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What's ahead for natural?

The natural food and beverage market—now valued at $127 billion—has reached a new stage in its maturity. “The world of health and wellness is changing dramatically and rapidly, and the natural products industry is positioned as a leading crucible through which we can watch this world unravel and rebuild itself,” says Carlotta Mast, chief author of NEXT: The Natural Products Industry Forecast, compiled by Nutrition Business Journal and the Sterling-Rice Group.

Some trend highlights of the report include:

  • The natural, organic and functional food and beverage market is poised for continued growth and transformation over the next five to 10 years and is expected to rise to $137.7 billion in 2017
  • 75% of food retailers agreed that local is currently the most influential product claim in the specialty food sector. A local product conveys sustainability, health and local job growth
  • In 2010, Americans ate 31% more packaged/processed foods than fresh foods. As consumers become more educated about the negative effects of processed foods, the demand for minimally processed and better-for-you packaged products will increase
  • Three macro-trends that are affecting the growth of the natural foods market are "the wholegrain revolution," "healthy tastes good" and "transparency rules"

Source: NEXT: The Natural Products Industry Forecast; June, 2012