Navigating Natural and Organic: John-Paul Drake, Drakes Supermarkets

Sep 8, 2020

The natural and organic industry is continuously growing and shifting, with new trends, regulations, products and practices being introduced into market everyday. How does one keep on top of it all? Naturally Good has you covered, as we speak to industry professionals and experts on the hottest topics and trends, business practices and solutions, and what’s happening in the natural and organic industry.

John-Paul Drake, Director of Australia’s largest independent grocery retailer Drakes Supermarkets, has spent his entire life in the grocery industry. With a keen interest in digital and food trends and their place in the grocery industry, John-Paul has been the driving force behind the digital evolution of the company, leading Drakes to be the first supermarket in Australia to introduce gluten free and organic shelf labelling in-store.

Read on to hear more about the company, the products John-Paul is seeing emerge as high in consumer demand, and what the supermarket giant looks for when choosing what natural and organic products they want to stock on their shelves.

What is Drake’s vision for natural/organic products?

We will continue to expand our already huge range of natural and organic in our stores. We want to be the leaders of range, but in particular we want to be known to be at the forefront of trends. Organic is becoming more mainstream now, and we know that every category needs to have a quality offer to increase and improve our customer offer.

Our customer base is diverse – for instance, the younger market are more aware of the benefits of natural and organic products and are seeking these products in our stores and supermarkets.


What type of natural/organic products are in demand?

All categories are seeing a growth in demand – whether it’s food, baby, non-food – even liquor. Parents are seeking better-for-you foods; the younger market are seeking better-for-the-planet products. Everyone seems to be seeking plant-based options, but taste, texture and having a reduced set of numbers in the ingredients list is key.

What are you looking for in a natural/organic product?

As natural/organic is becoming more mainstream, people are willing to pay a little bit more than the everyday product, but not a huge premium.

Packaging needs to be simple with clear call-outs of the product and where they are sourced from, something that will entice people to switch to a natural or organic version of what they would normally buy from supermarkets. Most importantly, if you’re going to sell a product for it’s health benefits, the credentials need to match the claims – our customers are more educated now and are looking at the back of the pack for the fine print.

Gluten-Free is a key example of this – people thought GF was healthy until they realised the additives to make the food flavoursome outweighed the GF benefits. No numbers and no additives will be the future. Sustainable packaging is also a must.

Looking to build your natural and organic ranging or get your products up onto shelves (physical and online) and into the hands of consumers? Head to the Naturally Good Product Directory and list your business today.

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