How the Naturally Good Expo Will Take Your Business to the Next Level
Once thought of as a niche movement reserved for the super-healthy and privileged, health and wellbeing has well and truly hit the mainstream in Australia – and it represents big business. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, we spend around $9.3 billion a year on vitamins, supplements and other non-prescription treatments, with another $3.9 billion being funnelled into natural therapies. The organic market is similarly robust, with an estimated total value of $2.4 billion, an increase of 88 per cent since 2012, according to the Australian Organic Market Report 2018.
“Where mainstream food, beverage, personal care and supplements have been largely flat, growth in natural, organic and specialty products has been double digits for many years,” says Bob Burke, founder of Natural Products Consulting and a presenter at this year’s Naturally Good expo. “As these trends become broadly accepted and this base keeps growing, the current rates have been in the high single digits, but still outpacing conventional growth rates.”
Australian Organic chairman Dr Andrew Monk, adds: “We’ve had compound double-digit growth on the export front for about seven years in a row, which is particularly exciting.”
What’s Driving the Trend?
Ease of accessibility is a major factor driving the uptake of natural and organic products. Whereas once you’d have to visit specialty health food stores to track down items such as coconut oil, chia seeds and cacao powder, natural health products are now stocked at mainstream retailers such as Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Costco, often being allocated dedicated aisles.
In terms of broader social factors driving growth, Burke cites “consumers being more mindful of what is upstream from them – pesticide and herbicide residues, antibiotics, hormones – as well as sustainable sourcing, interest in self-care and healthy and active ageing.”
This “informed consumer” trend is reflected in Nielsen data, which shows that 67 per cent of consumers are willing to spend more on products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable materials and products that are organic or have all natural ingredients, while 62 per cent are willing to pay more for products that deliver on social responsibility claims.
Social media is another factor fuelling the growth of the natural products sector: so-called “healthies” – images of people sipping green juice and the like – are the new selfies and #foodie, #fit, #healthy and #green rate among the top 100 hashtags.
Harnessing Opportunities as a Retailer
Consumer demand for all things natural, organic, wholesome and healthy represents a lucrative opportunity for businesses with an interest in this space. “If you’re a retailer, particularly a dried- goods natural retailer, the time has never been better in terms of getting access to high-quality, competitively priced natural and organic products,” says Monk.
While the sheer number of products on the market can be overwhelming, the Naturally Good Expo makes sourcing new items much easier for retailers. “We’ll have more than 360 exhibitors this year, showcasing the latest across natural health, food and drink, beauty and personal care and home and living,” says the expo’s event manager Sarah Weatherby. “Retailers can speak to the producers behind these brands, learn their stories, what their values are and what they stand for, sample products and place orders all at the same time.”
The start-up zone, featuring companies that are between one and two years old, is a great place for retailers to ensure they have a finger on the pulse of new innovations and directions. “It features some of the newer companies coming through that can otherwise be hard to find,” says Naturally Good group event director Jon Perry. “And it’s a way to source products that offer a retailer a point of different over other retailers.”
To get the most out of your expo experience, Perry recommends attending with a game plan. “For instance, if your consumers are saying they’re interested in natural cosmetics but you don’t stock much of that, you can go on the Naturally Good website, choose 10 or 20 companies you want to chat to, then approach it that way,” he advises. “The grid layout of the expo also makes it easy to cover all exhibitors thoroughly if you don’t have a predetermined objective.”
So, what’s currently trending? Burke nominates CBD (cannabidiol) from hemp, which is showing up in supplements and personal care and will soon be found in food and beverages; all things “plant-based”; products with adaptogenic herbs; food and personal care with collagen; bean-based snacks, and grass-fed dairy and protein products. “In addition, products with reduced or no-added sugar, nootropic products [for cognitive health], grain-free products such as those made with almond flour, coconut flour, cauliflower and cassava, products focused on the keto diet and healthy fats such as MCT oil and avocado,” he says.
Get inspired and informed
As well as sourcing the latest cutting-edge products, the expo is an opportunity to gain insight into the top trends affecting the health marketplace via a two-day education program.
“We’ve created an education program specifically for retailers on how they can improve their business through marketing and social media, and what the next big trends are that are headed to Australia,” says Weatherby. “And this year, we’re offering the program complimentary to all visitors.”
In addition, there is a Business Summit on the Friday before the expo, aimed at all manufacturers from start-ups to established companies. Split into two streams, Stream 1 will cover Business to Business strategy, how to get on the shelf of major retailers and digital business strategies to help grow B2B sales, while Stream 2 is targeted at businesses and how they can connect with their consumers, covering terrain such as e-commerce, the value of ‘nicheing’, plus digital and social marketing strategies.
Attending Naturally Good is a smart move for businesses keen to ride the wave of consumer interest in health and wellness. “It can be a well-spent day where you can get a lot of information about new products and trends in the marketplace and network with like-minded individuals,” says Perry.
Join the growing way of life and attend the Naturally Good Expo, held from 2-3 June 2019, ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour.