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Cheers to the Year of the Consumer

The natural products industry always has good intentions, and the public has grown to support it. How will the industry react to this year's foreseeable trends?

The natural products industry can be just a bit fickle at times, never quite sure about asking someone new to the dance, and a bit cliquish at times, standing around the punch bowl. Look deep in its heart, however, and there stands a lifelong love affair with the public. Creative, compelling, organic, truly natural in intention, designing and developing methods that benefit one’s health instead of just treating diseases.

Who will 2018 bring into the fold?

In 2018, we’ll see the payoff of this consumer dedication. We learned from the New Hope Network 2017 State of the Industry presentation that when the general public knows a company is “mindful of its impact on the environment and society,” 60 percent are more likely to try those products and services. Fifty-eight percent are more likely to buy those products repeatedly. Is it any wonder Campbell Soup has come to the dance, taken a hard stand to label GMO ingredients and abandoned the party line of the Grocery Manufacturers Association?

Like Walmart, CVS and now Amazon, the market entry of consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical companies creates challenges and opportunities. Will we welcome CPG companies that have products on the shelves and in the stores we eschew? Will we welcome pharmaceutical companies that may be financially attracted to profits but perhaps lack commitment to a long-term relationship? And, most importantly, will we continue to push core values for regenerative practices, transparency, traceability and continued quality improvement into the supply chain? Can we remain true to the consumers who have brought us to this tipping point without, I might add, the directive leadership of legislators or regulators? The barometer of success hinges on attention to the following trends and practices.