Healthy insights at the 2018 Naturally Good Expo

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The 2018 Naturally Good Expo was held at the International Convention Centre Sydney this week (April 29-30). It offered retailers and manufacturers alike an opportunity to understand what is available in terms of the latest in natural and organic products across a variety of categories.

This year’s event attracted more than 350 exhibitors across food and beverage as well as complementary medicines, health and beauty. The 2018 expo also featured an educational program with presentations from manufacturers, retailers and industry insiders.

One such session introduced Natural Products Consulting founder and Director Bob Burke, who discussed the latest in natural-product trends across the globe, noting that now is a time of great disruption around how consumers receive products.

“There’s been absolutely explosive growth within e-commerce, certainly led by Amazon,” he said. “Direct to consumer is growing too, with a lot of brands launching with their own website, then going onto Amazon for six months to a year before showing up in their first store. That has really upended the traditional route to market for a lot of companies.”

Mr Burke discussed the increasing digitalisation of daily lives with services such as ‘click and collect’ becoming commonplace among retailers while new concepts continue to emerge.

“For example, Instacart is essentially crowdsourced, so people will shop for you and same-day-deliver it to your home,” he said. “The point of sale isn’t so much the store or the website – it’s the consumer, and that’s certainly enabled by technology.”

Aside from the changes in services, Mr Burke also discussed popular and emerging food trends, such as adaptogens – herbs and other products that promote the body’s resistance to stress and boost the immune system.

Other key highlights from Mr Burke’s presentation included the growing popularity of probiotic and prebiotic products; lab-grown meat and meat substitutes; trends around collagen, activated charcoal, and nootropics; and the emergence of CBD oil and hemp-based foods, as well as the increasing sensibility around by-products and food waste. One example of this is Tasmanian-based Grandvewe Cheeses, which uses leftover sheep whey to produce vodka and gin.

Naturally Good Expo also heard insights from Growth Tank Strategist James Purcell, who looked at the consumer mindset of Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2009). He discussed how these consumers are more health focused and environmentally conscious compared with their predecessors.

He also discussed the importance of company transparency in building customer loyalty with these young shoppers.

“Gen-Z are service loyal rather than brand loyal and they’re buying purpose, not products – so it’s important to stand for something,” Mr Purcell said.