Post Categories: September 2017

From Jim’s Desk: A Letter from the CEO

Hitting a Home Run with Health

If you would have told me 20 years ago that health and wellness would be all the rage today, I would have told you that you were sorely mistaken. But within the last several years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised as the industry has gone from fringe to mainstream. A movement that was once reserved for people shopping at specialty health stores has infiltrated the lion’s share of grocery stores. Today you’d be stretched to find even a convenience store that doesn’t offer products that are gluten-free, organic or sustainable—a twist of fate that would have been unimaginable considering the sugary drinks and deep fried foods that used to headline these establishments.

Just like all sectors though, the health industry has seen shifts as new superfoods have hit the shelves (what are mangosteens anyway?), and mind-body practices like yoga have become as common as baseball. After talking to our team of health and wellness experts, the one thing I can tell you is that the most interesting parts of this segment are the innovations in place today, and more impressively, those just around the bend.

With the global market for health and wellness projected to pass the $1 trillion mark, retailers are pulling out all the stops as they develop natural and gourmet offerings. Luckily for us, our team has the lowdown on the trends moving the segment today… So, let’s take a gander:

  • Transparency: Consumers now regard their food as medicine. Unlike the instructions on a prescription though, they expect product information to be clear and simple. In a recent survey, 66 percent of people sought product claims to help avoid negative ingredients implicated in health conditions. What this means for the industry is that it should use packaging to cut to the chase—highlighting health claims and addressing top ingredients of concern.
  • Nothing Artificial: Perimeter categories with a more natural health positioning are moving on up, while center store categories are falling, a direction partly attributed to the demand for free-from and natural products. On average, 62 percent of people say they try to avoid artificial flavors and preservatives, so retailers should take a hint and satisfy these demands.
  • Private Brand Creation: Globally, natural products are leading the way in popularity with 58 percent of shoppers saying that they want more all-natural products. And we’ve seen companies respond to this in a big way, especially with the Amazon and Whole Foods merger. By investing in health-focused private labels, many brands are hoping to be more responsive to trends than their national brand counterparts.


As consumer perceptions of “healthy” continue to evolve, so will the trends. Accordingly, retailers will need to keep up with the times by creating the healthy products their customers want. At this point, the industry has no choice but to play ball.

What do you think? Let’s continue the conversation – email me anytime at

All the best,
Jim Holbrook
Chief Executive Officer