There's a portentous news article on Page 8 of this week's SN. It cites the prediction that in the next five years or so, as much as 15% of all grocery product sold in conventional supermarkets will be natural and organic product.
That would represent quite an increase, given that less than a decade ago such product constituted just 1.2% of product sold. Today, it's about 6.4%. Connect the dots, and you'll see a line that's pointing straight up.
Predictions such as that were backed by a large-scale consumer study commissioned earlier this year by SN. Results of the study, published in the March 1, 2004, issue, show that 61% of food shoppers say they purchase natural and organic product in supermarkets. The reverse side of that is that nearly 40% of shoppers remain to patronize such product, if they're given a chance.
It was with thoughts such as these in mind that SN's editors have been working in recent weeks on the inaugural issue of the new publication you'll find bagged with this week's SN. It's SN Whole Health, which will publish four times a year starting in 2005.
Let's take a look at WH, and at the intent behind it, starting with its mission statement: "SN Whole Health is first in supermarket retail for comprehensive business coverage of the categories devoted to health and wellness." (See the WH table of contents on its Page 3.)
So that's it in a nutshell. WH is intended to examine the supermarket-business side of product that's variously called natural or organic, or product that has a health and wellness dimension. How that intent is addressed in the current issue of WH, and will be in those to follow, can be seen by taking a look at the type of information it contains.
Let's look closer: News pages come first and include articles like increased competition faced by organic farmers, new labels being launched, and the growth of organic pet food. Trends pages come next, with articles about fair trade coffee, health claims for omega-3, and a gluten-free bakery. A consumer focus follows, which offers findings about what directions consumers are going with regard to relevant product. Next is the cover story about the fastest-growing element of the natural and organic category: beef. That feature profiles what's happening at Marsh Supermarkets. Farther back in the publication is another store feature based on King Soopers and its response to vertical natural and organic stores. Following the Marsh feature is a category report about the growth of healthy grab-and-go items, then a feature about supermarket pharmacies. Finally, the publication is rounded off with articles about supply, logistics and technology considerations, together with a products review, a guest column and quite a bit more.
SN editors hope you'll find much of value in WH, and look forward to bringing it to you again next year. We welcome your comments about the publication, which can be directed to me or the editor identified on WH's Page 3.