Progressive Grocer

MAR 2017

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74 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | March 2017 versions, the magazine is distributed to consumers via direct mail and in-store. Cir- culation is expected to exceed 750,000 by year's end. is health-expert-meets- retailer model is resonating with consumers. According to Natural Grocers, its net sales increased 12.9 percent to $705.5 million in fiscal 2016, and sales were up again, by 9.4 percent, for the first quarter of fiscal 2017, compared with the same period in 2016. Anticipating continued growth, Natural Grocers has signed an additional 16 leases on stores set to open in 2017 and beyond. With more than 1,600 stores in 35 American states, German hard-discount grocer Aldi, with U.S. headquarters in suburban Chicago, is thinking organic and fresh as it expands its reach. "We have increased our fresh produce offerings across all of our stores over the years, and currently carry a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including organic bananas, tomatoes, avocados, apples and salad mixes," notes Aldi spokeswoman Liz Ruggles. All of Aldi's organic products are clearly labeled with easy-to-spot organic seals. "Due to our great-quality groceries and everyday low prices, we're one of the fastest-growing retailers in the U.S.," continues Ruggles. "By the end of 2018, we will have nearly 2,000 stores from coast to coast, bringing the Aldi experience — and our fresh and organic produce — to 45 million customers." To educate and encourage customers to get off to a healthy start in 2017, Aldi launched Hello, Healthy, an online resource available through this month, to introduce customers to the many better- for-you foods found at its stores. Shoppers can access meal plans, recipes, tips and inspiring videos at e grocer also works with a team of dietitians, known as the Aldi Advisory Council of Registered Dietitians, who share their Dietitian's Picks, including organic produce, gluten-free options and kid-friendly choices that are handpicked for their nutritional value. ese products feature the Dietitian's Picks emblem on the supermarket's website. Burgeoning Beverages While organic sales are strong, certain subcatego- ries like organic beverages are soaring to strato- spheric heights. "e demand for fresh organic was most evident in the continued growth of fresh juices and drinks, which saw explosive growth of 33.5 percent in 2015, making it the fastest-growing of all the organic subcategories," according to OTA. "Over the last five years, sales of all kinds of organic beverages, from juices to nut milk to hemp milk and kombucha, have increased dramatically as consumers seek healthier options," affirms Karen Falbo, director of nutrition education for Natural Grocers, where produce-based beverages are gain- ing exposure through educational outreach. For the past three years, the company's nutri- tion coaches have visited area schools to educate middle and high school students about the health consequences of consuming sug- ary drinks. e program, which presents healthy alternatives to soda, challenges kids to give up all sugary beverages for one week. Coaches return at the end of the week to discuss the kids' experi- ences and award prizes. Whether encouraging kids or adults to make healthy beverage choices, con- venience is critical to success. "Products like Daily Greens offer such amazing convenience," enthuses Falbo. Daily Greens is a line of or- ganic cold-pressed juices containing 4.5 pounds of vegetables in every 12-ounce bottle. "People are taking charge of their health, and taking charge of their diet is an important part of that," Falbo asserts when asked what's fueling the Fresh Food Produce Consumers are aware of how important organic is for their health, and the health of the environment." —Shauna Martin, Daily Greens C ir C ular lo G i C Natural Grocers redesigned its circular with the goal of becoming " a merica's Health Expert."

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