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A Passion for Natural

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: August 29, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.
Hain Celestial’s Andy Jacobson

Working in the family business was the seed that grew into a career in the natural product industry for Hain Celestial’s Andrew Jacobson.

Andrew H. Jacobson was president of Westbrae Natural in 1997 when the company was purchased by The Hain Food Group. He came on board with Hain as general manager of nondairy products, and was named general manager of the Hain Celestial Whole Body Care Division about the time Hain purchased Jason Natural Products in mid-2004, marking its entry into the personal care category.

Today, Jacobson is president, personal care, for The Hain Celestial Group, and has been in the thick of the action as the company followed up the Jason Natural purchase with the acquisition of Zia Natural Skin Care in 2005, then Para Laboratories and its Queen Helene brand in early 2006, and Avalon Natural Products—announced earlier this year. It all adds up to exceeding Hain’s objective of building personal care into a $100 million business.

Yet, while he has been on the inside of all these major transactions, Jacobson’s introduction to the world of natural products came long before his current involvement with The Hain Celestial Group.

“I like to think of myself as a product of the industry,” said Jacobson. “My family ran a chain of natural foods stores, and I grew up in them.” In fact, his family’s involvement in natural foods retailing ranged from owning a Country Health store in North Miami Beach to being part of a group that owned as many as 126 natural food stores.