Health and wellness consumers become more discerning

The Natural Marketing Institute, Harleysville, Pa., reports that retail sales of health and wellness products in the United States reached more than $112 billion in 2008, representing growth of 9 percent over 2007. The figure includes sales across all retail and direct-to-consumer channels for the six categories NMI measures.
NMI President Maryellen Molyneaux said: "NMI research clearly shows that the current economic downturn is changing consumer behavior on many levels, including spending related to health and wellness. So while sales in each category continue to grow, consumers are becoming more discerning and are looking for real value in their purchases and not just the perceived value. This shift in behavior will impact manufacturers and retailers, not just short-term but also in the future."
Functional foods and beverages continue to represent the largest category of health and wellness products, with 2008 sales of $40.5 billion. Organic foods and beverages replaced vitamins, minerals, herbal and dietary supplements as the second-largest category in the health and wellness segment, and reached almost $24 billion last year.
Based on consumer spending by product segment, consumer penetration/usage trends, and projected data, NMI reports industry retail dollars in billions for 2008 (and growth vs. 2007) are:
Functional/Fortified Foods and Beverages: $40.5 (5%)
Organic Foods and Beverages: $23.6 (18%)
Vitamins, Minerals, Herbal and Dietary Supplements: $23.3 (7%)
Natural Foods and Beverages: $14.6 (4%)
Natural/Organic Personal Care: $8.4 (7%)
Natural/Organic General Merchandise: $2.0 (32%)
NMI projects that the health and wellness industry as a whole will grow approximately 7 percent each year for the next five years.

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How beer brands are using social media to connect with consumers

Social media has become a buzzword for not just American consumers but also the business environment. Companies are turning to various social media channels to create brand awareness or possibly boost retail sales. Beer brands also are turning to social media to make their stories heard. Brand Chorus, a division of New York-based TippingGardner, conducted a Beer StoryScore Index for Beverage Industry. StoryScore is a quantitative measure of a brand’s storytelling through social management based on creativity, strategy and personality.

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