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Sustaining Natural Growth

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: February 2, 2007

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For Zia and Jason, the distribution strategy has and will continue to focus primarily on the natural channel, given the tremendous opportunity to continue to improve depth of distribution in these outlets, according to Setzfand. “In recent years, specialty stores and mass outlets with a commitment to natural, health and wellness have offered additional opportunities for our lines as consumer awareness and demand for natural products has increased. We will continue to evaluate these opportunities to grow our brands and educate consumers about the difference between natural and mainstream products,” Setzfand said.

Just last month Jason introduced Red Elements Skin Care based on red tea. Red Elements is advertised as combining the power of red tea, advanced peptide technology and powerful elements from the earth to firm, tone and fight the signs of aging. The nine-product Red Elements line includes gel and lotion cleansers, toner, day and night moisturizing creams, an exfoliating scrub and more.

For Weleda, the natural market is the primary distribution channel and they are committed to that direction for the future. In the United States, the company distributes in natural markets such as Whole Foods Market and other organic food stores, co-ops and apothecaries. “In addition, we work (as a small percentage of our market) with various professionals at spas, wellness centers and with doctors and pharmacists,” said Barckley. Weleda opened its flagship store in North America in Palisades, New York, 15 miles outside New York City. “In the short term, we do not see this changing for us. We see a great deal of development potential in our existing markets, particularly in the natural industry,” Barckley said.

Baby Bouquet, the Santa Ana, California marketer of luxury natural baby care products, finds itself facing the challenge of building a niche within the naturals niche. It has worked to create winning formulations. Its packaging is a hit with mothers for its hands-pump. Its logo, whimsical. Still, it struggles with promoting to the naturals channel. “Many stores have tried baby lines early on and did not have very much luck them. They are very hesitant to try them again,” said John Dee, company owner. “But the market has changed over the past five years. The fastest grow “new parent” age group is the 35-to-45-year-olds.” These parents have established careers, college degrees and lots of extra income, Dee said, and are willing to spend money on the best products available to keep their babies safe, happy and healty. They are also part of what’s driving the success in the natural foods space, said Dee.

Consumer Interest
Sales data showing continuing growth in the category are borne out by what marketers are seeing in the stores. Consumer interest in natural and organic foods appears to extend to personal care products, as well, according to Jason Naturals’ Setzfand. “Most consumers are introduced to natural personal care through their interest in food,” she said. “Enhanced packaging and marketing are also encouraging nonusers to try natural for the first time and formula improvements are changing the perception that natural products are less effective.”