Natural and organic food once was confined to places like the Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto or Ithaca’s Moosewood Restaurant. It’s only been in the last decade or so that eating healthy has become…cool. More people are drinking coconut water, eating paleo, and getting their daily spirulina fix.
Last year, Kroger and other traditional grocers reported that they were selling more organic and freshly prepared foods. Natural food brands are expanding—Credit Suisse analysts expect the number of natural and organic food stores in the US to double by between 2015-2020.
This increase can be attributed to education and simply being more deeply connected with the rest of the world thanks to the internet. More people know about the effects of chemicals in food and we are more aware of the global effects of mass consumption. Either way, more Americans are demanding organic, local, fair-trade and other types of foods that were once part of a fringe lifestyle.
According to the Nutrition Business Journal, organic food sales are expected to reach $35 billion this year, up $7 billion from 2014. With such impressive numbers we were curious about what organic and natural food brands were doing to foster their business in light of the food revolution. We spoke with Becky Schilling of Big Tree Farms and Kiley Simmons of Field Roast to find out more.
Big Tree Farms: “It comes down to ethos, integrity, and heart.”
Big Tree Farms offers organic and raw food products such as cacao and cashews, all locally-sourced and sustainably produced. The company is a beacon of world firsts: they introduced the world’s first organic coconut sugar to the market in 2008 and became the first fair-trade coconut sugar producer. They are respected leaders in provided raw cacao products
It’s no surprise they have seen massive success in boosting their brand with America’s interest in sustainability and fair-trade practices.
“We don’t really have a ‘tactic’,” explains Schilling. “We prefer to stand solidly and rest comfortably on our laurels. When people know our story they desire to support our mission and products.”
They have a unique story and work directly with the producers, showing their customers that they are truly doing a social good by purchasing from them.
“We are a direct supply chain company, vertically integrated working hand-in-hand with over 14,000 farmers. Our social mission of providing a livelihood to once impoverished farmers through paying above equitable market value for their crops (coconut and cacao) while maintaining sustainable practices is a story that everyone desires to be loyal to and support.
Field Roast: “Utilizing social media channels.”
Field Roast is the original maker of vegan grain meats, and they have a pretty interesting story behind their products. Creator David Lee blended the European tradition of charcuterie with the Chinese Mien Ching tradition of using grains as a vegetarian protein. Their products include deli slices, sausages, and even breaded cutlets.
They started in natural foods grocers, but have since expanded to having their products served in major sport venues in Seattle, Cleveland, and San Francisco. They have a distinctive name and people have been talking about Field Roast for a long time.
Simmons told BuyerSynthesis that Field Roast has found success simply by joining the plethora of conversations that were already happening.
“Once we began utilizing social media channels, our communities began to grow like crazy and never stopped,” she explains. “We actively joined the conversations that were already happening surrounding our brand and created new content for them to engage with.”
People use social media to brand themselves, expressing who they are and what they believe in. That makes it easy for brands to participate with their buyers and potential buyers more genuinely than advertising.
“We were able to create communities where customers could find answers and share their feedback,” says Simmons.
Successful brands are on social media and are creating or engaging their loyal buyers.
“It’s sort of a given in this day and age!”
BuyerSynthesis helps emerging and established brands grow revenues through better understanding their buyers and can be reached by email at info @ buyersynthesis.com.
Second photo from fieldroast.com.