Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 28

HEALTH FOOD & ORGANICS

brand organic line in its IGA supermarkets
across Canada.
Sobeys' efforts are part of a larger North
American trend of big companies introducing their own organic lines, or buying out
smaller health food companies. Food giant
Kellogg bought organic cereal-maker Kashi
in 2001, for example, while Walmart is the
nation's second largest health product retailer. As a result, it's often difficult now to
determine who is still independent.
Big business foray into organics brings
mixed results at the retail level, says Ryan
Dennis, Director of Communications at Nature's Emporium, an Ontario retailer with
two locations. "As a result of the big box
stores carrying organics and health products, they're now hitting the mainstream
more than ever. The more people who are exposed to NHP the better. It's creating a lot of
opportunities for growth and expansion. We
differentiate ourselves from these big stores
by offering the extra level of education and
information that people often want."

er costs than they might as individuals, share marketing for
greater reach, and harness collective wisdom to help offset
the strengths of the big-box stores.
Some industry purists may yearn for the good old days, but
there are huge opportunities ahead in this still-growing industry.
"There are some studies that suggest about 50 per cent of
Canadians use NHP regularly. The actual number of consumers who regularly and purposefully buy organic is about 2 per
cent. The other 48 per cent are buying organic by accident, like
when someone buys soy milk, for example. What this means
is there is still tremendous room for growth," says Lalonde.
Though these numbers are promising, Lalonde believes the
far more relevant and encouraging statistic is that 77 per cent
of Canadians agree that NHPs can promote good health.
As the Canadian population ages and begin to look for
ways to improve the quality of their lives, the demand for
supplements and alternative means of wellness will only increase. That's good news for independent retailers of NHPs
"Natural health retailers are the best places to buy supplements because we have greater variety and choice than pharmacies and mass retailers. More importantly, we also have
better informed sales staff to help consumers choose the
right products for them. It's about providing the education to
make informed choices. We have nutritionists and herbalists,

"There are some studies that suggest about 50 per cent of Canadians use NHP
regularly. The actual number of consumers who regularly and purposefully
buy organic is about 2 per cent. The other 48 per cent are buying organic by
accident, like when someone buys soy milk, for example. What this means is
there is still tremendous room for growth."

- ROWAN LALONDE
Harmony Whole Foods Market

Supermarket chains like Loblaw and IGA
buy their products in bulk, which lowers the
normally high price of organic food, making it more accessible for consumers. And
increased demand means more land is being
converted to organic farming. Yet critics warn
that smaller farmers risk going bankrupt if
they can't meet the companies' large-scale
demand for organic food. All across Canada,
people who've been involved in organic for
a long time are wrestling with this issue. It's
changing the way the industry works.
Consolidated efforts

To help operate in a world of big chain forays into NHPs, more than 120 small health
and wellness retailers banded together to
form the Health First Network, Canada's
largest association of NHP retailers. They
leverage their strengths to group-buy at low-

28 |

and naturopaths who regularly do in-store seminars. Mass
retailers don't offer our level of service," says Kaplan.
Ryan Dennis agrees: "Every challenge is an opportunity.
You adapt and pivot based on challenges put in front of you.
As an industry we've always had to be adaptive, such as altering our products as regulations change or when big box
stores price us out of a brand," he says. "But the industry is
booming and we're well-placed to succeed because customer
strength is our strength. Every business says it, but it's truly a
core part of our business. We're not just in the food business;
we're in the education business."
What's remarkable is that even though it accounts for a
relatively small share of the overall Canadian grocery and
drug store trade, natural health products have changed the
market and what consumers demand of it. As Canadians increasingly demand means-through organic foods or supplements-to better their health and ensure the continued health
of the environment, big box retailers and independents alike
will react. Inevitably, the market share attributed to NHPs is
destined to grow.

canadian retailer | summer 2014 | www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014

Publisher's Desk
Retail Currents
Food for Thought: The State of Canadian Grocery
Driving Sales With Personalized Advertising
Come One, Come All
Unsure About the Future
Education Leading to Organic Growth
The Total Retail Package
Advertiser's Index
Retail Quick Tips
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover1
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover2
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 3
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Publisher's Desk
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 5
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Retail Currents
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 7
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 8
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 9
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Food for Thought: The State of Canadian Grocery
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 11
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 12
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 13
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 14
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 15
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Driving Sales With Personalized Advertising
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 17
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 18
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Come One, Come All
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 20
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 21
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 22
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Unsure About the Future
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 24
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 25
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Education Leading to Organic Growth
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 27
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 28
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 29
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - The Total Retail Package
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 31
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 32
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 33
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 34
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 35
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - 36
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Advertiser's Index
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - Retail Quick Tips
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover3
Canadian Retailer - Summer 2014 - cover4
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