News for Retailers

A.Vogel and the industry mourn the loss of Sarah Daly

Sarah Daly first appeared on the A.Vogel scene in 1992 and remained with the company until her tragic passing in July.

Starting as a sales rep, she always prided herself on being able to sell A.Vogel products ‘naked’ – without any marketing, or even any packaging at that stage, just with the herbal stories told in her inimitable style.

She understood right from the start the importance of the ethics of A.Vogel, and ensured that these continued to keep their position at the forefront of people’s minds. This reflected her own position, completely dedicated to environmental issues and animal welfare.

For retailers, her commitment to the environment was probably most obvious through the Bumblebee Campaign that she initiated for A.Vogel – one that roused immense support.

As the A.Vogel team grew and the product range increased, Sarah was made Sales Manager in 1998. She relocated to Scotland, and was endlessly appreciative of the view from her bedroom window, across the water to Arran.

“We cherish memories of Sarah’s crazy dancing and moments of hilarity, but we could also rely on her for problem-solving business issues and providing a unique angle on practical questions,” said A.Vogel’s Janyn Tan. “For many retailers she personified A.Vogel, and from the company’s perspective she had a depth of experience that can’t be replaced.”

Social Prescribing presents an opportunity for health stores

The role of local health food shops in NHS England’s Social Prescribing network has been highlighted at the Health Food Institute’s anniversary lecture and awards event in London.

Keynote speaker Dr Michael Dixon, National Clinical Lead for Social Prescription, explained the new appointment of so-called ‘Link Workers’ who provide a local hub for Social Prescribing.

Read the full story here...

Better Retailing Magazine Secret Shopper Award results announced

The Better Retailing Magazine Awards are run in conjunction with the Health Food Institute to reward excellence in health food retailing. Every year, our Secret Shoppers visit health stores across the UK and Ireland and mark them in five sections - first impressions, store layout, personal attention, check out and overall impression.

Our winning store is Best Health Food Shop in Tunbridge Wells. Our Secret Shopper said: "Groceries, household necessities, pampering products and even gifts could all be purchased here and abolish the need to patronise supermarkets."

This year's runners up are 8th Day in Manchester and Nature's Health Store in Penrith.

Irish retailer awards – call for entries

Health Stores Ireland has launched the annual retailer and product awards in conjunction with JFN Productions and Better Retailing Magazine.

There are five retailer award categories with awards for shortlisted shops and overall winners in each category.

An awards party will form part of the Irish health food industry showcase, Vitality Expo at the RDS Dublin (September 28 & 29) where key figures, influencers and suppliers from the sector will join with retailers for a celebration of the best of the natural health sector.

The five categories are:

  • Innovation and Business Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Training and Education
  • Environmental Initiatives
  • Digital Marketing

Retailers are encouraged to ensure their social media platforms reflect their achievements. Last year’s winners were Evergreen Galway; Natural Health Store, Wexford; The Hopsack, Dublin; The Quay Co-op, Cork and Only Natural, Wexford.

Shop owners and branch managers can enter their stores via an online form being circulated by Health Stores Ireland. Entries will be judged by an independent panel with shortlisted shops and winners announced at the awards ceremony on the Saturday evening of the show.

Deadline for entries is 5pm on June 30. Enquiries:

Complete this simple online form, outlining your achievements under each heading, to enter.

Packaging - advantage health stores

Health food suppliers and retailers have made giant strides in the war against plastic.

They are aware that the vast majority of UK consumers are doing their level best to cut their plastic waste, and almost half would pay more for eco-friendly packaging.

YouGov research shows that households want to get behind the eco drive and are therefore prime targets for health stores leading the way in finding alternatives to single-use plastics.

Read the full story here...

Treasury MPs meet independents over business rates

Perhaps someone in the corridors of power is listening to independent retailers about the issue of business rates after all.

Members of the Commons’ Treasury Committee, led by MP Nicky Morgan, travelled to Birmingham in May to meet retailers at the British Independent Retailers Association (bira).

Among the retailers suggesting a new system was Viridian founder Cheryl Thallon, owner of Sheaf Street Health Store in Daventry.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, said: “The MPs really listened and agreed that significant change is needed. We were pleased to hear that bira’s proposal for a business rates allowance was heard, as well as more fundamental calls for reform.”

Vitality in Dublin

Vitality Expo, Ireland’s largest natural health and wellbeing show, takes place in the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin on September 28 & 29 with more than 130 exhibitors. Building on a highly successful event in 2018, Vitality brings together the best in nutrition, lifestyle, fitness and healthy living, brought to you by Health Stores Ireland.

You’ve got the power

The team behind the phenomenally successful Vegfest shows brings Plant Powered Expo to the UK early next year.

A brand new show celebrating the best of plant-based living is coming to London Olympia on February 1-2, 2020. Producers, suppliers and retailers alike will want to grasp the opportunity.

The show will focus on growing brands and established businesses, prioritising healthy living and the feelgood factor from following a plant-based way of life, with 235 stalls, 12 feature areas, 100 expert speakers and an expected footfall of 15,000 attendees.

With around 6.5m British adults currently trying a meat-free diet and the number of vegans in the UK set to skyrocket by 327% by next year (source:, the new show presents an ideal opportunity to build business in the plant-based sector.

Read the full story here...

Booked your place at HFI celebration?

The Health Food Institute celebrates its 40th anniversary on June 27 with a special lecture, awards and lunch at the Museum of Brands, London.Dr Michael Dixon, a leading GP advocating healthy living and integrated care, and the Medicinal Chef Dale Pinnock are the speakers while the Institute’s top students and industry achievers will receive their awards. The Better Retailing Magazine award for best independent retailer, based on our Secret Shopper series, will also be presented.

Last minute places from Alison Collingwood on 0115 9767280,

Irish Retailer Awards 2019

Health Stores Ireland Retail Awards In Association with Better Retailing Magazine are open to independent health food/wholefood stores in Ireland. Entries are invited for each of the following categories:

  • Innovation & Business Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Training & Education
  • Environmental Initiatives
  • Digital Marketing

Complete this simple online form, outlining your achievements under each heading, to enter. Closing date for entries is 30th June 2019.

An independent panel will assess the entries and judging will take place during the summer with awards being presented at Vitality Expo 2019.

Special offer for Better Retailing Magazine readers

Regular Better Retailing Magazine columnist Catherine Erdly is offering readers 10% off her one2one support services.

"As retail businesses grow, they get more complicated,” she says. "This can leave founders feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to move forward. I help them get more organised, feel more confident and make more money so that they can take their business forward profitably.”

The special offer runs throughout June, July and August, whether it's a review of your business, an in-depth strategy day, or even a six-month mentorship to revamp how you manage your cash and stock. Find out more and book a discovery call at

In the summer issue of Better Retailing Magazine, due out mid-June, Catherine looks at how being an eco-champion can increase your gross margin. And there’s more about her offer plus features to help you with sales and marketing, technology and research data on your market and its customers.

Read more news in the latest issue of Better Retailing Magazine

Read news stories from previous issues of Better Retailing Magazine here