Delicious Living Blog

Brands, retailers that attend NPA MarketPlace go far

Natural Products Association MarketPlace (NPAM) fosters the retailer-manufacturer relationships and trust that shape the natural products industry—and the resulting education efforts help to guide consumers into healthier lifestyle choices. 

I always look forward to this show: the sense of community, the conversations I have with retailers and companies and the fact that there’s something so very gratifying about watching the natural products industry take on Vegas.

We have arrived.

What I think stands out the most is the education—not just the rich information in the show's education program but how this desire to help consumers make healthier choices manifests in a company’s labeling, packaging and social media efforts, as well as in the retailer’s aisles.

At NPAM we watch as the manufacturing and retail worlds meet in an intimate way. We see the types of new initiatives that will strengthen this industry, while maintaining its core values.

Well thought out education efforts continue to be critical for supplements and food. Over the past year, the need for education on the natural personal care category has become even more glaring.

Yesterday, I moderated the personal care education series at the show, where we addressed some of the top issues relevant to this particular industry: certifications, science-backed ingredients, antiaging innovations, and more. I also covered how these factors have contributed to the nearly 8 percent growth of the natural and organic personal care industry in Natural Foods Merchandiser’s Market Overview.

Education in action

Last year at NPAM I discovered two favorite new personal care companies, and I have since watched their education efforts unfold: Dolphin Organics, which introduced a unique, transparent labeling system that has already gained strong loyalty from consumers and retailers, as well as The Seaweed Bath Co.—the result of founder Adam Grossman’s search for a natural solution to psoriasis. Both brands work closely with independent retailers to provide context for and understanding of their products.

A recent interview with Taylor Hamilton, owner of Tunie’s Natural Grocery & Vitamin Supercenter in Coral Springs, Fla., whose HABA sales grew by double digits last year, reinforced the importance of in-store personal care education. But beyond educating on the improved efficacy of natural beauty products, as well as the meaning of certifications and ingredients, Hamilton brought up a point that I think will be key to this industry moving forward and one that is heavily reliant on retailers: the importance of helping consumers connect beauty and health/wellness.

How does Hamilton accomplish this? He staffs his store with licensed nutritionists who aren’t restricted to the grocery aisle but also help consumers understand how and why to transition into the HABA department.

What you put in your body can affect your appearance, and what you put on our body can affect your health: This mindset has the potential to shift how consumers think about food, supplements and personal care products—and I’m looking forward to seeing how retailers and the brands showing here at NPAM will perpetuate it in 2012 and beyond. 

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