Sometimes I feel a little bit like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills — in my case, the giants of the food industry, who keep churning out highly processed foods laden with stabilizers, preservatives, food coloring, fake flavors, and all sorts of other additives. These giants fill the supermarket shelves with so-called foods that are far removed from real food, designed in a lab to be addictive, and contribute to America’s health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
So you can imagine how happy I was to read this wrap-up of Expo West — the natural products trade show, which recently ended in Anaheim, California. Supermarket News reported tremendous sales momentum in the health and wellness category of retail sales, building on similarly fast growth in previous years. More and more consumers are looking for healthful products, and, to remain competitive, supermarkets must carry the products that their customers want.
As one of the leading industry consultants, Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights, put it during Expo West:
Why is health and wellness a separate discussion in the grocery channel? Why isn’t it integral to the model?
As we all know, businesses respond to consumer demands. And it seems we are finally at a tipping point of rising demand for healthful foods. This has always been integral to our business model at Cookiehead: produce insanely tasty, crazy smart cookies, brownies, and muffins. Use the highest-quality, real-food ingredients that come from a kitchen, not a laboratory. Make them satisfying in small portions so people will feel satiated instead of a need to keep snacking. Change the industry by building a loyal customer base that realizes healthful snacks don’t have to taste like sawdust; snacks can be both nutritionally responsible and decadently delicious. Bring tasty, healthful snacks into the mainstream.
The Supermarket News report tells me that change is in the air. Supermarkets react to consumer demand, and the food industry giants will react to how the supermarkets allocate shelf space. These days I’m feeling a bit less like Don Quixote and a bit more like George Washington, helping to lead a food industry revolution.