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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.

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Effectiveness. In the mass market, there is a perception that natural products are not as effective as mass brands. Through trial and sampling programs offered at mass retailers combined with outreach to national consumer publications, this perception is easily overcome. The Hain Celestial Group offers these same programs to its natural retailers, as sampling is a key selling vehicle for any consumer. Advances in science and clinical testing have proven the functionality and effectiveness of many natural extracts, providing scientific support for marketing claims. Safety. Many mass consumers are concerned that natural products have a shorter shelf life; thus less safe. This is incorrect. Natural products may have less harsh preservatives and use packaging (tubes, airless, pumps) to reduce the risk of contamination and maintain the integrity of the product.

“Mass retailers must communicate and help educate consumers about what makes natural products different. This includes the specific ingredients that are not included, the effectiveness of natural products and, when appropriate, the brand’s social consciousness,” said Jacobson.

“Consumer resistance is more likely when the mass retailer does not show a firm commitment to the natural category,” he continued. “Six or eight natural SKUs in the midst of a conventional set does not communicate the appropriate level of commitment to the category (to entice) a consumer to spend more money for a natural product.”

Jacobson clearly understands the nature of a firm commitment to the category, having grown up in it and made a career of it. So, what’s next on his agenda? “Like anything else, I think it’s not what Andy wants. It’s the continuation of what Hain is doing. We are trying to create a healthy way of life, and I think that having the opportunity to be part of that vision, and being able to contribute, is satisfying.”