News for Retailers

THS takeover worries independents

Two of the three national health food wholesalers are now owned by the same company – Health Made Easy. The acquisition of The Health Store to sit alongside Tree of Life was confirmed on October 22 following shareholder approval. The third national wholesaler is the co-operative Suma.

The new owners and THS itself have tried to reassure customers that the two wholesalers will operate independently but retailers will be concerned that a future consolidation could harm their discounts.

THS Sales & Marketing Director Paul Rideout, replying to one concerned retailer on social media, said: “We are not merging with Tree of Life. Just like Higher Nature supplements and Peppersmiths we are simply now all part of the same group, the Health Made Easy Group Ltd. All the businesses will operate independently of each other.”

Read the full story here...

Health food innovation

Meet the innovators shaping the future of food, health and nutrition at Food Matters Live (ExCeL, London, November 20–22) where more than 800 exhibitors are expected.

Business leaders, government ministers, scientists, commentators and experts in health, nutrition and diet will be among 50 influential speakers at the free-to-attend event. In addition, seminars range from retail trends in health and wellbeing to the future of free-from and sustainable food.

Register at www.foodmatterslive.com

Irish retailers win a reprieve on VAT plan

Irish retailers have breathed a sigh of relief that plans to slap VAT on supplements have been shelved, but they have been warned that the idea is not dead.

Health Stores Ireland administrator Alan McGrath believes a rapid intervention by the Irish health food industry prevented the proposal being included in the publication of the finance bill on 18th October.

“There is no doubt that the intervention and political campaigning from those who engaged has effected a possible change in plans at the Department of Finance,” he said.

Doing nothing would open the door to the possibility of 23% VAT on food supplements, he said.

“It should be noted that a change in the VAT policy on food supplements can now be proposed in a separate Bill outside the Finance Bill,” he added. “It’s very much in our interests that this Bill should reflect the needs of the 50% of the population that use food supplements regularly.”

Heath Stores Ireland is proposing a business-based campaign around the lack of clarity and unfairness of the status quo which leaves Irish manufacturers, distributors and retailers at a disadvantage from imports and online sales.

A separate consumer-based campaign is likely, promoting the long-term need of individuals to use food supplements and the benefits this brings to the health care system in line with stated government policy.

irishhealthstores.com

Ireland's health stores are 'in great shape'

Winners of the Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine Awards announced

Ireland's independent health food stores are in great shape - that's the conclusion following the first Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine retailer awards presented in five categories during Vitality Expo in Dublin (8-9th September 2018).

The top five health stores were named as The Hopsack, Dublin (Innovation and Business Development); The Natural Health Store, Wexford (Community Engagement); Evergreen, Galway (Training & Education); Organico, Bantry (Environmental Initiatives); and Only Natural, Wexford (Digital Marketing).

Read the full story here...

Positive news for independents

Nearly three quarters (72%) of GB consumers want the Government to do more to back the growth of smaller independent retailers.

YouGov research for marketing automation suite Pure360 found that nearly half (42%) would consider shopping with an independent retailer because they prefer to support smaller operations over a larger retailer.

In addition, one in five shoppers said they like to compare price and product offerings between larger retail brands and independents, before going on to make the final purchase from the smaller retailer.

The surge in support for the lesser known retailers is due in part to the customer service they offer, with nearly half (43%) of respondents claiming they would consider shopping with an independent over a larger retailer because they are treated like a valued customer rather than just a number.

In a similar vein, 39% of consumers favour independents because of the personalised experience they receive, while the same proportion of respondents like them because they offer different products to larger retailers.

Almost 40% of respondents had been introduced to these retailers by friends and family, followed by 20% discovering them through social media advertising.

Despite this, just 22% of GB consumers currently opt to go to an independent retailer in the first instance to seek out an item, indicating that there is still work to be done if they are going to win over the high street giants. Meanwhile, 43% prefer retailers who sell both online and offline.

Health stores 'more important than pubs'

The NAHS has petitioned the UK Government to grant independent health stores the same dispensation of £1000 on business rates that is currently awarded to public houses in recognition of their value to local communities.

“We believe that independent health stores are a far more valuable asset to local communities and indeed to the nation as a whole and should also be granted a dispensation,” says the NAHS.

The petition titled 'Grant healthstores a business rates dispensation' can be found at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/226707

Julie is a natural

Julie Goodwin’s Natural Health won the Health and Wellbeing Category Award in the Love Hertford Awards with a list of positive comments as long as your arm. “We are absolutely thrilled,” says Julie. “It was 100% voted by our lovely customers.” She is pictured (second from right) with some of her team.

Hat trick for Irish stores

Three Irish health stores have been named in the Top 100 Retail Excellence Awards which promote best practice and encourage high standards in the Irish retail industry. They are Back to Nature, Cavan; Only Natural at Wexford and Here’s Health, Douglas SC, Cork. Thirty stores will be selected to compete for the awards final.

JB&C's beauty from within

London’s natural health pharmacy John Bell & Croyden has opened ‘InResidence Nutrition’ – a comprehensive nutrition clinic offering advice and guidance to achieve beauty from within. The launch follows the success of the store’s acclaimed beauty treatment room, InResidence Beauty, which opened earlier this year to provide a range of bespoke, luxury facials. On hand are nutritionists Eduardo Passeti, specialising in sports nutrition, and Sara Bertoli, specialising in adult and paediatric nutrition and wellbeing.

Image courtesy of Retail Experience Design.

Virtual Suzan pops up in Kerry

Health store owner Suzan Turan has teamed up with ‘Digital Pop-Ups’ to create a postcard that comes to life on mobile devices using Augmented Reality. Customers pick up a postcard at The Aquarian in Co. Kerry, download the app and play a game in a virtual Cahersiveen where the shop is based. Suzan’s avatar helps them capture lemons and enter a prize draw by leaving their contact mail (GDPR compliant) on the store’s website.

Zeal for vegan health

Gareth and Sarah Zeal have opened a bistro-style vegan café and health food shop with therapy rooms at Little Green, Newcastle. Fifteen new jobs have been created by the start-up, with more to be added as the couple are already seeking an additional chef. Nutritional therapist Gareth will offer consultations while the venue will host live music events, street food nights and guest chefs.

Gareth Zeal is pictured above (left) with lawyer Jabad Jaigirdar

Health Made Easy completes acquisition of The Health Store

Following its offer to shareholders to support the move, Health Made Easy Ltd has confirmed its acquisition of The Health Store (Health Stores (Wholesale) Ltd) following sufficient acceptances to complete the deal.

Mike Cole, Chairman of Health Made Easy commented: "We're pleased that our shareholders have backed the acquisition of The Health Store. We will continue to operate both businesses as separate entities, which will provide benefits of scale across all channels and enable us to improve our offer to our customers, suppliers and consumers alike."

Tim Ryan, Managing Director of The Health Store added: "Our business has been at the forefront of sourcing natural and organic products for independent retailers for more than 80 years. Within this time, the landscape of the sector in which we operate has changed considerably. We're confident that the deal made with Health Made Easy will allow us to drive forward changes and benefits that will ensure we can keep delivering for the needs of our customers."

The acquisition will consolidate the group's buying power, which includes a number of subsidiaries including Higher Nature, specialists in vitamins and mineral supplements products, and Tree of Life, the largest wholesale distributor of ambient organic and natural foods in Britain. Staffordshire-based Tree of Life is a leading player in health products distribution in the UK and, together with The Health Store, provides the group with a significant position in the sector.

What's your thoughts on this news? Email our editor Alistair Forrest at alistair@jfnproductions.co.uk.

2018 Organic Trade Conference

The Soil Association holds its 2018 Organic Trade Conference on October 17 at Amnesty International UK in London. We hear that it may be fully subscribed but latecomers are welcome to enquire.

This year's event will focus on the strong growth in the organic market and the factors driving this success, while also considering the opportunities arising across the various channels to market - catering, independent retail, multiple retail and export.

Attendees will be able to participate in the main plenary speaker session, featuring a market update from Kantar Worldpanel, as well as presentations from Waitrose and Hodmedod's, and then choose from tailored discussion panels on International Trade and Selling Organic into Foodservice.

As well as experts from The Soil Association, the speakers will include:

  • Elen Ormson - Duchy Brand Manager, Waitrose
  • Nick Saltmarsh - MD and Founder of Hodemedod's
  • Emma Vass - CEO, Wessanen
  • Patrick O Flaherty - MD and Founder of Pip Organic
  • Ian Platt - Head of Purchasing Supply, Baxterstorey

Sponsored by Fyffes and Diversified Communications. Apply here.

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...

Winners named in Irish retailer awards

The best of independent health store retailing is celebrated in the Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine awards ceremony on September 8.

The awards will be presented following the first day of Vitality Expo with a ceremony at Paddy Cullen’s, adjacent to the RDS Dublin, at the close of the opening day.

There are 21 awards including the five category winners, shortlisted retailers, special environmental recognitions plus categorised product awards.

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 www.goorganicfestival.co.uk. 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 www.goorganicfestival.co.uk

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 alistair@jfnproductions.co.uk.

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 ChannelMum.com, 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’.
gpdq.co.uk

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.
coeliac.org.uk/innovateuk.

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.
www.vitalityexpo.ie

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 (ico.org.uk) 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.

Special awards unveiled for Ireland's Vitality show

A line-up of special awards for retailers and suppliers has been announced in the run-up to Vitality Expo 2018 at the RDS Dublin in September. Health Stores Ireland and Better Retailing Magazine have launched five retailer awards and an industry Best Product award.

Awards for independent retailers who trade as health food or wholefood stores will be presented under five categories. An independent panel will assess the entries and judging will take place during the summer. The winners will be presented with their awards at an evening event which will take place during Vitality Expo 2018.

Vitality Expo 2018 is set to become an annual showcase for the health food sector and will have a strong consumer focus. Event partner INM will offer a high-level national media platform for the industry.

The industry awards evening will be hosted by a celebrity MC at a special venue close to the exhibition hall, providing an integral industry element to Vitality Expo. All trade and exhibitor attendees will be invited to attend, providing an opportunity to network and meet up with old friends in a casual setting. The awards will also provide a platform for various strands of the industry to highlight their unique standing within their sector.

The Health Stores Ireland Best Product Award In Association with Better Retailing Magazine will be shortlisted from products submitted by retailers under Rude Health's "Tried and Tested" series.

In addition, the Pat Curran Award for Excellence in Customer Service will be run in association with our sister magazine, Rude Health, whose readers will vote for their favourite health store staff based on the level of customer service they've received.

Bursary time for students

Bio-Kult is again giving one student the chance to win £1000 to help them achieve their nutritional career goals. And this year the winner’s college will receive a £500 grant too.

Students currently studying in the field of Nutrition should go to www.bio-kult.com/students to complete the online application form and tell Bio-Kult:

  • How £1000 would help you to make your mark on the world of Nutrition (500 words max)
  • Upload your favourite image that inspires healthier living
  • How you’d be a Bio-Kult Brand Ambassador if you won (100 words max)
  • Why your college is amazing (30 words max).

Julie’s big bash

Julie Goodwin’s Natural Health stores celebrated 20 years in style with a Natural Health Festival at Hertford Theatre attended by 800 local people.

Julie is pictured with Hertford Mayor Sue Dunkley before cutting the birthday cake. Meanwhile medicinal chef Dale Pinnock and other industry personalities entertained and informed the crowds.

“I am so proud of my team and how well they did,” said Julie. “All the talks were full and we had to turn people away. We have been inundated with praise from many visitors and stall holders.”

Oliver's becomes Food for Thought

Sara Novakovic has sold Oliver’s Wholefoods in Kew to Alan Martin’s Food For Thought to take the latter’s number of stores to three.

Sara, a dynamic and influential retailer, is planning to study for an MSc in Food Policy under Prof Tim Lang at City University.

The founder of Oliver’s approached Food For Thought’s owners last year as the three stores have a mutual ethos and share many customers in South London and Guildford.

Del Eagle, Irish treasure

Health Stores Ireland lost an industry icon with the passing of Del Eagle after a short illness.

Del ran the Irish Association of Health Stores for 25 years until her well-earned retirement in 2015. She brought an infectious blend of good humour, compassion and toughness to the group now known as Health Stores Ireland.

In retirement she visited Ireland’s health food stores sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for Bach Remedies. She is sadly missed.

Loyal staff to get their Wild Oats

Mike Abrahams is planning to put his Bristol store Wild Oats into the ownership of his loyal staff.

The sprightly 74-year-old was featured recently in the British Independent Retailers Association magazine and tells Better Retailing Magazine: “I reckon another three months to crystallise [the project]. It's a massive task for a small business.”

Manager Pam Buckle has been at Wild Oats for 30 years and other staff have been there almost as long, some even with their children working there.

“I believe I have a social responsibility to my staff, to the customers and to our suppliers,” adds Mike. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Revital set for fresh growth

Revital, the London-based chain of independent health stores, is set for expansion following investment by private equity firm BGF.

Founded in 1991 by Raj Vora, the family business is now under the stewardship of his son, Chief Executive Rahil Vora, and operates 18 stores in the UK.

The extra cash will be used for Revital’s online channel, product development, new stores and extra staff.

Jeremy Seigal has joined the board as non-executive Chairman after five years as CEO of White Stuff.

 

Rahil Vora says: “As a family business, we wanted to remain in control as we scale the company. BGF’s approach provides us with a minority investment partner who can stay with the business as we expand.”

Sales assistants Zora, Chloe and Jennie from Revital in Worcester are pictured after taking part in a Bio-Kult training session.

List your own vegan event

The organisers of the UK's vegan festivals VegfestUK have developed a calendar for UK vegan events on their website www.vegfest.co.uk to enable easier access to events across the country. Organisers of smaller, local vegan events can now add to the list – details at bit.ly/VeganEventsCalendar

Make a lunch date for shop talk

The National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) and the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) are hosting a Meet the Experts lunch event at Natural & Organic Products Europe.

Shop Talk will take place at 1.00pm on Sunday April 22, the show’s opening day, when independent health store retailers will have the opportunity to network together informally and talk over the latest business advice with three leading bira retail experts.

More information in our N&OPE preview

Vitality is Ireland’s focus in September

The Irish Association of Health Stores, in its new identity Health Stores Ireland, is gearing up for its major health show in September.

Vitality Expo 2018 will be held at the RDS Dublin on September 8 and 9 in collaboration with the Independent News & Media Group (INM).

“It provides the perfect platform to highlight the independent health food trade and our collaboration with many terrific Irish artisans,” says IAHS Chair Mary Wedel. “The inclusion of an artisan village and an outdoor entertainment area at the expo will reflect the many elements of our trade.”

Ireland’s only consumer and trade-focused natural health exhibition will showcase new products from natural health suppliers, headline the latest natural health trends, and offer tips and expert advice from well-known figures in Ireland and beyond.
vitalityexpo.ie

Bigger Food Matters

Food Matters Live 2018 at ExCeL London in November will have a larger area dedicated to innovative ingredients, as well as a strong focus on 'better for you' food and drink plus key growth categories, including healthy snacking, free-from, plant-based and much more. foodmatterslive.com

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 around a dozen stores and mark them in five sections – first impressions, store layout, personal attention, check out and overall impression.

Our winning store is Chester Health Store. Our Secret Shopper said: "It's a small but well presented store and I'm impressed by the friendliness and knowledge of the store's owner."

This year's runners up are Almonds & Raisins in Newcastle and Hansa in Guernsey.

Look out for the next issue of Better Retailing Magazine where we talk to the winners.

Going cashless?

Two years ago, the UK passed the tipping point of more electronic than cash payments. Sometime in 2018, more than 20% of online transactions are likely to be made through mobile devices, according to PwC. But a report from market research company Mintel warns that only a third of consumers would be comfortable with a cashless society.

Rise of the independent

An increase in new high street independents across the UK has yet to affect the overall number of health stores but the signs are encouraging.

Data from the Local Data Company (LDC) and the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) shows that significantly more traditional independent shops were opened in the first half of 2017 compared with 2016.

A net increase of 562 independent shops on the high street is a significant improvement (+181%) on the first half of 2016 when there was virtually no net increase.

Meanwhile national chains continued to see a decline with a net loss of -659 shops (-0.33%) in the first half of 2017, which compares to -2,001 shops (-1.02%) in the same period of 2016.

According to LDC, there are around 850 independent health food stores in the UK plus 206 in Ireland, with the number of openings and closures keeping pace with each other. The figures are significantly higher if sports nutrition stores and organic farm shops are included.

Dairy falters

Dairy sales in Western Europe are stagnating, according to research analyst Euromonitor. Sales stood at just over €96bn which is a tiny increase in compound annual growth rate of 0.27%, due to evolving consumer attitudes and concern over dairy’s ‘wellbeing credentials’.

Happy birthday, Sunshine!

Not many UK health stores have been trading for 90 years – and neither is there anyone in the trade who has been collecting old health food and herbal packaging and advertising for the last 60 or so years.

Sunshine Health in Stroud was opened by Lilian Wolfe in 1927 and, after passing through the hands of two subsequent owners, was bought by the Hill Family in 1987.

Today there are two shops – organic, vegan and gluten-free food in the Church Street store and supplements, toiletries and cosmetics in the Sunshine Natural Health & Body Care shop in the High Street.

There were just four staff in 1987 but now under the industry’s ‘godfather’ Ray Hill there are 50, including Ray’s three sons and four grandchildren running the shops, organic bakery, natural dispensary for practitioners and the production of Thompson’s Slippery Elm Food – in itself a 100-year-old product!

Ray also curates the unique museum which houses the history of health food and herbal products of the last century.

www.sunshinehealth.co.uk

Organic marketplace

Soil Association Certification was supporting all organic businesses at Christmas with an online Organic Collective Christmas marketplace: www.soilassociation.org/christmas.

Following the success of Organic September, which saw the organic market grow by 7.1% in the 30 days of September, up from an average of 4.2% to the end of August 2017 (Nielsen Scantrack), the marketplace gives all Soil Association Certification licensees a platform to showcase their products, driving further traffic to retailers.

Major new Irish show announced

Health Stores Ireland, formerly the Irish Association of Health Stores, has announced a major consumer show after a year’s break from hosting a natural health exhibition. Vitality Expo 2018 will be held at the RDS Dublin on September 8 and 9 in collaboration with the Independent News & Media Group (INM).

Chair Mary Wedel says: “The relaunch of the annual consumer/trade show, with the exciting collaboration of national media organisation INM, will give us the perfect platform to highlight the independent health food trade and our collaboration with many terrific Irish artisans."

Ireland’s only consumer and trade-focused natural health exhibition will showcase new products from natural health suppliers, headline the latest natural health trends, and offer tips and expert advice from well-known figures in Ireland and beyond.

Both Better Retailing Magazine and sister title Rude Health will be playing an integral part in the Vitality Expo event with exciting news to be announced soon.

vitalityexpo.ie

Stronger Together – NAHS joins bira

The National Association of Health Stores has borrowed the Democrats’ election slogan in its alliance with a national retailing association.

By joining the family of trade associations under the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) umbrella, the NAHS is trumpeting the ‘Stronger Together’ mantra.

A three-year plan designed to increase benefits, standards, education, profile, proliferation and communication is underway, including membership of bira with its 6,500 independent retailers.

That means a stronger voice and access to more than 30 services including a legal advice line, its own bank and money-saving benefits.

NAHS Chairman Gary Trickett (pictured) says: “Without a doubt, NAHS and bira will be stronger together.”

Rupy Aujla to speak at HFI awards

Dr. Rupy Aujla, an NHS doctor who runs The Doctor’s Kitchen website, will be the headline speaker on ‘Food is Medicine’ at the Health Food Institute’s annual awards luncheon.

The date for your diary is Thursday March 15 at Royal Over-Seas House, Park Place, off St. James’s Street, London (10.30am for 11am start, concludes 3pm).

Tickets cost £45 for retailers, HFI Fellows and Members, everyone else £50 from Alison Collingwood, email enquiries@healthfoodinstitute.org.uk

Jason gets there in the end

Jason Henderson ought to receive a special award come the Health Food Institute’s annual awards in the Spring. It’s taken him 11 years to complete the HFI Professional Diploma Part One.

The owner of Elixir Health Foods, Wadebridge, began what was then the HFI Certificate Course in April 2006 and doesn’t object to having the Mickey taken – “I’ve set an example to other HFI students to know they can get there in the end, too!” says the former teacher.

If Jason (pictured) takes the Part Two Diploma, we estimate that he will finish it in 2031.

Vegan trade show debuts in London

Vegfest Trade, the UK’s first vegan Trade show at Olympia, attracted around 130 exhibitors and 80 speakers showcasing the best of veganism to around 700 trade and media delegates in October.

Panel discussions included a Vegan Business Support zone for small business owners, an Independent Retailers Lounge for shop owners, a Plant-Based Chefs Corner for those from the catering sector, a Vegan Bodycare Pavilion for bodycare and beauty professionals, a Vegan Health Clinic for health professionals, and a Vegan Celebrity Zone tailored to the Media sector.

Organic surge

A whopping 70% of European consumers say they are buying ‘healthy’ food and more than half of them say they are buying organic, an increase of 35% in three years. A survey by analyst IRI of 2,600 shoppers in seven European countries, including the UK, also showed vegetarian food sales up 36% in the same three years with ‘freefrom’ not far behind.

Videos promote health stores

The National Association of Health Stores has commissioned five videos to help promote independent health stores, made by Green TV. They can be viewed on the NAHS UK You Tube channel.

NAHS has also set up a new domain www.findmyhealthstore.co.uk which links to the Association’s website to help the public find their nearest NAHS member store. This domain is promoted in the videos.

The main video is entitled 'We are the Independent Health Stores of the UK' with further films promoting A Healthy Mind, Bag Loads of Energy, Healthy Immunity and Healthy Hair Skin and Nails.

A three-year plan has been actioned to increase benefits, standards, education and communication.

Organic happiness

Launching its EU-funded campaign, Organic. Feed Your Happy in September, fronted by radio and TV presenter Sara Cox (pictured), the Organic Trade Board has revealed research that shows why organic food makes people feel happy.

  • More than two thirds of consumers (68%) say it’s because organic food “benefits me, benefits the animals and benefits the environment”. Among females this increases to 78%.
  • 78% say food produced with high animal welfare standards makes them happy.
  • 77% say it’s food produced in a way that takes care of the environment.
  • Nearly eight out of 10 (79%) feel happy knowing the food they buy supports farmers.

These consumers want more organic food in UK shops:

  • Two thirds (64%) want retailers to give more space to support organic food and drink. Among 18- to 25-year-olds this increases to 72%.
  • More than half (56%) don’t think there are enough retail outlets selling organic food in their local area.
  • 64% say they would like more organic options to choose from.
  • 60% don’t think retailers do enough to support organic farmers and producers in the UK.

Read our report on the organic market

Free-from is flying

Kantar Worldpanel reported in July that the free-from market is up 40% to more than £800m in the past year. A year ago, the growth figure was already an impressive 26.7%. Meanwhile, The Grocer said its own research by Harris Interactive revealed that the number of Brits regularly shopping free-from has more than doubled in the past two years, from 19% to 43%.

Smiling Irish eyes

Congratulations to Horan’s Health Stores, Tralee, and Evergreen Health Foods, Galway, two members of the newly named Health Stores Ireland (formerly IAHS) who made it into the Top 100 Stores in Retail Excellence, Ireland’s annual appraisal of the best of Irish retail.

Food and fun at next year's Go Organic

Tapping into the increasing popularity for festivals, but with a campaigning spirit and a sense of purpose, the inaugural Go Organic Festival will take place at London’s iconic Battersea Park in September 2018.

The event is being staged by Diversified Communications, organiser of the annual Natural & Organic Products Europe.

The launch follows months of discussions with leading brands and associations, including the Soil Association and the Organic Trade Board, and aims to be the biggest consumer marketing platform and celebration ever staged for the increasingly important organic sector.

Carsten Holm, MD of Diversified, thinks the timing of the new event is perfect. He says: “So many people have asked us to do something like this and we believe there is a clear need for a major new event aimed at consumers and families, as well as the trade, which celebrates and promotes organic and brings consumers together with suppliers of organic products.”

The festival will include a large purpose-built indoor area with over 100 exhibitors showing health, lifestyle, beauty and food products. The large outdoor area will provide a host of activities for the whole family, including a festival stage with bands and DJs, a funfair, comedy, celebrities, an organic farm, an organic beer tent, farmer talks, cooking demonstrations by celebrated chefs, and seminars covering key aspects of natural and organic lifestyles.

www.goorganicfestival.co.uk

Vegan market is growing fast

There are now at least half-a-million diehard vegans in the UK, according to the Vegan Society. Around 42% of them are under 34. This means vegan food sales increased by a staggering 1,500% last year.

Read our report on the vegan market

Irish exclusives

The Irish Association of Health Stores, recently rebranded as “Heath Stores Ireland”, is planning a new initiative for next year.

“Health Stores Ireland Select” will incorporate a range of brands and products which will receive group marketing and support as ethically sourced, exclusive products symbolising the core values of the independent health food trade. This carefully chosen range of products will be designed to meet the strictest criteria with regards to ethics, quality and sustainability.

irishhealthstores.com

Heart of the matter

National Cholesterol Month (October) aims to raise funds for HEART UK as well as awareness of the dangers of high cholesterol. The main event of the month is the 100-mile Great Cholesterol Challenge.

www.heartuk.org.uk

Taking the strain with a new probiotics database

A new educational tool for retailers classifies probiotics, documents the best-researched strains, and identifies which strains are recommended for different conditions.

The resource, developed by Optibac Probiotics, is “a non- commercial project”, says Marketing Manager Soraya Janmohamed. “The strains detailed are not limited to those in the OptiBac Probiotics range.

“We feel there are a lot of misunderstandings out there when it comes to probiotics, and are hoping to make life a bit easier for retailers to sift through the information and the various competing messages.”

See the resource at www.probioticsdatabase.co.uk

Anyone 4 Tea acquires Oatwell®

Anyone 4 Tea is now the distributor for the successful Oatwell® brand. Already in wide distribution, the move is designed to grow the brand into new outlets and increase investment with promotional support and education.

Martin Last, Anyone 4 Tea’s Managing Director says “We are really excited about this new development and Oatwell® is an excellent addition to the current portfolio. We are eager to now develop this brand further and to look at ways that we can increase the product offering that it provides. It clearly has huge potential.”

Oatwell® contains Oat Beta-glucan which has been proven to help reduce cholesterol with regular use and is supported by an EFSA opinion for Health Claims. There are two main products in the range – Oatwell® powder for general use, and Oatwell® Crispy Hearts cereal for daily breakfast use.

Modest gains for independents

More traditional independent shops were opened than were closed in 2016 in Britain’s top 500 town centres, according to figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) and the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA). In contrast, national chains continued to see a fall.

Independent shops saw a modest increase of 159 shops (+0.15%) in 2016, equating to a 36% increase from 2015 when 117 shops were added across GB. The greatest increases were seen in service retail, such as health & beauty salons, financial services, tattoo parlours and estate agents. The East Midlands saw the greatest rise in independent shops while Greater London, with its high rents, the biggest decline.

Chain retailers have remained in decline with a net loss of 896 shops in 2016 across the top 500 town centres, compared to a decline of 498 shops in 2015.

LDC Director Matthew Hopkinson said: “Independents are becoming ever more important to our High Streets. Year by year, the net gain of small businesses is accelerating, even as the net loss of chain stores increases.”

Huge UK growth in mobile shopping

The number of people making a purchase through a mobile platform in the UK increased by 39% in 2016, comprising 86% of UK digital shoppers.

Retail m-commerce sales will total £31.42 billion in 2017. Online stores understand the importance of mobile sites, with 76% of them now providing a mobile version of their site.

The figures are supplied by e-commerce provider Actinic in its tenth annual ‘e-merchant profile’, a study carried out between November and December 2016 with data from 2,100 European companies.

More than a quarter of digital sales are now conducted via smartphone, reaching 28% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

According to the survey, more than half of all e-merchants (54%) have seen more than 10% of their overall sales taking place through mobile channels, three times the number in 2015.

Office for National Statistics figures show that e-commerce accounted for 15.5% of total UK retail spending in March 2017.

Mobile is fast becoming the most popular mode of online purchasing in the UK, and according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, e-customers are making purchases increasingly easily via smartphone: “We can see a year-on-year increase of 47% in the number of sales made by mobile from 2015 to 2016, driven by a preference for the channel amongst 18 to 25-year-olds.”

How to sell to 'Gen Real'

We’ve known them as Generation Z, but having grown up in a post 9/11 world of threats and tragedies, they are now ‘Gen Real’ and they are very liberal-minded. Representing almost four in every ten consumers in the world’s largest markets, Gen Real are mature beyond their years and value realism and candour above all, according to Ed Silk, head of strategy at brand design agency Bulletproof.

Writing for foodmatterslive.com, he says: “They see themselves as individuals in the first instance and want to be treated as such, always keen to create and express their own take on things.

“As a result, brand narratives need to evolve to become simpler, more frank and honest. Products and services will have to morph to encompass the next level of personalisation that panders to the desire for individuality and recognition. Aesthetically, we will see this philosophy translate on pack and in retail spaces via gender-neutral design.”

Understanding Gen Real will be crucial for brands keen to drive engagement among a consumer group that is different from any other generation before it, he adds.

IAHS set to rebrand

Irish health stores are to get a new logo and rebranding this summer. Alan McGrath, Irish Association of Health Stores administrator, says: “After years of discussion and months of brainstorming and collaboration, we are pleased to have a final design agreed.

“The new logo will allow the Irish Association of Health Stores to seriously up the ante with regard to sector marketing, the promotion of independents and engagement with consumers at a national level to highlight the special offering that health food shops have to offer.”

The IAHS has been meeting with all affiliate trade partners over the last few weeks and is agreeing on sector marketing on a range of products and services.

“An agreed message to the general public about where the key differences in the independent health food trade lie within a crowded market is in the best interest of both distributers and retailers” adds Alan. “The smart distributors are engaging with the IAHS to formulate a joint approach to sector marketing, listening to the retail sector and taking cues from them to ensure that the core of the natural health food industry thrives.”

We do like Mondays

Stores with an online shop may want to take note that a lot has changed since the Boomtown Rats declared they don’t like Mondays. New research reveals that Monday is the most popular day for UK consumers to indulge in some online retail therapy.

The research from e-commerce data experts PCA Predict found that Mondays generated the biggest e-commerce web and mobile traffic from UK consumers, averaging more than 1.2m visits. That’s 16% of all web and mobile e-commerce traffic during the week in Britain.

The highest volume of traffic during Mondays is from 11am- 3pm, where on average, at least 80,000 consumers are browsing for bargains each hour, with 1pm being the most popular hour to shop on that day. It also peaks again at 8pm when more than 80,000 British consumers log on again to shop.

The research also confirms the obvious that consumers are most likely to visit bricks and mortar retailers during the weekends.

Emma’s social call

Emma Ratcliffe has joined the Social Media team at JFN Productions, publisher of Better Retailing.

A keen photographer and travel blogger, she will be working with Alex Higgs, Sian Anderson and Gareth Hannaford who work with suppliers and retailers to promote customer relations and higher sales.

She will help to create branded content with an emphasis on photography and video.

Contact: emma@jfnproductions.co.uk

Ireland’s 47 specialists

The Irish Association of Health Stores reports 47 stores completed its Protocol for Customer Care while nine candidates sat Diploma and Certificate Health Food Institute papers in three locations around the country. Administrator Alan McGrath says running an ‘academic year’ from May to May has created a stronger focus on training. The Protocol is a requirement for continued IAHS membership and helps set member stores apart from non sector-specific retailers, he adds.

Gluten-free up by a third

Consumer behaviour analyst Kantar Worldpanel noted the boom in free-from in its grocery market report this year. “Great demand for gluten- or dairy-free products, particularly from younger shoppers, has boosted the free-from category by 36% year-on-year,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight, after Kantar’s grocery market report for the 12 weeks to the end of March “In fact, 54% of the population purchased a free-from product during the past three months – that's 3.3 million more people than last year.”

Source: Foodmatterslive.com and Speciality Food Magazine

Liverpool is top for fitness

Liverpool has been named the fittest city in the UK following new research into fitness levels across the country. A survey of 2,000 UK adults carried out by training and course provider Beabetteryou.com, found that 71% of scousers claimed to exercise at least once a week.

Manchester and London followed in second and third place with 66% and 65% of residents respectively hitting the gym at least once a week. Oxford was fourth with 62% and Leeds fifth with 59%.

As well as activity levels, the survey also quizzed respondents on their consciousness about what they eat.

While 77% of Liverpool residents claim to be careful when it comes to their diet, Manchester leads the way in nutrition as 85% of locals said they are careful about what they eat.

10 free places available for HFI diploma course

As part of the annual HFMA/Roger Lane Scholarship, the Health Food Manufacturers Association and Lanes Health, a long-standing Patron of the Health Food Institute, are providing funding for 10 candidates to gain Part One of the HFI Diploma.

This jointly funded legacy initiative recognises Roger Lane’s passionate commitment to this industry and the importance of having well-trained and knowledgeable health food retailers.

Read the full story here...

100 stores already confirmed for Wake Up To Organic 2017

100 stores have already confirmed that they will be participating in this year's 'Wake Up To Organic' on 14 June 2017, and there's still time for more retailers to get involved.

Using breakfast as a starting point, Wake Up To Organic encourages more consumers to make the switch to organic at breakfast. The annual campaign is designed to increase footfall and sales of organic by promoting organic breakfasts in independent stores across the UK. Stores from Brighton to Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Norwich have already signed up to the event. Participating stores and cafés are hosting a range of events and linking up with nationwide PR and social media activity using the hashtag #WakeUpToOrganic.

Catherine Fookes, Campaign Manager at the Organic Trade Board, said: “It's fantastic that we have reached the 100 store milestone for Wake Up To Organic. From last year's campaign we know that it's a great opportunity for retailers to demonstrate to customers how simple and beneficial it is to make the switch to organic. And there's still time for more retailers and cafés to sign up and take part in the campaign”.

All participating retailers will receive a toolkit to help them make the most of hosting Wake Up breakfast events in store. Infinity Foods Cooperative will be providing breakfast boxes of their delicious organic products to all participating stores.

To find out more about how to take part contact Tilly Ashton at the Organic Trade Board: tilly@organictradeboard.co.uk

Natural & Organic Awards Europe 2017 winners announced

Congratulations to the Natural & Organic Awards Europe 2017 winners & finalists, announced on Monday 3 April at the Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show.

The 'best new product' awards were voted for by visitors to the show on Sunday 2 April and then judged by a panel of leading industry experts. The 13 winners were selected from over 320 New Product Showcase entries, in categories covering food, health, beauty and natural living.

The Natural Products Outstanding Achievement Award was won by Cheryl Thallon, (pictured above, fourth from left) MD of Viridian Nutrition, who said:

"I'm very touched and very moved to receive such a prestigious award after 30 years in the industry. I'm very passionate about the health food industry and our mission to help people get healthy and stay healthy".

Read more here...

Naturally pampered pets?

The UK pet care market is expected to grow by 8.6%, reaching £4.5 billion by 2021 with owners more willing than ever to invest in pet health and wellness products, according to Euromonitor.

Currently the domain only for larger health stores, Euromonitor says high quality, niche products are gaining ground as consumers focus on product ingredients, including all-natural and organic pet food.

Added functionality and healthy products are top-of-mind among pet owners interested in giving their pets the same treatment as any other family member.

Independents ahead of supermarkets

Supermarket sales of organic have grown by 6.1%

Independent retailers increased sales of organic by 6.3%

Sales of organic products through home delivery have grown by 10.5%

The organic beauty and wellbeing sector grew by 13% to be worth £61.2m

Cheryl rides ‘a galloping horse’

Viridian MD Cheryl Thallon’s sunny nature shone through when she was interviewed on Channel 4 News, revealing a 23% increase in business in January following the impact of exchange rates and Brexit.

With exports up 76%, the experience was “a bit like riding a galloping horse”, she said. But she warned this was masking the increase in raw materials import prices.

The news report centred on the release of an independently conducted Quarterly Economic Survey published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which focused on the health of the British economy.

The TV crew spent several hours at Viridian Nutrition headquarters filming the interview in the warehouse and a range of nutritional supplements.

She was joining a business panel discussing opportunities surrounding Brexit “doing all I can to promote the high regard and long-term security of the specialist health sector.”

Natural move

The Natural Way in Braintree has moved to new, larger premises on the High Street after striking a deal for low rates with the local authority. Richard Sambridge decided on the move after rent issues at the 30-year-old business.

Julie Goodwin’s twentieth

In January 1997, Julie Goodwin used the redundancy money from her job as a pharmaceutical researcher to open the Natural Therapy Centre in Hertford.

Therapists queued up to work in her two treatment rooms and six of them are still with her. “I still remember my very first client that day, a lovely lady called Penny Briggs,” says Julie. Not long after that, the health food shop a few doors down became available when the owner decided to retire so Julie took it over, providing six therapy rooms above the busy 1000sq.ft. store.

Needing yet another challenge, Julie started another health store and therapy centre from scratch in Welwyn Garden City when she rented the site of a former Radio Rentals shop. “In those 20 years, health food has become much more mainstream,” she says, “and we’re seeing a resurgence of specialist dietary foods. Finding new and unique products and foods to meet this demand is very exciting.”

Bags for charity

Food For Thought stores in Kingston and Guildford have made two donations of £600 to Surrey Wildlife Trust and Starlight Childrens Foundation using the funds raised from the 5p charge on carrier bags.

Kallo and Clipper go outdoors

Kallo, the natural and organic food brand owned by Wessanen UK, is using a combined mobile advertising and office sampling drive to further establish itself in the snacking-on-the-go category. The joint campaign looks to raise awareness of Kallo’s low-calorie, natural snack range.

Targeting approximately 400,000 commuters across London, Kallo’s mobile advert will be triggered when consumers are in close range of convenience stores in and around the major rail stations that stock Kallo snacking lines.

Using GPS tracking, 3G/4G and train line and station wi-fi signals, the campaign will enable Kallo to detect the location of commuters and target those with a keen interest in healthy eating. Kallo is also taking 50,000 of its chocolate portion packs to offices across the capital.

Clipper, another brand owned by Wessanen, has dedicated record spend to an outdoor advertising campaign that celebrates its black tea range. Clipper is the fastest-growing everyday tea brand – growing value sales over the last 12 months by 11% and outperforming the category.

The ‘Flavour that Sings’ advert features a threedimensional collage of charming hand-crafted paper objects made by Dutch artist Noa Verhofstad, displayed in a kaleidoscopic effect to represent the burst of flavour found in each cup.

The adverts run until Spring across London Underground stations and on-street locations.

Better Retailing Secret Shopper Award results announced

The Better Retailing Awards are run in conjunction with the Health Food Institute to reward excellence in health food retailing.

Each year we send our secret shoppers to visit independent health food stores all around the UK and Ireland and mark them in five sections - first impressions, store layout, personal attention, check out and overall impression. The winner of this year's award was announced at the HFI Annual Lecture and Luncheon on 9th March.

Tullivers of York is the winner of the 2016 Better Retailing Secret Shopper Awards, sponsored by the Health Food Institute. Tullivers owners Helen Spath and David Weston are pictured with Editor Alistair Forrest (centre) after collecting their award at the HFI annual lecture and luncheon. The store scored a record 46/50 points after our Secret Shopper visited at the end of last year. Our secret shopper described Tullivers as “a real gem of a find and I am impressed by the friendliness, helpfulness and knowledge of the staff”.

This year's Highly Commended stores are The Aloe Tree, Ennistymon, Co Clare and Chelsea Health Store, King’s Road, London.

Look out for the next issue of Better Retailing magazine where we talk to the winners.

Achievements recognised at HFI lunch

The Health Food Institute announced some high class winners at its annual lecture and luncheon event in London on March 9.

The Jimmy Lee Richardson Diploma Award, given to the student with the highest mark in last year’s Diploma, went to Zoe Watson of Grampian Health Foods. The Ian Martin Student of the Year Award was won by Sara Dowler.

The James Henry Cook Award, presented to a person or company whose ideals most closely conform to those of the founder of the first British health store in 1898, went to Sara Novakovic of Oliver’s Wholefood Store, Kew.

The Better Retailing Secret Shopper Award, sponsored by the HFI, was presented to Helen Spath of Tulliver’s, York, which scored an exceptional 46 marks out of 50.

New HFI Fellows are Alan Martin of Food For Thought at Kingston and Guildford; Dilip Kotecha of Quality Vitamins and Herbs, Glasgow; Sara Novakovic of Oliver’s Wholefood Store, Kew; and Paul Johnson of The Natural Store in Falmouth, Helston and St. Austell.

The winners are pictured with industry leaders at the event.

FSA's fresh start

The Food Standards Agency is creating a new blueprint for the way food businesses are regulated.

Speaking at a Parliamentary reception, FSA chair Heather Hancock promised: “We will move away from a ‘one-sizefits- all’ approach to tailored and proportionate regulation that reflects relative risk, reinforces accountability, and delivers more for public health.”

The new regime will be in place by 2020.

PAYE support from HMRC

HMRC has launched a series of You Tube videos to help small business employers to better understand payroll reponsibilities. Subjects covered include When and how to pay PAYE, Payroll software and sending reports, How to send your final PAYE submission, and How to issue P60s.

Here’s the link: http:// bit.ly/2fcjhuy

Euro Event in London

VeggieWorld, Europe’s largest and oldest vegan event of its kind, is coming to the UK for the first time in April. The show attracts exhibitors from across Europe with an average of 8,000 visitors at events in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Spain and Switzerland.

VeggieWorld London takes place on Saturday and Sunday April 8 & 9 at Kensington Town Hall. veggieworld.de/en/event/london-en

Onward vegan soldiers

Vegan food sales are up by a massive 1,500% in the past year, according to new figures released to coincide with World Vegan Day in the Autumn.

More than half a million people in the UK now say they follow the vegan lifestyle, up by 260% in the last 10 years, and a third of the population identifies itself as ‘flexitarian’, which simply means they are cutting down on their meat consumption.

To illustrate the switch to plant-based alternatives, Alpro points to sales of unsweetened almond milk which are up by 2,343% since 2015. Vegetarian meat alternatives are also up by thousands of percentage points, as are sales of snacks such as tofu and falafel.

www.thelondoneconomic.com

Double top for Julie

Julie Goodwin’s Natural Health store picked up two prestigious awards at the Welwyn Garden Awards – Best Independent Shop of the Year and Retailer with the Most Votes of all the entries.

Julie’s comment? “Woo-Hoo!”.

Don't miss this

Make a date – March 9th, 2017. The Health Food Institute Annual Lecture and Luncheon is a networking event not to be missed.

Each year, this awards ceremony honours those who have achieved the greatest success in training and education in the previous year. The HFI lunch attracts retailers, practitioners and suppliers from all corners of the UK and Ireland, and top speakers. This year’s speakers are yet to be announced, but previous luminaries have included Craig Sams, Robert Verkerk and Jan de Vries.

In his keynote address, HFI chair John Frisby will reveal some compelling new industry training data and outline ambitious plans for the coming year.

The highly regarded HFI training courses provide an accredited modular programme suitable for those new to health products and act as an endorsement for the more experienced.

Venue is the Royal Over-Seas League in London – retailers, HFI Fellows and HFI Members £40.00, all others £45 per ticket. Email enquiries@healthfoodinstitute.com or phone 0115 9769 7280.

Look out for...

A.Vogel has a new menopause e-book that retailers can offer free to their customers.

Written by menopause expert Eileen Durward, the e-book is a simple guide to help women as they go through the perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

Talk to your A.Vogel rep about free downloads or call 01294 277344 to find out more.

Encouraging retail sales

Office for National Statistics October 2016 figures:

  • Volume of retail sales increased in October by 7.4% compared with October 2015, the highest rate of growth since April 2002. Compared with September 2016, volume increased by 1.9%.
  • Sales by value increased by 6.6% compared with October 2015 and increased by 2.1% compared with September 2016.
  • The amount spent online increased by 26.8% compared with October 2015 and by 1.3% compared with September 2016.

The Unilever debate during October, which saw a 10-12% price increase on products such as Marmite, might have had a small effect.

Surviving winter

Bio-Kult’s ‘Survive Winter’ campaign runs until March offering retail support through its crack team of nutritional experts.

Staff training can be combined with in-store events to encourage footfall and there’s material for eye-catching window displays and POS.

There’s also a social media campaign across FaceBook and Twitter throughout December with an array of prizes to help retailers and consumers ‘Survive Winter’.

“We wanted to devise a campaign to help retailers promote the things consumers can do to bullet-proof their immunity,” says Bio-Kult brand manager Hayley Milne.

To get your hands on a Survive Winter pack, organise an in-store event and create a window display – and receive a Bio-Kult advent calendar – contact your local advisor or email info@bio-kult.com.

Irish go back to the classroom

Irish Association of Health Stores members have their finger on the pulse of food law following an information day in Cork with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Around 20 Munster members learned about providing food information to consumers, minimum labelling requirements, how to notify a food supplement to the FSAI, ingredients to watch out for, how to handle product recalls and selling or advertising food online.

Meanwhile, IAHS stores have access to an Adverse Reactions Datashare programme in which member stores can upload customer feedback, good or bad, about any product.

“With a huge number of new product ranges coming to the market on a weekly basis this will be a valuable tool in accessing the suitability of products and valuing products and ranges where it really matters – at the coalface of retailing,” says IAHS Administrator Alan McGrath.

The IAHS also has an active members-only Facebook discussion group, a mentoring programme and a live local supplier and artisan digital database.

VegfestUK to host vegan trade show at Olympia in October 2017

VegfestUK's organisers have announced dates for VegfestUK Trade 17, the UK's first dedicated vegan trade show, which is to be held at Olympia London on October 20th 2017.

VegfestUK Trade will be open to trade and media on the Friday at Olympia, before the well established and hugely successful VegfestUK London consumer event which will be at the same venue on Saturday October 21st and Sunday October 22nd.

The website will go live for bookings in early 2017.

Former England coach to deliver keynote at Retail IT

Mention the name Sir Clive Woodward and it’s rugby, not retail that immediately comes to mind.

But the former England rugby coach is to deliver the keynote speech at Retail IT’s annual event, which this year takes place at the China Exchange in London, on October 19th.

Sir Clive will discuss how incremental changes to a business approach can yield significant results, drawing on insights and case studies from his sporting and business career.

For more information visit www.retailit.com/retail-it-event or call 020 8605 9727.

Bag a bursary with Bio-Kult

Thinking of expanding the nutritional therapy services in your store? Bio-Kult’s student bursary returns next year offering aspiring nutritional therapists the chance to realise their dream.

This year’s winner, Victoria Sims (left) is pictured with Bio-Kult’s Hayley Milne after collecting her £1000 prize to spend on her nutritional career goals. Runner up Zoe Warner also won £500.

Students can be notified when 2017 applications open by registering at www.bio-kult.com/student.

The case for organic meat

Hats off to the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics for research that revealed extremely high levels of antibiotic-resistant E.coli bacteria found in UK supermarket chicken and pork meat.

And to the Soil Association for making appropriate PR noise to the extent that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has pledged to cut the use of antibiotics on farms.

The staggering research was announced right at the beginning of Organic September and is a major boost to sales of organic meat.

The Cambridge University study is the first to examine UK-origin retail meat for resistance to a wide range of important antibiotics for treating E. coli infections. It found very high levels of resistance to two more highly important antibiotics.

Dublin hosts the second Natural Health Expo

Back by popular demand – the Irish Health Trade Association’s show for health and wellness retailers and practitioners returns to the RDS Dublin in early October

With hundreds of products on display, many of which are being exclusively unveiled at the event, this year’s Natural Health Expo is not to be missed.

Read on...

Education the key in Ireland

Irish retailers are reporting a “steady as she goes” trend with slow but manageable growth out of recession.

IAHS administrator Alan McGrath says the role of high quality education for health store staff is an essential point of difference as recovery gathers pace.

He points to an increase in the number of candidates signing up to Health Food Institute Certificates and Diplomas. And the IAHS Customer Care Protocol is now available in digital format.

The IAHS has produced an expanding online directory of Irish producers and artisans, allowing members to engage directly with producers in their area or in a chosen field.

irishhealthstores.com

Muslim lifestyle in Manchester

The UK’s biggest showcase of the trillion pound Muslim consumer market is expecting to attract thousands of visitors and hundreds of businesses from across the world.

The award-winning Muslim Lifestyle Expo 2016 (MLE2016) takes place for its second consecutive year at Manchester’s EventCity on October 29 and 30.

It aims to provide a unique marketing platform for brands and businesses in fashion, food & drink, travel, media, finance, and health & beauty.

www.muslimlifestyleexpo.co.uk

Skin food goes fashionable

Natural Beauty pioneer Weleda has teamed up with graduate fashion students at Northampton University as part of a year-long campaign to mark the 90th anniversary of its best-selling skincare product, Skin Food.

Challenged to create designs inspired by the iconic backstage beauty hero, the students’ work will be showcased by Weleda during London Fashion Week (September 22-25) in front of a high-profile judging panel.

www.weleda.co.uk

Brexit - what happens now?

Introducing our new regular columnist on legislation issues — Chris Whitehouse, Chairman of The Whitehouse Consultancy

It was not the result that most, including many in the leave camp, expected. On June 23 Britain voted to leave the European Union. A few hours later, the Prime Minister announced that someone else will lead the UK during its negotiations on exiting the EU.

So the question now is, what on earth will the world look like for the natural healthcare sector once these negotiations are finally complete? And when will they even be complete?

Read the full article here...

Need to know – what to tell customers about microplastics

Recently, global attention has been drawn to the use of microplastic beads in cosmetic products and their environmental impact caused by plastic debris. International concern has put the spotlight on microbeads either for a ban or at least a phasing out of their use.

To date, despite a joint statement by European member state delegations, there has been no fixed decision on their prohibition in the EU, leaving some member states such as the UK and Sweden to consider their own independent ban.

So what are microplastic beads (or microbeads)? Why are they used in cosmetics? What environmental damage might they do and how? Can they be found in natural/ organic cosmetics?

Less than 5mm in size, synthetic plastic polymer beads function as minuscule scouring brushes and are mainly associated with exfoliating dead skin cells, and so cleansing the skin, in a rinse-off product like a shampoo or body scrub. But they can also be found in toothpastes (as abrasives), or in nail polishes and eye shadows.

Once they are rinsed down the drain, and eventually into the water treatment system, they cannot, due to their size, be removed by filters before reaching the surface waters and finally ending up in the oceans. Here, because they are insoluble in water and non-biodegradable, they accumulate and may be ingested by fish-eating birds, sea mammals, fish and invertebrates in our oceans: polluting and contaminating, and negatively impacting on the marine environment.

Whether or not microbeads might be found in cosmetics claiming to be ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ will depend on whether the products are certified, what standard they are certified to, and what that criteria permits or prohibits. All finished products that carry the international NATRUE seal will never include synthetic artificial ingredients like microbeads – these are strictly prohibited by the NATRUE criteria.

Knowing that microbeads are not permitted by the NATRUE standard, what effective natural alternatives are brands using instead? NATRUE permits only three classifications of ingredient: natural, natural-identical and derivednatural ingredients. Ingredients that act as natural exfoliants can fall into any one of NATRUE’s permitted categories.

Natural exfoliants could be: inorganic minerals, like those found naturally in quartz sand using the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) silica or hydrated silica; exfoliants made from biodegradable jojoba beads using the INCI ingredient name Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil or from tiny beeswax pearls (Cera Alba); natural abrasives and exfoliants isolated from non-GM plants such as sucrose (from sugar cane), or seed/shell powders and kernels from apricot, olive and walnut.

Mark Smith is Scientific and Regulatory Manager at NATRUE

Panacea scoops Watford awards

Panacea Health & Beauty’s Watford store has wowed the judges in the town’s intu Retailer Awards.

Voted for by customers, intu shopping centre staff and the stores themselves Panacea emerged as winner for Best Window Display and runner-up to John Lewis for customer service, ‘Shop I love the most’ and engagement with the community.

Says Store Manager Oana Caldararu: “These awards are fantastic recognition for the team which has regularly been complimented by the customers for their outstanding customer service and the window displays.”

Panacea has five branches in London and the South East.

Better superfood

A unique blend of organically harvested superfoods created by BetterYou has scooped the top prize in the Best Supplement category at the Veggie Awards. Category judge and editor Allison Jacobs chose BetterYou’s TotalNutrition Superfood powder as her winner after trialling the product, while medicinal chef Dale Pinnock has created a TotalNutrition recipe booklet.

All buzzing in Wexford

Christine Meehan at the Natural Health Store in Wexford, Ireland, reports excellent results from recent in-store promotions.

A talk on the menopause with Eileen Durward from A Vogel (pictured) saw sales of Menoforce and Menoforce Support surge.

“We hold regular in-store events but our most popular one is Clair’s food tasting day, when customers can taste some healthy homemade treats and learn about ingredients they may not have cooked with before.

“Our in store Nutritional Therapist offers free one-to-one health consultations, which book up quickly and generate sales. New customers with dietary limitations receive a personal shopping experience. We walk them through the shop pointing out the foods they can and can’t eat.”

Promotions and events are supported by regular quarterly leaflets and already a Mental Health Awareness morning planned for June has attracted massive interest.

“Our little town is buzzing again and we are seeing an increase in younger customers coming into our store,” adds Christine. “With online trends such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the younger generation is much more informed and eager for new products.”

THS open day a big success

Around 148 retailers representing 200 stores attended The Health Store open day at the end of June. “It was one of the best we’ve hosted in recent years,” said Sales & Marketing Director Paul Rideout.

In all, 96 suppliers exhibited, all with event-only deals. Raffle prizes totalling £5,000 of stock were won by retailers as well as a European short break, a £300 THS hamper, fully merchandised Weleda and SAAF product stands, and £250 worth of health books contributed by Viridian.

Claire is a high achiever

Claire Grady, senior sales advisor at Evergreen Healthfoods, Galway, is pictured with the Andrew Cape Memorial Award for highest achiever in the Health Food Institute Diploma 2015.

She was named winner of the HFI Jimmy Lee Richardson Diploma Award at the Institute’s annual lecture and awards luncheon earlier this year

Danger oils – where's the outcry?

Contaminants formed during the processing of refined vegetable oils are genotoxic and carcinogenic, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The presence of the chemical compound 3-MCPD in vegetable oil, processed food and even infant formula ought to have caused a consumer outcry but, according to foodanddrinkeurope.com, conflicting industry messages have confused the food media.

EFSA concluded in May there is enough evidence that glycidyl fatty acid esters are harmful and that babies can be exposed to up to 10 times the acceptable levels.

Food safety expert Dr Dario Drongo is quoted as saying the industry is determined to keep production costs down in spite of well-known risks.

www.foodanddrinkeurope.com

Migraine mum praises magnesium

A 43-year old mother from Bristol who suffered frequent migraines for a decade has found relief thanks to a magnesium oil spray.

Leah Jefferies took part in a trial by BetterYou and Migraine Action aimed at understanding the beneficial effects of magnesium on migraines.

The three-month trial involved 68 migraine sufferers using BetterYou’s Magnesium Oil Original spray twice a day.

Leah noticed a significant improvement in the severity and frequency of her migraines which impacted both her general health and performance at work. Half of the sufferers felt that the magnesium spray had a positive effect on their migraines. All experienced a decrease in the overall severity of attacks while 70% also experienced a reduction in the duration of the attack.

It is estimated that 25 million school and work days are lost to migraines every year with 8m UK sufferers.

Rebekah Aitchison from Migraine Action said: “There is currently no cure for migraine, but there are options in managing this neurological condition. With one in seven people across the UK affected, and an estimated 190,000 attacks occurring every day, it is vital that we are able to help more people like Leah.”

Move over Lynn Lord

Natures Aid MD Lynn Lord was given the Outstanding Achievement Award at Natural & Organic Products Europe – and promptly announced her semi-retirement along with husband Dave Lord and fellow director Paul Marshall.

Three new directors have been appointed. They are Chris Morrey (Director of Commerce), Tim Gaunt (Director of Technical Sales) and David Sole (Director of Operations), pictured at a recent awards event.

Read why Natures Aid co-founder and former HFMA chair Lynn Lord explains why she believes the independent health food retailer has a rosy future here

Planet Organic nips in ahead of Amazon

The UK's largest fully-certified organic supermarket, Planet Organic, has teamed up with independent store delivery service Hubbub.co.uk to deliver natural food and drink, health and beauty products and household goods across London.

With over 5,000 products to choose from, Londoners can expect delivery on their doorsteps next-day within a precise one-hour timeslot. And the partnership with Hubbub includes 100 independents across London who are now offering organic groceries alongside Planet Organic.

The London Express delivery service pips Amazon to the post – the online giant was expected to launch its one-hour online groceries business Amazon Fresh last month.  Full story and background in the summer issue of Better Retailing.

• Pictured are Hubbub founder Marisa Leaf (left) and Planet Organic founder Renée Elliott

Nelsons-sponsored stand awarded 4 stars at Chelsea Flower Show

For the second year in a row, Nelsons has received great news from the Chelsea Flower Show – Horatio's Garden stand, which the healthcare products manufacturer has sponsored this year, has just been awarded a prestigious 4 stars by the RHS in the trade stand competition.

Horatio’s Garden builds beautiful outdoor spaces at NHS spinal injury centres, giving patients a stress free place to recover amongst nature.

Evidence shows that gardens and gardening have a positive effect on a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and having an inspiring outdoor haven is particularly crucial for people impacted by spinal injuries.

There are currently gardens at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury District Hospital and Scotland’s National Spinal Unit in Glasgow and they were designed by Cleve West and RHS judge James Alexander-Sinclair respectively. Their next garden will be at The National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and will be designed by Joe Swift, an RHS Gold medal winner and presenter of BBC Gardeners’ World.

Nelsons, one of the UK's largest manufacturers of natural healthcare products, is sponsoring Horatio’s Garden stand in order to raise awareness of the charity and funds for their next garden through exclusive merchandise, including a stunning porcelain pestle and mortar by sculptor John Julian. The stand is on Eastern Avenue, EA514 and it is staffed by volunteers and former patients of the spinal centre at Salisbury Hospital who will be able to give first hand accounts of the benefits of Horatio’s Gardens.

Advertising boost for indie retailers

To celebrate its 250th anniversary, Wessanen ran a competition in its Retailer Club Newsletter, offering independent health store retailers the chance to win a free advert worth £250 to spend in their local press.

The lucky winners were David Hammon from Phoenix Community Store in Forres, Richard Sambridge from The Natural Way in Banstead, Rachael Higgins from Beau’s Kitchen in Skipton and Jessica Hughes from Organically Speaking in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire.

Jessica says: ‘It was a really lovely surprise to win, as I never win anything! I was really pleased to be able to choose what publication we could place our ad in – we chose Hampshire Life, which we know has a readership that forms a good part of our customer base. We had advertised with them before, but didn’t have the budget to do it again, so it was brilliant to have it all paid for by Wessanen.”

New store for Sonas Healthfoods

Sonas Healthfoods in Newcastle West, County Limerick, has relocated from Maiden Street to The Square. To celebrate, they held an official launch day on 11 March where their customers got the chance to meet some of their suppliers, enter a prize draw and sample some of the delicious menu offerings. The opening coincided with the national fundraising day for Cancer Support services so all coffee sales on the day were donated directly to the Daffodil Day Fund.

Weleda awarded Butterfly Mark

Weleda has been awarded the coveted Butterfly Mark, powered by Positive Luxury. The Butterfly Mark is awarded to luxury lifestyle brands that take pride in their craftsmanship, service and design, whilst caring about our planet’s resources.

Through Positive Luxury’s screening process, Weleda has demonstrated its commitment to all its products being free from unnecessary chemicals, having environmentally-friendly packaging and working with suppliers with clear policies in place to prevent child labour and unfair pay, to name a few.

Jayn Sterland, Commercial Director of Weleda, commented: “Weleda has been an ethical manufacturer since the company was first founded in 1921, and it is something we work very hard at. We strive to make improvements in all areas of sustainability every year, continually monitoring and improving our efforts, and we don’t rest on our laurels.”

Boost for natural beauty

UK sales of organic health and beauty products reached 54.2 million in 2015 according to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2016, up 21.6% on 2014.

In addition, Mintel’s Trends Report highlighted that some 42% of UK consumers now prefer to buy natural and organic personal care products because they believe they are better for the environment.

And demand for natural skincare products isn’t gender specific – 50% of UK men now believe that facial skincare products with natural ingredients are better for their skin.

Redesign for Heath and Heather

Herbal tea brand Heath & Heather has redesigned its organic range to communicate its provenance, superior quality and the breadth of delicious infusions and health benefits within the range.

Many of the herbs that are included in the range are native English herbs that grow wild in hedgerows and across the English countryside and this has been brought to life with the new design which captures the herbal and fruit inclusions and creating a ‘hedgerow’ of health and happiness on shelf. The design is also inspired by the original vision of the company founders with the brand name displayed on a ‘seed tag' nestling within an abundance of herbal ingredients.

The new design features a coloured top panel to help consumers identify their favourite infusions easily and with further information on the benefits of each tea on the back of pack they offer a simple and beautiful way to bring herbal teas into your home.

For further information contact Rahul Kale +44-7968195299.

Health Food Institute Lecture and Luncheon

The HFI did themselves proud with another informative and fun luncheon for all their members.

The Health Food Institute’s annual lecture and luncheon is always a special day, and the 2016 event was no exception. The day brings together members of the institute, health food suppliers, retailers and manufacturers, and is a chance to hear some great speakers and enjoy a great lunch in the auspicious surroundings of Over-Seas House in central London.

Tom Moses from the HFI gave the welcome address this year, including a message from John Frisby who was unable to attend this year.

The Jack Noah Memorial Lecture was this year given by Robert Verkerk, who gave a fascinating insight into the future of health care, and how our own industry’s role is affected by politics, bureaucracy and the changing face of Britain.

After a delicious lunch, the afternoon was rounded off by a fantastic keynote speech from Les Illingworth, full of hilarious stories from his many years in the health food industry and illustrated with great photos – and even some poetry!

Awards ceremony

Each year the HFI awards a series of prizes to recognise excellence in all areas of the industry. First they welcome new HFI Fellows, and this year fellowships were awarded to Michael Hill, Marilyn Glenville, Les Illingworth, and Tim Ryan (pictured above).

The next award is the Ian Martin NAHS Student of the Year Award, given in memory of Ian Martin who was for many years Director of the NAHS, and a significant contributor to the early development of the health food trade. It’s awarded to the student who achieves the highest marks in Part One of the HFI Professional Diploma Course, and was this year awarded to Annie Shead of Greens Health Foods in Leigh-on-Sea.

This was followed by our own award, the Better Retailing Secret Shopper Award. We award this each year to the independent health food store which has achieved the highest mark in our Secret Shopper store reviews that run throughout the year. The idea is to seek out and reward true excellence in retailing. This year’s winner was the Health Store, Liffey Valley, Dublin, and you can read more about our winner – and the runners up – here.

The Jimmy Lee Richardson Diploma Award was presented to Claire Grady, Senior Sales Advisor at Evergreen in Galway. Finally the James Henry Cook Award – given each year to a person or company whose personal and business ideals most closely conform to those of the man to whom this award is dedicated, the founder of the first British health store in 1898. This year’s award was presented to Cheryl Thallon of Viridian Nutrition for her long, dedicated and inspirational service to the health food Industry.

Thanks to the sponsors

Alison Collingwood, Administrator at the HFI, says: ‘The HFI annual lecture and luncheon is always a great event, and we wouldn’t be able to put it on each year without the fantastic support that we receive from our sponsors. This year we want to say a big thank you to Bee Health Ltd, Bio-Nature Ltd, CherryActive, Diversified Communications UK, JHN Productions Ltd, LanesHealth, Lifeplan Products Ltd, Martin and Pleasance, Modern Herbals Ltd, Natural Trade Brokers, Quest Vitamins, The Health Store, and Viridian Nutrition.’

HFMA sees EU Referendum as opportunity

The HFMA has opted not to take a position on either side of the EU debate, but wants to take the opportunity to highlight its concerns. Graham Keen, HFMA Executive Director, said: "The Brexit question has been discussed at HFMA Council meetings, and whether we should take a position on 'In/Out' has been considered very carefully, taking into account advice from our Parliamentary advisers. We have concluded that we should not take a position one way or the other, but that we should use the build-up to a Referendum, whatever the outcome, to press for better recognition for our industry’s concerns such as over-regulation and that individual member states, i.e. the UK, should be allowed to set their own agenda when it comes to issues like human nutrition. Our Chair, Robert Taylor, has written twice on this issue to the Prime Minister and received assurances that our concerns had been taken on board."

Read our article "EU Referendum - are you in or out?" here

The winner of the Pat Curran Award for Excellence in Customer Service

In the Winter 2015 issue of Better Retailing, we launched the Pat Curran Award for Excellence in Customer Service and told you how, if you work in an Irish health food store, your customers could vote for you. Health store customers and readers of our sister title, Rude Health magazine, were asked to nominate a store and staff member and give marks for their product portfolio, their knowledge, how friendly and helpful they are, whether they give great advice, their store layout, and grade them for innovation.

The aim of the award is to celebrate excellence in independent health food shops throughout Ireland. All customers who registered their vote were entered into a draw to win one of 10 three-month supplies of Eskimo oils worth €60 each.

Now we have the results in and can announce that the winner is Donna Hennelly who works at The Health Store in Briarhill Shopping Centre, Ballybrit, Co Galway. She received lots of votes and some wonderful commendations such as:

‘Donna is incredibly dedicated to her job and she has appropriate knowledge around health. She makes you feel that she is listening to you and understands what issues you have.’

‘Donna is a qualified nutritionist and has expert knowledge on why people should take certain products.’

‘Extremely warm and helpful service. Very knowledgeable on products, benefits and symptoms.’

Our winner, Donna Hennelly, says: ‘Thank you to everyone… who voted for me and to all my colleagues at The Health Store, Briarhill Shopping Centre, Galway. I am delighted and humbled to have won this great competition.’

Pukka Herbs commits to donating 1% of turnover to environmental causes

Global brand Pukka Herbs has committed to donating 1% of its turnover to environmental causes, through not-for-profit organisation, 1% for the Planet. 1% for the Planet is a global movement of companies donating at least 1% of their annual turnover to environmental not-forprofit organisations worldwide. Although growing in the US, the idea of connecting businesses, consumers and non-profits together for positive change in this way is new in the UK. Pukka Herbs is one of a handful of pioneering UK companies who have joined the scheme, pledging 1% of its turnover to create positive environmental change.

Pukka Herbs Cofounder, Tim Westwell said: “If we’re going to address the global problem of climate change there has to be a step change in how businesses behave. We feel strongly that organisations like Pukka Herbs have a responsibility and, through 1% for the Planet, an opportunity to contribute to this. As we succeed in connecting people with the health-giving power of herbs we can give back and protect the environment that is the source of our business, as well as our lives. We’d love it if more companies joined us for the benefit of people, plants and planet.”

Exciting expansion for Essential

Trading since 1971, Essential Trading is one of the largest worker co-operatives in the UK, and a proud pioneer of the wholefood market. Essential Trading wholesales, manufactures and distributes vegetarian wholefoods across the UK and beyond and was delighted to record unprecedented expansion last year.

Essential’s Eli Sarre commented: “2015 was an exciting year for Essential with sales hitting a record £16m, having increased annual turnover by more than £1m. We expanded our site in Bristol, which will all significantly improve working conditions as well as improving energy efficiency due to better insulation and low energy LED lighting. We have also increased our fleet of vehicles, allowing us to increase our number of regular nationwide deliveries.”

Fuel For School – tackling food waste and hunger in one go!

Suma has for some time now had a great working relationship with The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP), who intercept food destined for landfill and cook delicious food with it in their network of cafes across the country.

Any food business finds itself with surplus food from time to time, and these people enable Suma to be almost zero waste. Even more exciting is that Suma is now an official partner in TRJP’s ‘Fuel for School’ project.

This project came about when Leeds headteacher Nathan Atkinson noticed some of his pupils did not have access to healthy foods. His contact with Adam Smith of TRJFP lead the pair to combine the two issues, food waste and hunger. Fuel for School diverts perfectly edible, healthy foods to schools where children and the community can benefit.

You can find out more at therealjunkfoodproject.org/ or at www.richmondhillleeds.co.uk/fuel-for-school/

Fresh success for Nature’s Corner

Nature’s Corner in Newbury has relocated from Bartholomew Street to Northbrook Street.

The re-opening was marked with lots of special offers and promotions, and goodie bags for customers.

Anita Hatch, Company Director at the store, said that the new location has been a great success for the popular store, with footfall up around 30% since the move.

Better Retailing Secret Shopper Award winner announced

At Better Retailing magazine we run our Secret Shopper awards annually, and are proud to have the award sponsored by the Health Food Institute.

Each year we send our secret shoppers to visit independent health food stores all around the UK and Ireland.  The idea is to seek out and reward true excellence in retailing, something that both our magazine and the Health Food Institute are keen to celebrate. The winner of this year’s award was announced at the HFI Annual Lecture and Luncheon on 18th February.

Our winning store is The Health Store, Liffey Valley, Dublin (whose manager Peter Horace is shown here receiving the trophy from Better Retailing editor, Siobhan Godwood). This store demonstrates true excellence in retailing. The Health Store started life in 1982 when the founder, Roger White, returned from his travels in India with a keen interest in alternative remedies and supplements, as well as healthy, vegetarian eating. The first store opened in Swords, followed by a second in Bray, and now there are 10 branches across Ireland. Our secret shopper found that the Liffey Valley branch is a great store, very well organised and with excellent staff, with its best asset being its excellent friendly and helpful staff who knew the store’s products inside out and answered some quite challenging questions.

Highly Commended was Swindon Pulse Health Cooperative in Swindon. Our secret shopper found that it was an enjoyable, leisurely shopping experience with excellent service.

Also Highly Commended was Healthy Route in Leicester. Our secret shopper found it a bright, welcoming store, with helpful and friendly staff, in a great location.

Look out for the next issue of Better Retailing magazine where we talk to the winners about the secrets behind their success.

Could your store win the Pat Curran Award for Excellence in Customer Service?

Pat Curran was a real hero of the Irish natural health world and many were truly saddened at his passing earlier this year. Pat set up PPC, which makes the well-known Irish brand of omega-3 Eskimo oils, over 20 years ago and was well liked by customers and colleagues alike. Pat was incredibly passionate about customer service and treating people with respect. To celebrate Pat’s life and acknowledge the rich legacy he has left behind, PPC and Pat’s family – wife Phil, daughters Olive and Hazel and son-in-law Michael – have launched the Pat Curran Award for Excellence in Customer Service.

If you work in an Irish health food store, your customers may wish to vote for your shop – and a member of your staff – for this award.

The member of staff who is the overall winner will receive €500 cash prize and their store will also receive a €500 which they can give to a charity of their choice. The objective of this worthwhile award is to celebrate excellence in independent health food shops throughout Ireland. Plus, when one of your customers registers their vote, they will be entered into a draw to win one of 10 three-month supplies of Eskimo oils worth €60 each.

How your customers can vote

Ask your customers to log onto www.rudehealthmagazine.ie/pat-curran-award and follow the instructions on how to vote. They will need to nominate a store and staff member and give them marks for product portfolio, knowledge, how friendly and helpful they are, whether they give great advice, store layout, and grade them for innovation. Closing date 12 February 2015.

First UK Chinese certification awarded via the Soil Association Certification partnership with OFDC

The first licence for UK organic exports to China has been awarded via the partnership between Soil Association Certification and China’s certification body, OFDC (Organic Food Development and Certification Centre of China). Soil Association Certification agreed the partnership in April 2014 to facilitate the export of organic products to China, and enable their customers to reach a market estimated to reach $9 billion by the end of 2015.

OMSCo (the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative) is the first to receive the licence and is now able to supply Chinese certified milk to organic processors wanting to export to China. Demand for organic products in China is high and the country already imports over $48 billion of food and beverages from around the world. Organic dairy products are especially in demand following recent food scares and the initial certification for OMSCo covers 15m litres of organic milk, worth between £7 and £10m at port of export, depending on the end product the milk is used for.

Soil Association Certification supports all of its clients with export of products to new markets by helping them to meet legislative requirements and building strong links with certification bodies in other countries.

Archie Browns help homeless charities

Archie Browns health food shops and cafés in Cornwall are getting involved in the StreetSmart campaign again this Christmas. StreetSmart is a national campaign that aims to raise money each year for the homeless and vulnerable, via a voluntary £1 donation added to restaurant bills during November and December.

As all admin costs are paid by national StreetSmart sponsor, Deutsche Bank, 100% of the money raised goes directly to the charities – therefore, every pound donated in Cornwall will benefit St Petroc's Society, Cornwall Women's Refuge Trust and the Cornish branches of Foodbank. Caroline Perkins, manager of Archie Browns, said: "Archie Browns in both Truro and Penzance are pleased to be supporting StreetSmart once again. We know that every bit of help, however small, is vital for these local charities. As the weather turns colder we should all play our part to help the homeless and vulnerable, especially in our local communities. StreetSmart has been very well received by our customers in past years, and we hope that we can continue to make a difference in Cornwall with this year's donations."

HFMA successfully roots out unlicensed Echinacea and Devil's Claw products

The Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) was pleased to learn recently that around 40 unlicensed Echinacea products and 70 unlicensed Devil's Claw products, from non-EU countries and making non-authorised health claims, had been removed from the Amazon website, following collaboration with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Following discussions in July 2015 with the MHRA, the HFMA raised concerns over issues relating to some selling activities of major online retailers, citing Echinacea and Devil's Claw in particular, and the marketing of health products that make illegal medicinal claims or are inappropriately labelled for the UK market. Graham Keen, Executive Director of the HFMA, said: "This is a very positive outcome which takes us another step towards ensuring safe and regulated natural health products for UK consumers, and we thank the MHRA for decisive response to this problem. It is also a very real and detrimental commercial issue for our members who invest heavily in producing products that meet all regulatory requirements. We will remain vigilant and continue to protect the interest of responsible retailers, who are producing high-quality products."

Two of the health industry's independent import/distribution companies to unite

Sussex-based Global By Nature (previously Xynergy Health Products) has announced that the company will be joining forces with Gloucestershire-based Planet Health International and will locate all warehousing to Cirencester.

With a portfolio of successful exclusive brands including Synergy Natural and Sunwarrior, Global By Nature has a wealth of experience spanning almost 30 years; starting in 1987 with just one man's mission to spread the word about spirulina. Today, Global By Nature Ltd is the UK arm of Sydney-based Global By Nature Pty Ltd; one of Australia's largest independent wholesalers with over 5,000 natural health products.

Mandy and Peter Harwood founded Planet Health International in 1996 distributing the premium health brands: Australian Bush Flower Essences, Lifestream, Qsilica, Watson & Son, Snor-ring and KiwiHerb. They will now hand over all distribution to GBN and focus solely on marketing activity for the Lifestream and Qsilica brands. Peter Harwood comments “We also have plans to launch other brands in the UK which will be marketed by us and distributed by Global By Nature.” Global By Nature will take responsibility for distribution of all aforementioned brands, selling across health food, grocery and pharmacy channels.

For more information email sales@ globalbynature.co.uk

Cherry Active celebrates tenth anniversary

CherryActive celebrates its tenth anniversary on 1st January 2016. John Carey, CherryActive's Founder and Director, started the company when he discovered that tart Montmorency cherries, grown in the US for the cherry pie market, had a positive effect on his gout, a painful joint condition that he had suffered from for years.

He worked with Michigan's top cherry growers to produce Montmorency cherry concentrate. John and his team are so passionate about the product that they have worked tirelessly promoting it, and there's lots of ongoing research into CherryActive's many health benefits. As well as improvements for gout sufferers, research has shown significant results for CherryActive in improving sleep quality, reducing inflammation and speeding recovery after exercise. “The journey with exercise recovery benefits has been the most exciting,” says John, “We now boast international and premiership rugby, football and cricket teams as our customers, as well as a number of world-beating Olympic squads.”

www.cherryactive.co.uk

60 years of studies show benefits of bee propolis

Bees produce an amazing substance, propolis, which has been used for thousands of years for human health. Egyptians even used propolis in the mummification process as it acts as a natural preservative and antimicrobial. Bee propolis is created from the resins bees collect from plant and tree buds and forms a sticky substance which they use to line their hive to keep germs at bay.

Beehives are known to be one of the most sanitary, bacteria-free places on earth. Propolis has been the subject of over 1,500 studies in the last 60 years. It has natural antibiotic and antiviral activity and has been shown to boost immunity, shrink tumours (most recent studies show its effectiveness as a treatment of prostate cancer) and to fight superbugs such as MRSA.

In recent years, in vitro and in vivo assays have provided remarkable new information concerning its mechanisms of action including as an immunomodulatory agent. Research shows that bee propolis also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a natural antibiotic against bacteria and can help speed wound healing. In addition bee propolis has also been shown to help fight colds and ‘flu, hay fever and fungal infections and to protect the liver and kidneys against toxic damage.

Bee propolis is a terrific addition to any daily health regime as it contains a surprising array of vitamins and minerals as well as high levels of antioxidants and bioflavonoids.

www.unbeelievablehealth.co.uk

Study reveals misery of PMS

A study by Cleanmarine Krill Oil for Women has revealed the misery that PMS causes for working women in the UK. The study involved 2,000 UK females, and reveals that women often become anxious about calling in sick to work. Period pains are impacting on women’s everyday happiness and health, with a third of working women admitting they are stressed at having to take up to four days a year due to severe discomfort.

Nearly half (46 per cent) are scared to reveal the real reason why they need time off work, as a quarter (24 per cent) worry that ‘period symptoms’ won’t be taken seriously. However, one in 20 (five per cent) are so affected by the pain brought on by their period they take at least two weeks off work a year.

Commenting on the research findings, Caomhán McKernan for Cleanmarine said “It is clear that PMS is having a major impact on women’s working lives.  The research shows that there’s so much more to be done on raising awareness of PMS and the actions that can be taken to alleviate symptoms.  It’s miserable to see that 20 per cent of women face each month believing there is nothing they can do to beat period pain. PMS needs to be taken more seriously and spoken about more freely.”

cleanmarinekrill.co.uk

Research suggests Elderberry eases coughs and colds

It’s September and back to school time, with winter just around the corner meaning coughs, colds and ‘flu are not far behind. Both in-vitro and human studies show that elderberry – one of Europe's oldest traditional remedies for treating coughs, colds and ‘flu – is effective in managing those sniffles.

Two key research studies funded by Iprona AG  – an Italian specialist in red fruit extraction and Europe’s largest processor of elderberry – examined the effect of elderberry on both ‘flu viruses and bacteria.  The first was an in-vitro study in 2010 and the second was a human study, with results revealed in July 2015.

Both studies showed that elderberry was effective. “The research indicates that using elderberry based products such as Berroxin® - which uses Iprona AG´s membrane enriched elderberry formula- as part of a regular regime could help the fight against upper respiratory infections for children and adults,” said Iprona Technical Director, Anthony Jacobs.

To find out more about elderberry and its benefits visit the-berry-room.com

Can garlic fight urinary tract infections?

Garlic extract may be an effective weapon against multi-drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria associated with urinary tract infections (UTI), according to a recent study published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science.

The study by researchers at the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in India found that "even crude extracts of [garlic] showed good activity against multidrug-resistant strains where antibiotic therapy had limited or no effect. This provides hope for developing alternative drugs which may be of help in fighting the menace of growing antibacterial resistance," the team states. In this study, the team found that 56% of 166 bacteria strains isolated from the urine of people with UTI showed a high degree of resistance to antibiotics. However, about 82% of the antibiotic resistant bacteria were susceptible to a crude aqueous extract of Allium sativum.

According to the researchers, "ours is the first study to report the antibacterial activity of aqueous garlic extract against multidrug-resistant bacterial isolates from infected urine samples leading to UTI. To conclude, there is evidence that garlic has potential in the treatment of UTI and maybe other microbial infections."

Winner of A.Vogel’s window competition

Throughout April and May A.Vogel Herbal Remedies ran a window competition in which they invited health food stores and pharmacies to display their ‘Sleep’ window kit in the most creative and attractive way possible. The kit included two characters, Valerian the dormouse and Hops the rabbit, alongside marketing materials relating to A.Vogel’s herbal remedy Dormeasan, a traditional herbal remedy for sleep disturbances.

With kits going to hundreds of stores nationwide, the competition was fierce, but Ceres Natural Foods of Yeovil was crowned the overall winner. Suzy Langdon, Manager of Ceres Natural Foods, said: ‘Our sales assistant Hannah McDonald did the window, and it was absolutely beautiful. We were thrilled to win – Hannah puts a lot of time and energy into the window displays that she does for us and they’re always wonderful, and we were also really impressed with the materials that A.Vogel provided.’

Judges from A.Vogel deemed Ceres a well-deserved winner due to the amount of time and effort that had clearly gone into their beautiful window display. The window kit was rolled out as part of a nationwide campaign by A.Vogel to promote Dormeasan, a traditional herbal remedy made from fresh extracts of hops and valerian, hence the names of the characters. Valerian the dormouse and Hops the rabbit were created by illustrator Frances Evans.

Natural solution to chronic constipation

New research conducted by Atlantia Food Clinical Trials Ltd and Probiotics International Ltd (Protexin), has revealed an effective natural solution to chronic, functional constipation, dramatically reducing the need for laxatives. In this study 69 individuals aged between 18 and 80 who were suffering from functional constipation, and experiencing less than three bowel movements a week, were divided into an active or placebo group.

The active group were given Lepicol, a 3-in-1 supplement containing probiotics, prebiotic and psyllium husk fibre, and the control group received a placebo for the duration of the four-week study. The study was randomised, and double blinded. In one week the number of bowel movements in the active group doubled, and was maintained at this healthy level for the remainder of the trial. During the four week period, those in the active group saw a significant drop in laxative usage, reduced from a staggering 64.2% usage to just 6.4%.

Dr Mayur Joshi, Medical Advisor at Probiotics International Ltd (Protexin) comments, “Functional constipation is extremely common, with up to 28% of the UK population suffering from chronic symptoms. Up to 40% of the general population will resort to using laxatives at some stage in their lives, despite conventional advice to only use laxatives intermittently. This study clearly demonstrates that Lepicol, a safe and natural supplement, can significantly improve symptoms and quality of life in people with functional constipation. It also significantly reduces the need for laxatives and thereby reduces the risks associated with long-term laxative use.”

www.protexin.com

Best of the British High Street delivered to the doorstep

Miracle Tree, the award-winning herbal tea blend producer (Healthy Food & Drink Awards 2015) whose aim is for Moringa to become a mainstay of everyone’s daily diet, is one of 100 launch retailers listed on SHOPS, a new online marketplace recently launched by mySupermarket, the shopping and comparison grocery website.

Now consumers can choose from a selection of Miracle Tree’s Caffeine Free Moringa Wellness Tea range, all containing over 90 nutrients, with a simple click of a button, including the award-winning Mango Flavour which can be delivered straight to your door.

To mark the launch, new research carried out by SHOPS reveals that although nearly three quarters of shoppers (74%) buy from independent retailers weekly, almost a third (30%) are deterred from shopping at local, independent boutiques due to a lack of online availability.

Gilad Simhony, CEO, mySupermarket comments: “Shoppers are constantly seeking new, convenient options when it comes to buying their groceries, so SHOPS by mySupermarket is the perfect way of bringing the best of the British High Street, straight to consumers’ doorsteps. SHOPS has paved the way for a unique type of online shopping experience, making it easier than ever to access the quality and care of independent retailers, whilst providing much needed support for the great British High Street”.

“This is a fantastic platform and a great way for shoppers to find unique products from new companies and local high-street stores all in one easy to use place. MySupermarket is an extremely popular and well known platform with an incredible following and we are extremely excited to have the opportunity to partner with them on the launch of their new platform Shops.”

For further information visit: www.shops.mysupermarket.co.uk

Amaranth wins Best Independent Retailer

Many congratulations to NAHS member Amaranth in Stockport for winning the Best Independent Retailer award at the recent Natural Products exhibition.

Joanne Hill, owner of the store, said: “We knew who we were up against, and they are such fantastic stores, so we convinced ourselves over the course of the show that we couldn’t possibly have won. So when we heard our name called out, it was very exciting. We’re just so proud of our store and everyone who works here, and it’s nice to have our achievements recognised by our peers.”

Joanne tells us more about her store and its journey over the last year in her article here.

Fantastic growth in organics in indie sector

The Soil Association has published its Organic Market Report 2015, and it shows that growth in the sale of organic products in independent stores has outstripped that in supermarkets.

Sales outside of multiples grew by 8.7% to £558.6 million. 64% of the retailers sampled in the study reported growth, with 24% seeing no change, and only 12% reporting a decrease in sales. The report reveals that independent retailers now account for 30% of the organic market, with sales exceeding £10 million a week for the first time. The Soil Association is launching a campaign to help and support independent retailers in the sale and marketing of organic produce – you can get involved by visiting, and find out more about the campaign in our interview with the Soil Association’s Lee Holdstock, here.

Support for Independent Retail campaign wants local councils to sign up

Support for Independent Retail campaign is calling for local councils and business groups to back independent retailers.

Figures released in March by bira and LDC showed that worryingly, after five consecutive years of growth, the number of independent retailers opening up shop in the UK is slowing from 4% growth in 2010 to just 0.3% in 2014.

Councils and Local Authorities can buy into a licence for the campaign to receive a full package of support and resources to help them promote, encourage and boost local independent businesses. If you want to get involved, you can team up with other local independent retailers and petition your local authority to buy a licence – or you can even get a group together to crowdfund a licence without involving the council at all.

To find out more, you can download a copy of the Support for Independent Retail campaign licensing brochure at www.independentretail.co.uk/licence

BioCare Awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise

BioCare Ltd, along with its parent NutraHealth Plc, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its outstanding achievement in the International Trade category.

James McEuen, Chief Executive, NutraHealth plc, (pictured) commented: “It is an honour and delight to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for outstanding achievement in International Trade for 2015. We have built a thriving Midlands-based healthcare business, employing over 400 people, proudly making and exporting the best of British.”

Window dressing!

Does your store have the best dressed windows? This summer it’s time to put your skills to the test. Organic pioneer Green People is launching a nationwide competition during June and July, challenging stores across the country to find the most novel and interesting ways to display its award-winning sun care range. There is a prize for the best window and in-store display, and one for the best gondola end.

The window display winner will receive £500 in vouchers and three goody bags worth £75 each, and the gondola end winner gets £200 in vouchers and goody bags worth £50.

There is a brand new sun stand, and to get this along with a PoS kit, speak to your Natural Trade Brokers representative or contact Green People directly by calling 01403 740350 or emailing organic@greenpeople.co.uk

HayMax celebrate ten years of trading

HayMax has launched a new giant box this year to mark its 10th anniversary. The box was designed by 11-year-old school girl, Skye, in a competition run by HayMax at the Allergy Show.

Marketing Manager Jasmine Wythe explains: “The idea was for the winner to see their design turned into a giant window display box for this year. Engagement was fantastic, so we will be rolling the idea out this year, making it available to all health stores.”

The giant boxes are just one of a series of promotional items, including posters, leaflets, shelf wobblers and barkers, and shelf and counter display units.

For more information contact HayMax on 01525 406600, info@haymax.biz and www.haymax.biz.

Export award for Natures Aid

Natures Aid won the International Achievement Award at the prestigious Red Rose Awards 2015, held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

Marketing Manager Chris Morrey said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won our first award for export, it’s recognition for everyone’s hard work at Natures Aid. We started to export the Natures Aid brand just over 3 years ago and the product has been received fantastically well all over the world and we love flying the flag for British manufacturing.”

Pictured, left to right, are: Darren Partington (Export Co-ordinator), Jasmine Coleman (Business Development Manager), Tim Gaunt (Technical Sales Manager), David Sole (Operations Executive), Chris Morrey (Marketing Manager), Les Nutter (Award Judge), David Lord (Sales Director), Lynn Lord (Managing Director)

Demand for Vegan trademark hits unprecedented levels

The Vegan trademark, a sunflower symbol accompanied by the word ‘vegan’, is an internationally-recognised standard for products that are, among other requirements, free of all animal ingredients and animal tested ingredients and processes. It is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“The level of demand for the Vegan Trademark has been quite simply unprecedented. Applications have roughly doubled over the last 12 months,’ said George Gill, The Vegan Society’s Business Development Manager. ‘There has been a shift in consumers really wanting to know what is in their products and where it has come from. They are increasingly seeking out compassionate choices, those which are environmentally friendly and better for their health.’

Advice and information on the Vegan trademark are available from www.vegansociety.com.

BigBarn launches mobile app

BigBarn's mission is to get people out of the supermarket and shopping locally.

The website provides a directory of local food suppliers, with the aim of diverting as much as possible of the £120billion spent with supermarkets, every year, to local communities with massive social benefits for all.

It does this by reconnecting consumers with their local producers/retailers of local food & drink and encourages trade and communication using its map, MarketPlace, partners, PR initiatives, social networking and SEO.

Now it has launched an app, to make it even easier for consumers to find local independent retailers. If you would like your store listed on the BigBarn website or app, visit www.bigbarn.co.uk

New look 9BAR provides ‘Good Energy Twice’

9BAR, the original mixed seed energy bar, has a new look and a powerful new aim to give ‘good energy twice’. That means providing good, natural super-seed energy to anyone who eats a 9BAR and also giving good, sustainable energy to families in Africa through teaming up with UK charity SolarAid.

The fresh face of 9BAR will be unveiled for the first time in mid-2015, rolling onto shelves from July.

The new-look bars with reduced sugar and reduced saturated fat include Original Lift, Carob Hit, Breakfast Boost and Cocoa Kick. Wholebake CEO Mark Gould commented: “Now, every 9BAR sold will provide natural, long-lasting energy for UK consumers and help provide safe, clean light in Africa. That’s our mission: Good Energy, Twice. Everyone can get involved, as we aim to make a real difference when we re-launch our much loved brand in 2015. We hope to show our retail customers exactly what we stand for as a brand as well as continuing to provide a high quality nutritious product that really does hit the spot.”

The brand has always supported good causes, and now it’s teamed up with UK charity SolarAid, which provides solar lights to those who need them most across Africa, with the eventual goal of eradicating dangerous, expensive and toxic kerosene lamps. The impact these solar lights have is astonishing: just one of them can save a family over £130, provide light for over 1,000 extra hours of study, and eliminate half a tonne of CO2 emissions and toxic fumes.

So every 9BAR sold will not only give long-lasting energy to consumers, it will also provide a night’s clean, sustainable energy for a child in Africa – “good energy, twice”.

Going vegan "gets sexy”

2015 is well and truly the year of the vegan. Europe's biggest vegan festival VegfestUK held at Brighton Centre announced a record attendance of 12,000 visitors on March 28th and 29th.

The organisers commented: “We're absolutely over the moon at the attendance figures of this year's Brighton event. It has always been our ultimate aim to convince the general public to go vegan through our events. In years gone by, our combination of food, comedy and music has worked a treat in making veganism more accessible to the public. Nowadays, however, going vegan has actually got really sexy, and we believe that there has never been a better time than right now to up our emphasis on vegan education and put out a consistent message to the public to go vegan.”

Amongst the new features at VegfestUK Brighton this year were a Global Food Sustainability Conference, at which a number of renowned speakers in the field addressed numerous tangible vegan solutions to the food sustainability problem. General Election year also called for a Party Political Conference at which the UK's major political parties presented their manifestos and engaged in debates on vegan issues. Along the sustainability thread was a Hemp Expo with industry leaders and notable hemp businesses presenting their expertise on hemp. Add these to the rich mélange of 15 specialist vegan caterers, nearly 200 stalls, dozens of talks and cookery demos, kids cookery classes, a cinema among many other activities, and visitors to the event have well and truly been armed with a wealth of knowledge on how to go and stay vegan.

More information about going vegan or convincing others to follow suit can be found at VegfestUK's three upcoming shows in 2015 – Bristol (May 23rd and 24th), London (October 10th and 11th) and Scotland (December 5th and 6th). Among the many highlights are brand-new vegan activists workshops and summits which provide tools and ideas for outreach. Dates for VegfestUK Brighton 2016 will be announced soon. Visit www.vegfest.co.uk for details.

Our survey said...

We asked our readers to tell us about themselves and their businesses, as well as what they think of our magazine in our recent Reader Survey, and this is what you told us...

Of our 8,438 readers every quarter, 75% are managers, 25% owners ­ 88% of you told us that you read the magazine either every issue, or regularly. BRM is kept for reference purposes by 64% of readers, while 56% either recycle the magazine or pass it on to a colleague to read.

You also told us that 81% of you are on Facebook, while 31% use Twitter or other social media.

As far as purchasing decisions are concerned, customer demand is a key influence ­ cited by 87.5% of survey respondents ­ followed by sales reps (56.25%), Better Retailing itself (50%), and wholesaler (37.5%).

The features that interest our readers most are: sales and marketing pages 94%, business development pages 88%, enhance efficiency 75%, retailers news and product research 75%, what's hot in store 75%, increase gross margin pages 69%, online and technology pages 69%.

And the winner is...
A big thank you is due to all of our readers who took part in the survey, in which we offered, courtesy of Global by Nature, £250 worth of stock. The lucky winner is Andrew Lowe, director of Health Emporium in Hitchin, Herts, who scooped £250 worth of Sunwarrior products for his store.

Dandelion's owners Kate Sawyer and Claire Bateman

Dandelion closes its doors

Dandelion, a familiar fixture in south-west London's Northcote Road for more than two decades, is closing its doors for the final time at the end of this month.

Owners since 2008, Kate Sawyer and Claire Bateman (pictured), announced on their website that the closure would take place on 30th April, citing the sale of the premises and increasing rents in the area, which leaves them with no options for a new store location.

Kate reported that Dandelion's closure will be a great loss to the local community, "particularly for those who frequent the deli, which provides fresh health-food from our on-site kitchen daily. So many patrons have responded to the news that Dandelion is closing with exclamations of: "But what will I eat for lunch?!" and "How will I survive without the lasagne!?" that we feel it is only fair to the share the secrets of our food, just in case we don't find another venue to produce our food for some time."

Kate has worked in the kitchen at Dandelion since 2004, during which time she has created and developed all their recipes (now totalling more than 300) with a host of great chefs that have worked at Dandelion over the last decade. For the last few years she has been putting together the cookbook in the hope of publishing it. But it is no easy task to write up recipes that were designed to feed up to 40 people and adapt the quantities to suit preparation for four.

A kickstarter has been launched for The Dandelion Cookbook which, if successful, will enable Kate to adapt the recipes, complete the nutritional advice and stories attached to each recipe, produce some attractive pictures and publish the book in an attractive hard-copy format.

For more information, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1182267567/the-dandelion-cookbook

A photo of Ben Brown

Viridian announce seminar tour

Viridian Nutrition are embarking on a seminar tour this May, starting in London on 13 May, and moving on to Manchester on 19 May, Glasgow on 3 June and Dublin 24 June.

The seminars will be run by Ben Brown, technical director at Viridian (pictured right) and author of The Digestive Health Solution. The topic will be the importance of nutrition for mental health, and the seminars will explore the latest nutritional research for a healthy brain with cutting-edge practical solutions, and how you can use the power of nutrients and food-as-medicine to help your customers towards enhanced brain health.

Each attendee will receive food and refreshments, product samples, seminar notes, extensive background information and a valuable educational opportunity.

To reserve your place please email technical@viridian-nutrition.com or call on 01327 878050

A photo of Adrian Ling of Plamil

Plamil awarded the highest ethical rating again

A report published in Ethical Consumer magazine into UK chocolate brands has given Plamil the highest possible ethical rating, based on issues including the treatment of animals, the environment, the company’s attitude to people and sustainability.

“We have always been proud of our ethical stance at Plamil,” says Adrian Ling, MD of Plamil. “We understand our obligations to the environment, our customers and the people involved in the production of our products and the ingredients that go into them.

“Plamil Foods Ltd has worked for over fifty years to promote the welfare of humans, animals and the environment, striving to ensure a fair society with compassion for living creatures and a reduction of the environmental impact of our activities.”

Get set for VegFest Brighton!

VegfestUK Brighton takes place on 28-29 March at the Brighton Centre, and features a variety of activities with an eco-friendly theme, including a Party Political Conference on the Saturday, with major political parties giving their manifestos on green issues, a Global Food Sustainability Conference on the Sunday, a Hemp Expo, the UK’s first Vegan Comedy Festival, plus dozens of talks and cookery demos, a Cinema, a Kid’s Area and lots of live music. There will also be 150 stalls offering food, bodycare, gifts, clothes, accessories and campaigning groups information and merchandise.

Tickets to the event are available in advance at £5 per day and £8 for the whole weekend at brighton.vegfest.co.uk/admission with ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ offers running until 21 March. Visit vegfest.co.uk for details of VegfestUK's other two shows in Bristol (23- 24 May) and London (10-11 October).

A photo of some vegetables

The 2015 FreeFrom Food Awards shortlist is out!

The shortlist for the 2015 FreeFrom Food Awards is now out! From grain-free granolas to mail-order wheatgrass shots, ‘freefrom’ manufacturers have been strutting their stuff at the judging sessions for this year’s awards with an array of gluten-, wheat-, dairy-, soya-, nut-, egg and corn-free as well as no-added-sugar offerings.

After two weeks of heavy-duty tasting, the FreeFrom Food Awards judges have chosen nearly 270 products to shortlist. “With entries up by nearly 30% this year our 65 judges really had their work cut out,” says Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, director of the FreeFrom Awards. “But, with their usual expertise they managed to tease out the really exciting products that are currently pushing the boundaries of what you can successfully make ‘freefrom’.”

The winners of the awards will be announced on 22 April at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Attendance at the event is by invitation only. To see the full shortlist, visit www.freefromawards.co.uk.

A photo of Natural and Organic Products Europe

Essential diary date

Natural & Organic Products Europe is a once-a-year chance for the movers and shakers in the natural products industry to get together, demonstrate their new products and ideas, and exchange news and opinions about the latest industry trends. For retailers and business owners, it’s an opportunity to communicate with peers, meet suppliers, and see, feel and taste the latest new products for themselves.

This year, the natural products industry’s annual exhibition is taking place at the new venue of ExCeL London on 19-20 April, and will feature an unprecedented 600 exhibitors showcasing thousands of natural and organic brands – including supplements, botanicals, superfoods, THR mark herbal medicines, homeopathic remedies, personal care and beauty, eco-household, and food and drink.

Find out more here...

A photo of Protexin staff

Protexin probiotics significantly reduce childhood constipation

A newly published trial has revealed that the seven-strain probiotic mixture in Bio-Kult Infantis could significantly reduce symptoms of chronic functional constipation, without any reported side effects. The study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective parallel arm study in 56 children aged between four and 12 years diagnosed with chronic constipation.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive lactulose + probiotic or lactulose + placebo for four weeks. The study assessed changes in stool frequency, consistency, abdominal pain and adverse events. After one week improvements were seen in both consistency and frequency of stool in both groups. However the improvement was statistically greater in the probiotic group and this was maintained through to four weeks of treatment for both frequency and consistency of stool. Improvements were also seen in abdominal pain and faecal incontinence. This study provides evidence that the seven strain probiotic mixture used can help to improve stool frequency, stool consistency, abdominal pain and faecal incontinence in children with chronic constipation.

www.protexin.com

New ad campaign for Essential

The Essential brand has unveiled its new ‘Pure as Heaven’ communications campaign for 2015. “We are passionate about nutrition, flavour, naturalness, whether an ingredient is ethically sourced and sustainably produced,” says Eli Sarre, marketing manager at Essential. “This ethos is reflected in our new message. The emphasis at Essential is on pure, healthy food and ethically assured fairly-traded products you can trust. Our priority is authentic, top quality ingredients, packed with goodness and bursting with flavour.”

Essential Trading wholesales, manufactures and distributes organic wholefood across the UK and beyond. The business specialises in ethically produced, vegetarian, organic and Fairtrade food sourced from all corners of the globe. From the pickers to the packers, the chain of supply is carefully scrutinised. Essential prides itself on successfully bringing ethical alternatives and Fairtrade products to the marketplace and has gained full organic and Fairtrade accreditation to pack commodities in their purpose-built facility in Bristol.

www.essential-trading.coop

A photo of some bilberries

Bilberries can help tackle the effects of a high-fat diet

Eating bilberries diminishes the adverse effects of a high-fat diet, according to a recent study at the University of Eastern Finland, published in PLOS ONE.

Bilberries were shown to have beneficial effects on both blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses. The study focused on the health effects of bilberries on mice that were fed a high-fat diet for a period of three months.

Some of the mice were fed either 5% or 10% of freeze-dried bilberries in the diet. The researchers assessed the effects of the diets by looking at inflammatory cell and cytokine levels, systolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and weight gain.

Mice on the high-fat diet experienced significant weight gain and detrimental changes in glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation factors and blood pressure. Bilberries diminished the pro-inflammatory effects of the high-fat diet, and also prevented elevated blood pressure. The beneficial health effects of bilberries are thought to be explained by polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, the levels of which are significantly higher in bilberries than in commercially cultivated blueberries.

A woman holding her stomach

Help your customers beat the bloat this Easter

During the Easter holidays we are inclined to eat more sugary, fatty and rich foods – with research suggesting that the average adult ploughs their way through 6,000 calories on Easter Sunday alone. It therefore comes as no surprise that many people suffer from digestive issues - such as indigestion, bloating and wind- at this time of year.

Don’t miss the opportunity to increase sales from probiotics

Read on...

The Your Healthy Living Awards logo

Your customers have their say

The Your Healthy Living 2014 awards are the ideal barometer of what’s selling in-store. We name the winners in this leading consumer awards programme...

Our sister publication Your Healthy Living, the leading consumer natural health magazine available free to your customers each month, has been counting the votes for its 2014 Awards.

The massive response shows which products have won the hearts of consumers over the past year and we’re delighted to help pin the winners’ rosettes to some deserving lapels!

Voted for by YHL readers in their thousands, these are the products that adorn your shelves and have been highlighted in the magazine during the year. YHL readers pick up their free copy to read about the products you sell, and they’re no slouches when it comes to having their say.

Read about the winners in this leading consumer awards programme

A woman holding an apple

Natural equals healthy, says UK public

'Natural' is most closely associated in the public mind with health, according to recent research.

Against a background of more people overeating and being classed as obese, food and drink research specialists MMR Research Worldwide engaged 3,100 consumers to determine their attitudes and behaviour toward food categories.

The research revealed that ‘natural’ was most closely associated of all the categories with a strong health profile. In addition, the five categories perceived as most natural were also considered the healthiest; bread, baked beans, fruit juice and smoothies, breakfast cereal and yogurt.

The survey results showed that consumers are more convinced by the health credentials of products when the health property (such as natural, protein, fibre) is intrinsic to that product. So healthy was not associated with the reduction or removal of a property from food i.e. reduced salt, low fat.

Andy Wardlaw, MMR Research's insight director said: “The reduced calorie message is often overused. Consumers mostly define natural by what isn’t in the product, ‘no additives’, ‘no colours’, ‘no preservatives’, ‘no e-numbers’, ‘no chemicals’ and ‘no artificial flavours’. Categories that are perceived as more natural or naturally higher in protein or fibre are also perceived to be more healthy.”

The research team divided the sample into five attitudes and behaviour groups. They were: healthy (22%), believes in simple health messages, natural food and exercise; on a mission (22%), driven to improve health, sceptical of health messaging and least likely to drink, smoke and eat out; hedonist (6%),: smokes, drinks and eats out, no interest in GDAs, ingredients and health; armchairworrier (18%), propensity to worry about health issues, but unlikely to exercise and have only lukewarm commitment to diet related health efforts and apathetic (12%), no interest in health or health messaging.

From these five groups, it can be deemed that 62% of the population are health aware; only two segments (44%) are health aware and motivated to eat healthily.

“Our attitudes toward healthy eating are not based on ignorance, it’s all down to motivation. Over half of the population is suffering from health message fatigue. They are fed up of hearing that one week red wine is good for you and the next week not. We have hours of interviews reflecting a mix of laziness, lack of willpower and people just making the decision to go about their diet in their own way,” said Wardlaw.

Hi Europe reflects growth in health and wellness products

Amsterdam became the hotspot of the global health and natural ingredients industry, when visitors converged on Hi Europe (2-4 December), showcasing the latest trends and innovations from the food and beverage industry. Exhibitors from all over the world presented their latest innovations and product lines, giving visitors the opportunity to gain invaluable industry knowledge across a wide range of conference modules, exhibitor product showcase, seminars on product innovation and industry insight sessions, and a host of other features and educational opportunities. For all industry experts, Hi Europe has proved to be the most important platform to meet the right suppliers of health and natural ingredients, network with senior decision makers, and keep up to date with the latest market developments and trends.

According to a current study by Euromonitor International, the worldwide market for health ingredients has grown by 6.75% between 2013 and 2014. This shows that products with health and wellness benefits are in higher demand than traditional food products. Until now, healthy and natural alternatives accounted for about 21% of all packaged foods; however, it is predicted that this number will grow by 31% between 2014 and 2019. For example, healthy beverages are actually slowly overtaking from energy drinks on the worldwide market, as consumers are opting for more healthy options, for example health and natural tea varieties. The market of healthy beverages is expected to grow by US$14.5 billion from 2014 to 2019, which is US$2 billion more than the current market value of Energy Drinks.

Euromonitor have also noted another major trend in the beverage industry - milk-based formula drinks. This is a category said to increase by US$4.3 billion in 2014. Another booming section is allergen-free products. On top of the list is gluten-free baked goods, which are expected to grow by 16% by the end of 2014 and are ranked third in healthy foods that are showing continuous growth. Ewa Hudson, Global Head of Health and Wellness Research at Euromonitor International, states: "It is particularly interesting to observe the emerging markets. Between 2009 and 2014 they contributed 87% to the growth of the health and wellness industry in the world, and were also responsible for 60% of the sales of these products".

Secrets revealed – HFI embraces our top shop search!

The Health Food Institute’s annual awards lunch this Spring will include an additional award when the winner of Better Retailing’s popular Secret Shopper feature is announced.

We’ve been visiting natural health stores across the UK and Ireland with reports in the magazine and online every month throughout the year.

Now the HFI has recognised the success of this programme and will accolade the winning store’s owner at the annual awards lunch on February 19.

“We acknowledge the value of highlighting a shop which is really offering its customers the highest possible standard in health food retailing,” said HFI director Ray Hill.

Twelve health stores from Scotland to Ireland to the south of England have been visited by our Secret Shopper during 2014, each marked for location, layout and personal service.

Last year’s winner was Mishal Qadri’s Health Zone in Wimbledon.

IAHS members lobbying the Finance Minister's private secretary

Kevin and Finn at Ireland's corridors of power

Two of Ireland's top retailers played their part in the Irish Association of Health Stores' fight to keep vital natural health products free of VAT charges.

IAHS chair, Kevin Connolly (left) of The Healthy Living Centre, Athy, and board member Finn Murray (right) of Dublin's The Hopsack, are pictured after lobbying the Finance Minister's private secretary.

The industry is still in the dark on the subject of non-food VAT but the hope is that herbal teas will be exempted.

Al Overton of Planet Organic

Claims snitches on the prowl

We’re big fans of the Ask For Evidence campaign as it helps consumers see the true benefits of natural products.

And as Planet Organic discovered, it also helps to keep product literature up to date.

Ask For Evidence has been proudly telling everyone how a consumer took Planet to task about a claim that wheatgrass could remove toxins from the blood stream and as a result "the claim was removed from all the companies [sic] promotional material".

What they should have said was that one long-forgotten leaflet was removed from the back of a display holder and consigned to the bin.

Planet’s senior buyer Al Overton (pictured) explained: “Some time ago we had a section of customer information leaflets about gluten free foods, biodynamic wine, wheat grass juice etc. Some of these were quite historical and went back to the early days of Planet Organic, and had not been reviewed for quite some time.

“We were contacted by a customer requesting references to back up the claim that is mentioned, at which point obviously we realised that this claim was no longer allowable under newer health claims legislation, and while it may be an accepted concept within naturopathic circles it was not easily justifiable from a purely scientific point of view. We rewrote the leaflet and replied as such to the customer.”

Could be a good time to check any health claims in your promotional material because teacher’s pet is sure to come calling!

Members of Whole Food Action demonstrating

Sowing the seeds of action

Members of Whole Food Action, the growing network of like-minded health stores, are pictured at the House of Commons during Great Seed Festival in London.

Representatives from stores including Food For All (London), Eighth Day (Manchester) and Sound Bites (Derby) displayed the GMO OMG banner and are now looking for more regional partners in the UK.

The Group is asking members to help support action on palm oil including new labelling regulations. To join, look for Whole Food Action on Facebook.

Evergreen staff

Evergreen supports Breast Cancer Research

Ireland’s progressive Evergreen group of stores hosted a Natural Beauty & Skincare event as part of its ‘Go Pink for Breast Cancer Research’ initiative.

Supporting the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) during October’s breast cancer awareness month, the event showcased some of the world’s leading natural skincare and make-up brands including Trilogy, Seavite, Weleda, Burt’s Bees, Nia, Viridian and Udo's Choice.

Guests paying €25 received the ultimate Evergreen goody bag of natural skincare and beauty products worth more than €120.

ASA ruling spurs BetterYou

BetterYou’s transdermal magnesium products have received an inspirational boost from an unlikely corner.

An Advertising Standards Authority ruling that there was insufficient evidence behind the delivery system has spurred on founder Andy Thomas who is expecting fresh evidence from a hospital study.

The ASA ruling said there was not enough clinical evidence to support the claim that magnesium ions can be absorbed through the skin, despite an in vitro trial by Dr Heard and his team at Cardiff University and nine case studies provided by Watkins and Josling.

“The ruling required a trial or proof of concept undertaken within a medical or clinical environment and as the Northwick Park Hospital study has not yet commenced it is deemed that there is insufficient evidence to support the claim based upon ASA criteria,” said Thomas.

The Northwick Park Hospital trial has received ethics approval and is currently recruiting from its pool of gastrointestinal patients. The study, requested by Dr Nightingale and his team at the hospital, aims to test the effects of transdermal magnesium supplementation on patients with short bowel and stomas, all of whom require magnesium supplementation via IV or sub-cutaneous injections.

“This is an incredibly exciting study for all concerned and we are confident that the ruling will be reviewed and reversed once the new evidence has been submitted,” added Thomas. “Unfortunately this is simply the problem inherent in being at the forefront of innovation. No one else is working within this area so evidential support can only come at the pace we are able to provide it.”

www.betteryou.com

Vitamin D and prostate cancer

Following the sudden death of her father Alvin Stardust, a Movember site was set up by Holistic Directory Founder Sophie Jewry in his memory.

Stardust passed away after suffering from prostrate cancer. Sophie’s passion for complementary therapy has been motivated further since his death. She highlights a vitamin D study showing that men with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were half as likely to develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer as those with lower amounts.

www.theholisticdirectory.co.uk

Toiletries must rise to the organic challenge

With mainstream cosmetics and toiletries companies trying to hijack the organic sector with isolated “hero” products, a new report reveals that 90% of consumers have concerns about synthetic chemicals in their purchases.

According to the report by Organic Monitor (www.organicmonitor.com) almost two thirds of buyers stated parabens were the specific chemicals they want to avoid.

Compared to the previous study in 2007, awareness of synthetic chemicals has increased significantly – 19% of buyers wished to avoid phthalates and lanolin, compared to just three per cent in 2007.

All consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay extra for certified products with 72% stating they would pay up to 20% more for them. Just 12% of buyers would be willing to pay a premium above 30%.

New research commissioned by NATRUE, ‘Exploring the Territory of Natural and Organic Cosmetics’, highlights what consumers expect, what drives their purchasing decisions and what they understand about the products. The research was presented at the European Parliament in Brussels in November. 

‘True Organics’ – page 22.

Two generations - Hannah Marriage with father George

Celebrating a long Marriage

Essex-based W & H Marriage & Sons Ltd is celebrating 190 years as a family-run flour milling company.

Marriage’s has rebranded and extended its award-winning home baking flour range now rolling out to health food wholesalers nationwide.

Hannah Marriage, director and sixth generation family member (pictured with her father George), says: “Marriage & Sons was founded in 1824 by my great, great, great grandfather William Marriage and his twin brother Henry.

“Almost two centuries on, we’re excited to unveil our new packaging which we feel conveys Marriage’s premium positioning and long milling heritage, and has real shelf appeal.”

www.flour.co.uk

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In your own time

The team at Bare Health, Congleton, are full of praise for Solgar’s new e-Learning programme.

“Regular training keeps us all up to date with latest developments and is a great way to expand education and product knowledge,” says Mel Ball, who runs Bare Health with her mother, Sue.

“It also instils greater confidence when selling and with that comes increased sales. The only commitment is dedicating a little time. [Solgar e-Learning] is easy to use and is a free service that we can all use to our advantage on a number of levels.”

What’s your training experience? Contact the editor alistair@jfnproductions.co.uk

Winter wellness not to be sneezed at

Leading probiotics brand Bio-Kult is raising awareness of how friendly bacteria can help boost the immune system in winter months.

A ‘Winter Wellness’ campaign is in full swing with educational marketing material including posters and leaflets.

What’s more, a team of qualified nutritional therapists is available for specific staff training and themed in-store events to educate customers.

Beneficial bacteria play an essential role by supporting efficient digestive function and immunity.

“Up to 70% of our immune cells are located in the gut,” says Bio-Kult nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb. “Our good gut bacteria could be compromised if busy fighting bugs, by antibiotic therapy, travel, stress, excess alcohol or a period of inadequate nutrition, which is quite common during the winter party season.” 

The campaign runs until February 2015. To call in the cavalry contact your Bio-Kult territory manager or email info@bio-kult.com

Retailers meet Suppliers at Tree Time 2014

Tree Time 2014

Tree Time, the premier annual trade "customer meets supplier" event north of London took place on September 21 at wholesaler distributor Tree of Life's Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire head office.

Well-known industry brands including Ecozone, Rabenhorst, Kallo Foods, Lucy Bee, Clipper, Biona, Meridian, Clearspring, Granovita, Weleda, Vitabiotics, Comvita, Yogi Tea and Linwoods were present and in addition to the chance to network with other retailers and meet the people behind the brands, there were more than 1,500 show-only deals available, courtesy of the suppliers.

The New Product Showcase was a chance for retailers to vote for their favourite new product launched between August and October 2014 from any of the exhibiting brands. Faith in Nature's Gift Packs scooped the award, with Fleur Richardson of Natural Foods, Llanidloes, Powys, winning the entire showcase contents.

Winners of the Anagram Game were Mandi and Peter Thomas from Living Well in Milnthorpe, Cumbria, who won a Kindle Fire. All retailers were entered into a draw for the chance to do a trolley dash in the warehouse – lucky winner was Naomi Ocean from Prince and Pugh, Powys, who won stock at £427.14 retail value.

A photo showing Symprove's new packaging

The probiotic that arrives, survives and thrives

Two separate scientific trials on probiotics have given a boost to Symprove in results released this week.

UCL School of Pharmacy's Dr Simon Gainsford conducted a test to find out three things: did the probiotics tested arrive in the gut in the numbers promised on the label; did they survive in the stomach; and did they thrive in the gut. Symprove passed all three tests with flying colours.

In a separate study, Dr Guy Sissons at King's College carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial featuring 186 IBS sufferers. Once again, Symprove was shown to give proven effects on pain, bloating and general IBS symptoms.

Symprove has been rebranded, with new packaging and a loyalty scheme offering free four packs when customers purchase eight packs, making the 12-week course more affordable and encouraging customers to complete the course.

For more information, visit www.symprove.com

A photo of Sarah Gass and the juice named after her

Juice competition is a gas for Sarah!

There's PR potential in juicing - Bridges café in Cambridge ran a local competition as part of Independent Retailer Month and scooped great media coverage when local radio broadcasters entered into the spirit with a judging bash.

Pictured (right) is the winner, Sarah Gass, who named her pineapple, spinach, apple and banana juice "Alien Wonders" and won lunch on Bridges with the juice named after her.

VegFest London

Vegans and vegetarians are heading to London Olympia on September 27 and 28 for VegFest, which features cookery demonstrations, talks on nutrition and lifestyle, and celebrity guests. More than 200 stalls will provide the goodies.
london.vegfest.co.uk.

A photo of some coconuts

WebMD goes coconuts

The world’s most visited health website, WebMD, has opened the door to the benefits of coconut oil. The pro-pharma site has listed coconut oil in its VMS section but warns that it may increase cholesterol levels while admitting the evidence shows the opposite.

And UK supplier Tiana hopes the medical profession will now take note especially as anecdotal evidence and new trials for its effect on Alzheimer’s are gathering pace.

“Consumers are looking for coconut oil to help improve memory, often relating to the effects of Alzheimer’s,” said Tiana director Tanya Harris. “There is no treatment that will stop Alzheimer’s but studies have shown that medium chain fatty acids found in raw virgin coconut oil can be used to help with the symptoms of such health issues.”

Meanwhile, Tiana has acquired a second production unit at its London facility as part of an investment programme to increase production as well as sales, marketing and a number of new appointments.

Tiana has also won Great Taste awards for its Organic Exquisite Omega 3 Spreadable and Raw Organic Coconut Goodness, judged by food critics, chefs and food industry specialists.

Hair today

Pharma Medico, supplier of the Nourkrin range of natural hair and scalp supplements, has moved to a larger warehouse and plans for five new additions to the range.
www.nourkrin.co.uk

A photo of some members of Whole Food Action

Swinging into Action!

Pictured after planning their Autumn campaign are 17 staff from seven health and wholefood shops around the country who are now part of Whole Food Action. WFA was founded by Sound Bites in Derby and Unicorn, Manchester, to promote a fairer, more sustainable food system and support each other with retail issues.

Back row L-R: Sebastian, Food For All, London; Stuart, Wild Thyme, Portsmouth; Graham, Sound Bites; Craig, Lembas, Sheffield; Federico, Food For All, London. Middle L-R: Helga, True Food, Reading; Helen, True Food; Ruth, Kirby and Ali, Sound Bites; Jen and Helen, Eighth Day, Manchester; Cat, Unicorn, Manchester. Front L-R: Vanessa, Sound Bites; Dorrie, Eighth Day; Paola, Food For All. The picture was taken by Debbie from Unicorn.

To join, search Whole Food Action on Facebook.

Weleda hat-trick

Weleda won three awards in the Green Parent Natural Beauty Guide 2014, published in Green Parent magazine. Oat Replenishing Treatment won gold in the Hair Treat category, Baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash scooped bronze in the Children’s Shampoo category, and Calendula Toothpaste also won bronze in the Toothpaste category.

A photo of the interior of Planet Organic

New skincare range lands at Planet Organic

Planet Organic’s six London stores were doing what they do best this summer with the launch of a new skincare range from The Natural Skincare Company. The Moana range went down a storm with demonstrations and training for the public as well as the staff.

Scarlett Knight, Health & Bodycare Buyer at Planet Organic, said: “It’s been fantastic to have skincare experts from The Natural Skincare Co to talk to our customers and give the Moana range such a great start in our stores.

“Regulars and new customers alike just love the personal touch and actual demonstrations of good quality products.” Moana is the first organic line to offer high concentration marine glycans from natural sources.
www.thenaturalskincarecompany.co.uk

New allergens labelling

Health stores that provide loose (nonprepacked) foods must now declare the inclusion of any one of the 14 allergens to customers. This can be done in a variety of ways such as on menus and chalkboards, clear signposting to where the information can be obtained or through oral communication. FSA guidance notes via www.food.gov.uk

A photo of a baby with colic

Colic – gut feelings confirmed

A seven-strain probiotic and prebiotic mixture could significantly improve symptoms in infants suffering from colic without any reported side effects, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, involved infants aged two weeks to four months who had been diagnosed with colic. The infants were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or the probiotic for 30 days.

Infants who took the probiotic – the same as found in new Bio-Kult Infantis – saw a significant improvement in symptoms for more than 80% and in some cases (40%) these were completely resolved.
www.protexin.com

Magnesium’s role in migraine highlighted

Magnesium was being promoted as part of the solution for beating migraines during Migraine Action’s national awareness week in September.

Health pioneer BetterYou was working with the charity to show how the mineral could help reduce symptoms for thousands of migraine sufferers.

A poll carried out by the two migraine sufferers who regularly use magnesium, two-thirds say it has eased their symptoms slightly or significantly, or even eliminated their migraines altogether.

An estimated eight million Brits suffer from debilitating migraines with employers and schools losing more than 25 million days in sickness absence each year.

Studies consistently indicate that magnesium is deficient in people with migraine and other types of headache, and that treating the deficiency alleviates the headache. A study by Dr Alexander Mauskop, director of the New York Headache Center, found that in a group of 3,000 patients given 200mg of magnesium daily, 80% had a reduction in their migraine symptoms.
Betteryou.com

A photo at the 2013 Tree Time

Tree Time 2014

Tree of Life has been running its successful ‘Tree Time’ Customer- Meets-Supplier day since 2008 and it has developed into the industry's must-attend event, becoming the channel’s largest trade show north of London.

This year’s Tree Time show takes place on Sunday September 21 at Tree of Life’s Head Office in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

The show is the perfect opportunity for retailers to network with each other and meet the suppliers of the biggest and best brands. Everyone is made welcome at Tree Time, retailers can even bring along the family for a busy, fun-packed day filled with sampling, the year’s best deals, prizes, giveaways, free lunch and even entertainment for the kids!

Find out more here

A photo of Essential Trading's new branding

Essential Trading Open Day Sunday 14 September 2014

This year's Essential Trading Open Day will take place on Sunday 14 September from 11am-5pm, as part of their Organic September celebrations.

This will include the unveiling of their exciting and colourful product re-branding, reflecting the company's passionate attitude and ‘consciously different’ ethos.  They will also be showcasing some festive fare and colourful new Christmas gifts.

To celebrate Organic September, there will be some exclusive discounts and offers as well as the chance to sample some exciting new products, enjoy some Fairtrade favourites, and meet the people behind the brands.

Plus of course you can expect:

  • Inspiring guest speakers giving informative talks on the latest hot topics
  • An easy, relaxed Sunday atmosphere (family members are very welcome)
  • A fabulous spread of delicious organic and vegetarian food
  • Entertainment for young and old, including a children’s area.

In true celebratory style, you will leave with a party bag of goodies to take home and enjoy.

To find out more, including event registration and directions, please see the Essential Trading website here.

A photo of a bitter orange and a tomato

The fruits of new research

A bitter orange from Italy and a tomato extract hold crucial secrets that could help keep heart disease at bay.

A Cambridge University trial studying the results of a lycopene supplement in 72 adults revealed clear improvements in the functioning of blood vessels.

The antioxidant trial was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research.

“This is conclusive evidence that tomato lycopene can help reduce the risk of heart disease, even in people who already have heart-related issues and are on medication,” said Dimitrina Tsareva of Vita Healthcare, which produces the lycopene supplement Lyc-O-Mato.

Meanwhile, further new research reveals that a Bergamot orange extract could reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes by lowering levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol while raising those of ‘good’ cholesterol.

Find out more here

WFM price matching woes?

A report in The Grocer reveals that Whole Foods Market has launched a price-match scheme, benchmarking its prices against Waitrose.

The move has a hint of desperation following expansion in Cheltenham, London and Glasgow and failure in Bristol.

Mike Abrahams, whose store Wild Oats in Bristol thrived while WFM struggled, had encouraging words for smaller retailers facing price-match competition.

“Matching Waitrose isn't a massive problem as they do tend to command premium prices,” he said. “Our policy is to hold our premium position (in the face of competition), while carefully staging regular KVIs and monthly promotions.

“I feel that to descend to a cut-price market place would just increase the competition and reduce our income, whereas, although limited, the premium market is more selective and, apparently, buoyant.”

D is for diabetes

Half of all diabetes sufferers could boost energy levels and lessen fatigue within a month of taking a daily vitamin D supplement.

A pilot study by vitamin supplier BetterYou found three-quarters of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes sufferers noticed an improvement in their symptoms after taking a vitamin D oral spray.

Just over half of sufferers reported an increase in energy levels, with 48% reporting lower fatigue, better moods (43%) and reduced joint pain (29%).

Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency and diabetes are linked.
www.betteryou.uk.com

A photo of crowds at Natural Products Europe 2013

A bumper send-off for Olympia 2014

To say Natural & Organics Europe has had a good run at Olympia is a mighty understatement. The show’s ever growing visitor base increased to 8,810 in 2013. For this current show, organisers Diversified Business Communications have expanded exhibition space by 11% to fill the entire Grand Hall.

So what is there this year to tempt the independent retailer that could make their visiting costs worth their weight in gold?

Find out more here

A photo of olives and olive leaves

Olive leaf and diabetes

A clinical trial has shown that fresh olive leaf extract, a natural remedy available to buy on the high street, could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 15%.

Conducted by The University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute, the study demonstrated that fresh olive leaf extract helped control high blood sugar levels in overweight men at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The high levels of polyphenols present in olive leaves, which are preserved when the fresh leaves are pressed, supported a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity, which is comparable to the prescription diabetes treatment drug, metformin. In addition, the fresh olive leaf also improved insulin secretion, which metformin doesn’t do.

Improved insulin sensitivity and secretion is important in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, because of the hormone’s significant role in helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Results were seen after only 12 weeks and participants reported no adverse side effects.

The fresh olive leaf used in the study was supplied by Comvita.
www.comvita.co.uk

A photo of Professor Bjarnason

A good year for gut health

The same King’s College Hospital research team that ran the highly successful IBS trial is now at midpoint in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial to show the effect of a probiotic on a similar disease, Diverticulitis.

Led by Professor Ingvar Bjarnason (pictured) and using the probiotic culture Symprove, expectations are that the results will be as positive as the IBS trial announced in 2012. The Diverticular Disease trial results are due at the end of the year.

Prof. Bjarnason told Better Retailing that his team has almost completed a trial in Ulcerative colitis involving 74 patients with results due in early summer.
www.symprovebioscience.com

Pycnogenol and period pain

A study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health found that Pycnogenol significantly minimises pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis and may help eliminate painful periods when paired with oral contraceptives.

Researchers treated and monitored 45 patients of reproductive age, randomly selected to one of four treatment groups and evaluated over three months.

Two different types of oral contraceptives were evaluated on their own and in combination with Pycnogenol, which significantly increased the efficacy of oral contraceptives for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain.
www.Pycnogenol.com

Cranberry and UTIs

New research published in the American Journal of Geriatrics shows that over 25% of bladder infections (cystitis) can be reduced with the regular use of cranberry concentrate supplements in vulnerable older people at high risk of urinary tract infections.

The Public Health and Primary Care (PHEG) department of the Leiden University Medical Centre conducted the one-year study in 21 Dutch nursing homes in co-operation with Springfield Nutraceuticals, which supplied Cranaxil cranberry concentrate 500mg. Over 20% of these high-risk elderly did not develop any UTIs at all when taking the cranberry capsule.
www.springfieldnutra.com

Read more news in the latest issue of Better Retailing