News for Retailers

It's not too late to get involved in Organic September

Organic September, the month-long celebration of all things organic that helps people to find, try and buy all things organic is once more upon us. According to Soil Association Certification’s trade consultant, Finn Cottle, this annual focus on organic products is a golden opportunity for independent retailers to share in the action and make the most of the growing interest in ethical consumption.

"Organic September is a golden opportunity for independent retailers to take advantage of the growing passion for organic food and tell the stories of the products they sell. Interest in organic peaks in September each year, with many more people actively looking at ways that they can make changes to their shopping and diets to include more organic products.

While the major supermarkets will have discounts and other offers throughout the entire month, for many smaller independent retailers Organic September Saturday, this year on 15th September, is the highlight of the calendar. This is the chance for independents to showcase what they have to offer by hosting events and offers in store on the day, concentrating their focus on one great event rather than spreading themselves thinly over the entire month.

Read the full story here...

GO! Organic Festival taking place in London this September

This September will see London's Battersea Park transformed into a one-of-a-kind, vibrant weekend celebration of the very best in organic, sustainable and healthy living.

Taking place from 8 to 9 September, GO! Organic is set to feature a raft of big-name and up and coming bands, celebrities, talks, demos in the Organic Kitchen, circus entertainment and much more.

The Natural Talks Theatre will feature captivating and informative talks from a range of sustainable and organic thought-leaders, discussing topics ranging from organic farming to horticulture, and plastic pollution to wildlife – all showing that organic conversations really are relevant to everyone.

There will be over a dozen live cooking demonstrations in the Organic Kitchen – Theo Randall, a former head chef at the legendary River Café; ‘plant-forward’ chef Jay Morjaria; cook and author Melissa Hemsley, Gelf Alderson (executive chef at River Cottage); eco restaurateur Arthur Potts-Dawson; leading food writer and chef Rosie Birkett and GBBO contestant Chetna Makan are just some of the impressive line-up.

GO! Organic has also teamed up with Stroud Brewery to present the GO! Organic Beer Festival, featuring over 40 of the best organic beers from UK organic breweries.

Early bird tickets can be purchased via the website Plus, readers of Better Retailing Magazine are entitled to an exclusive 20% discount on tickets to GO! Organic Festival. Simply quote BETTER20 when booking to claim.

For full details, visit

Four weeks left for high streets to enter Great British High Street Awards

Pictured: (l-r) Suzan Kereere, Simon Reeve and Jake Berry MP

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP has urged local businesses, councils, community groups and Business Improvement Districts to enter their high streets and shopping parades into the Great British High Street Awards, sponsored by Visa, before the 22nd August deadline.

With over 175 high streets having already registered their interest in entering the awards since nominations opened in June, the competition is heating up with communities across the country leading the high street fightback and celebrating the achievements of local individuals and businesses on their high streets.

Additionally, more than 60 MPs have also pledged their support for the Great British High Street Awards 2018, urging their local communities to enter.

Read the full story here...

The Health Store acquisition - what do YOU think?

Independent health store owners who hold shares in The Health Store are being asked if they want to sell to the group which also owns Tree of Life.

And today Better Retailing Magazine is asking those independents what they think of the proposal.

The Health Store, which formed as a co-operative in 1932, demutualised in 2015 and created nearly 400 shareholders as a result – most of them independent health stores.

The THS board has proposed a buyout offer to its shareholders from Health Made Easy, a group of businesses that invest in health and wellbeing products and also own Higher Nature.

The Health Store says the move would enhance service levels and provide more choice for their customers through access to additional complementary product lines across ambient, chilled and frozen ranges.

Shareholders have just a few weeks to decide whether to accept Health Made Easy's offer for their shares, with the acquisition completing by this autumn.

Health Made Easy says THS, TOL and Higher Nature would continue to operate autonomously at their separate sites.

What do you think? Email our editor Alistair Forrest at

Mike sees the light

Broadcasting vicar Rev. Richard Coles sang the praises of a Bristol retailer at the British Independent Retailers Association’s glittering awards dinner.

Mike Abrahams heard the call from above and duly collected the independent retailer of the year silver award for his store, Wild Oats.

The National Association of Health Stores attended the bira conference along with entrepreneurial speakers and UK independent retailers.

Mike is pictured (centre) receiving his award from Rev. Coles and Nigel Wright of sponsor Stax Trade Centres.

Families confused over allergies

A study has revealed that 46% of families in the UK are confused about what a child with food allergies can consume, and two in every five families (36%) wouldn’t know how to respond should the child have an allergic reaction.

The report was compiled by the GP-on-demand app GPDQ and parenting website, polling over 1,000 UK-based families on their behaviour, feelings and understanding on the impact of food allergies on children and their parents.

According to the study, three in 10 (34%) families claim they have a child with a food allergy, and the biggest challenge they face is educating other people about the severity of their child’s allergy to keep them safe. Over a quarter of all parents of children affected by food allergies say they suffer stress and anxiety caused by their fear of their child having a reaction or attack.

Twenty-two per cent of parents of children with food allergies say it’s ruining their child’s life as it’s stopping them leading a ‘normal life’.

Martha is new Irish chieftain

Health Stores Ireland has elected a new Chairperson. She is Martha Brennan (pictured) of Harvest Fare in Blessington, Co. Wicklow.

Martha has been a Board member of the Irish Association of Health Stores for several years and was the driving force behind the delivery of the new group branding last year.

Outgoing Chairperson Mary Wedel will continue as a Board member and IAHS director.

Growing business

Attendance figures from Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show reveal that the sector is in great health. More than 10,000 attended from 91 countries while 700 exhibitors showcased VMS, superfoods, personal care and beauty, eco home/living and food and drink.

Gluten-free grants

Grants ranging from £50,000 to £250,000 are available from Coeliac UK and innovation agency Innovate UK for healthcare diagnostics, digital self-care tools and better gluten-free food production.

Ireland's perfect Vitality mix

Brought to you by Health Stores Ireland and taking place at Dublin’s RDS on September 8 and 9, Vitality Expo 2018 is dedicated to all things health, wellness, lifestyle, fitness and nutrition from a wide selection of Ireland’s best-known speakers and brands within the natural health sector.

As Ireland’s only consumer and trade natural health exhibition, it’s the ideal opportunity for health food retailers to meet eager customers as well as the suppliers whose products consumers crave.

It’s also an opportunity for retailers to join in the fun and networking with their peers and suppliers at the Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine Awards Party at an adjacent venue at the exhibition close on the first day.

Vitality Expo is the place to learn about exciting new products and remedies and discover the latest natural health trends, and benefit from expert advice from well-known figures within the natural health industry in Ireland and beyond. All in a festival atmosphere.

Features at the show include the Vitality Stage where inspirational Irish and international speakers including Patrick Holford and Dr Marilyn Glenville will undertake engaging and interactive talks, all hosted by nutritionist and radio presenter Jemma Kehoe.

There’s also the Food and Cookery Stage with the best of wholefood cookery with Marie Power, Henrietta Norton, Oliver McCabe and Susan Jane White, to name a few.

Get into the zone at the Outdoor Entertainment Area with live music along with yoga and pilates sessions and a kid’s area where they can practice some moves! Or visit The Village where you can sample tasty delights from over 100 artisan and local health food producers in the Irish marketplace.

Pictured at the launch of Vitality Expo 2018 are (L-R) Chef Oliver McCabe; Martha Brennan, Health Stores Ireland Chair; Alan McGrath, Health Stores Ireland; Vitality Expo Ambassador Alison Canavan; Gerald Colfer, Health Stores Ireland President; and holistic gardener Fiann O’Nuallain. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan

GDPR is ‘evolution not revolution’

A huge 68% of UK consumers would be willing to increase online spending with retailers that are transparent about the use of personal and financial information.

Despite that, 50% of UK retailers do not provide the desired assurances to consumers around the protection of their data.

These are the findings of Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute reported on page 32 of this issue, which also concludes that 81% of organisations were likely to have failed to reach GDPR compliance by the May 25 deadline.

The commissioner responsible for data enforcement under the new regulation is frustrated by the amount of scaremongering about the impact on businesses.

UK information commissioner Elizabeth Denham says: “The GDPR is a step change for data protection. It’s still an evolution, not a revolution”.

Her office ( is responsible for GDPR in the UK and has a suite of sanctions for businesses struggling to comply with data protection. Long before the feared fines would be compliance advice, warnings and rectification orders.

Organic farming may not meet demand

The future growth of the global $320bn organic food market could be at risk if the area of organic land does not grow sufficiently to meet rising demand, according to Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence.

Statistics from independent sources confirm the global organic farmland area has grown by 8.4% per year since 2001 – but organic food consumption is exceeding this rate, increasing by 10.2% every year over the same period.

By 2016, a total of 57.8m hectares had been approved for organic production, amounting to 1.2% of all the world’s farmland. Since then, some 13.4m hectares of new organic farmland has been created, as demand for organic food and drink products grows. Some 2.7m farmers worldwide were identified as ‘organic farmers’ in 2016 (up 13% year-on-year). There are now 15 countries around the world where more than 10% of the total farmland area is registered organic.

The second biggest market in the world for organic products is the EU with sales in 2016 estimated at €30.7bn. From 2021 onwards, the EU will insist that its own domestic rules should directly apply to imported organic goods, and that current ‘equivalency’ agreements, which the European Commission says allows upwards of 60 different standards, will no longer be valid.

Read more news in the latest issue of Better Retailing

Read news stories from previous issues of Better Retailing here