often tailored to individuals. A mother, for instance, might be more willing to buy a loaf of organic bread if she's purchasing just a few supplies to make her 8-year-old's school lunch the next day than if she were loading up for the entire family.
Of the suggestions mentioned in the article, which one is least used but likely provides the biggest payback when reaching organic and natural shoppers?