Launching natural products and companies that respect organic and sustainable production, as well as investing in them, is a challenge in the competitive retail and consumer products market today. However, the great demand that is being given of healthier products by consumers is increasing. This is due to the concerns that consumers are having, ranging from the cost of health care to the effects of food and agriculture on climate change. More and more they are opting for natural, organic and functional foods and beverages, nutritional supplements, natural medicines and other organic products. Companies that share their values and address their concerns.

Conventionally grown apples are on top of the infamous "Dirty Dozen" list of contaminated fruits and vegetables (each conventional apple contains 4.4 toxins and toxic pesticide residues on average). The average consumer is realizing that eating an organic apple a day keeps the doctor away. When we choose organic, regenerative and other healthy and organic products, we are investing directly in the health of our families, the health of the planet and the sustainable economy of family farms and local communities. All this translates into sustained business growth in the natural and organic products sector.

In 2018, sales of natural and organic products increased 6.9 percent, reaching $ 219 billion, not the case of conventional food and beverage products, which decreased by -0.2 percent. It is not a novelty that sales of natural, organic and functional foods and beverages are growing at a much faster rate than conventional foods and beverages. It is reflected in Expo West, the largest organic and natural trade fair in the world that attracts almost 90,000 visitors from more than 70 countries. The natural and organic products industry is on track to exceed $ 250 billion in sales through 2021.

Categories and Trends Driving Growth in Natural and Organic

Organic: sales of organic foods and beverages increased 5.6 percent to become a market segment of $ 45 billion in 2018. According to the Organic Trade Association, only in the last decade, the organic market of EE. UU it has more than doubled in size. The organic sector has now normalized and due to this greater volume and size of the sector, there has been a slight deceleration of its growth. Much of this growth is due to organic dairy products, which account for 14 percent of the category, and in 2018, this category of products continued to show good growth due to oversupply and consumers' growing preference for plant-based drinks. Organic products (fresh fruits and vegetables) account for 38 percent of all organic sales. In other words, organic supply is lagging behind the growing demand from consumers, a challenge that the organic industry has to face.

According to international organizations: Organic Agriculture Research Institute and IFOAM Organics International, the world organic food market reached approximately $ 97 billion in 2017. US. UU It is the main market, followed by Germany, France and China. The population of Switzerland was the most spent on organic foods, and Denmark had the highest production and market share of organic products (13.3 percent of the total food market). In 2017, organic producers around the world increased by 5 percent with respect to 2016, reaching 2.9 million. The total agricultural land under organic production increased by 20 percent, reaching 173 million acres, representing the highest growth recorded by FiBL and IFOAM. Despite these data on the global success of organic agriculture, only 1.4 percent of the estimated total agricultural land in the world goes to that production. But it is our responsibility to improve this data, since Regenerative Agriculture, with its focus on carbon absorption and the construction of healthy soils, has the great potential to help mitigate climate change, and has become a powerful new movement that emerges in sustainable agriculture and food.

Plant-based milk now accounts for 15 percent of the total milk market, says the Association of Plant-Based Foods.

Plant-based: with an IPO presentation of $ 183.8 million recently submitted by Beyond Meat, the company's plant-based meat products. Plant-based foods are now a trend, as more and more Americans are looking for "flexing" diet options to consume less meat and incorporate more vegetable options into their diet. According to the Association of Plant-based Foods, sales of these foods increased 20 percent in 2018 to more than $ 3.3 billion. This translates into significant growth, when compared to the sales of all foods, which grew by only 2 percent, so that dollar sales of plant-based foods outnumber retail food sales by 10 times, affirms the association. It can be observed in dairy alternatives based on plants, as they are becoming a category of rapid growth with a growth of 50 percent. This category includes vegetable based cheeses, creams, butter, yoghurts and ice cream (but not milk of vegetable origin). Plant-based milk now accounts for 15 percent of the total milk market, says the Association of Plant-Based Foods.

Hemp and CBD: According to data compiled by the Nutrition Business Journal, sales of industrial hemp products, including full-spectrum hemp extract and CBD products, increased by 60 percent to reach $ 238 million in 2018. looking for alternative crops to transgenic corn, soybeans and tobacco, hemp has been a blessing. According to the industry group, Vote Hemp, the total acreage grown with hemp in the United States exceeded 78,000 acres, an increase of almost 26,000 acres compared to the estimates of 2017. For retailers of independent natural products, sales of CBD products are now legal in all of the US, although some states and municipalities are still challenging the national law. And while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring sales of CBD products, the agency has indicated that it will allow the market to evolve while closely monitoring possible bad players who make fraudulent or deceptive claims of products.

Organic agriculture

Food and functional ingredients: consumers are currently acquiring food and beverages that provide real benefits and functionality for health. Sales of these products helped boost 7.5 percent growth in this category to $ 68 billion in sales in 2018. The most popular functional ingredients included ashwaganda herb, prebiotic and probiotic antibiotics, and hemp and CBD. In addition, the convenience trend of "refreshments" continues to drive the expansion of functional and better snacks for you.

Dietary Supplements: Sales of nutritional supplements increased 6.1 percent in 2018 to $ 46 billion, driven by sales of collagen products, adaptogenic herbs and other botanicals, fungi and other immune support products, anti-inflammatory products such as turmeric, pre - and probiotics, multivitamins and products of CBD and hemp.

Natural life: $ 20.8 billion that includes natural products for personal and beauty care, products for the home and pet care. In addition to pet care, the product trends that drive this category, which grew 6.5 percent in 2018, include household cleaning products (double-digit growth), organic oral care and women's care products. Mast observed that consumers in this category of "personal care" are embracing clean beauty and paying more attention "not only to what they put in their bodies, but also to what they put in their bodies and bring to their homes".

Pet Products: “Natural and organic pet products outperformed all other categories in 2018 – sales growth for the natural pet category was up 10.2 percent to $7 billion,” reported Mast, who also shared that growth in natural and organic pet products far outpaced the 1.9 percent growth achieved in 2018 by the $26-billion conventional pet products market. “More than 70 percent of Millennials currently own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association, and 86 percent of Millennials believe that natural and better-for-you pet food is vital for the health of their pet,” Mast added.

Sugar Ain’t So Sweet: Other “macro trends” driving the market include changing consumer perceptions around nutrition and healthy fats, and a growing awareness that “sugar isn’t all that sweet when it comes to health.” Diet trends include the Paleo and Keto diets, and convenience still rules, but products have to have great nutrition and taste. Consumers are also becoming increasingly concerned about packaging waste and are looking to support inventive business and ownership models, sustainable sourcing and packaging, and fair trade, socially responsible and mission driven brands.