The natural food industry in America continues to grow, topping $45 billion in sales in 2017. Along with an upswing in natural foods, a push to support local and small businesses is booming in the United States. While chain retail continues to dominate the market, the grassroots efforts to emphasize the ethical, economic and environmental benefits of supporting small, local businesses are helping small grocers continue to compete with their mega-conglomerate counterparts.
Natural food stores continue to exist in every corner of America and their support base is growing. Some operate as standalone stores, while others operate as local chains. Even still, some have multi-state operations as they have outgrown their capacities.
Some consumers prefer to shop at smaller natural food stores, rather than larger big box stores, to find specialized products, as well as knowledgeable staff members who are able to help them make decisions about their health. Smaller stores tend to put more effort into training and educating their staff to be able to help buyers make informed decisions about health products.
The importance of smaller natural food stores in the nutrition industry, is that they can often be easier to sell to than larger store chains, such as Whole Foods. While Whole Foods may require huge advertising budgets and brand recognition, smaller nutrition stores or store chains are more likely to stock newer products that have less consumer awareness. This is one of the best and easiest ways for international companies to enter the US market.
Smaller chains may place a greater emphasis on a quality product, than fancy packaging and advertisements, as larger chains may. The sales process to natural food markets may involve providing samples to the stores, which may in turn want to provide samples to their customers to ensure that the product will sell. Having a quality product with a company that is confident about their product and knowledgeable about its benefits, is of the utmost importance in this corner of the market.
The types of products sold by natural food markets will vary by location, however, most sell a variety of products, similar to the larger chain stores. One major difference is that smaller natural food stores will likely have less produce and perishable products, due to the costs involved of maintaining inventory. For this reason, supplements and nonperishable food, drink and cosmetic items will do better in these stores.
To get started selling to natural food stores in the United States, get connected with a knowledgeable broker who has established relationships with buyers across the country. A well-established sales company can help provide the relationships that you need to get your product onto shelves.