Eating Right

Consumers are craving a more balanced lifestyle, which is evident in everything from the foods they eat to the way they shop. Within the last few years, "organic" and "green" have become buzzwords for both c

April 6, 2018

Eating Right

Consumers are craving a more balanced lifestyle, which is evident in everything from the foods they eat to the way they shop.

Within the last few years, "organic" and "green" have become buzzwords for both consumers and marketers alike. According to the Organic Trade Association, United States organic food sales have grown between 17 and 21 percent each year since 1997, to nearly triple in sales, while total U.S. food sales over the same time period grew only 2 to 4 percent a year.

While consumers shop the grocery aisles looking for healthy and organic food options, they're also considering the "green" factor as they look for less packaging as well as environmentally friendly bagging options. British designer Anya Hindmarch started a trend with the debut of her cloth shopping bags that stated, "I'm Not a Plastic Bag," and many food stores now offer discounts and other incentives to shoppers who choose not to cart their goods around in paper or plastic bags. (See European Perspective.)

Since wellness and green initiatives are a major consideration for consumers, consumers can expect to see more product introductions

through licensing. In fall 2007, licensing agency Brand Central launched an eco and wellness division. The first brands to sign on were Dr. Andrew Weil, Kellogg's, Kashi, and trading-card game Xeko. With the new division now underway, Brand Central looks to build a stable of the best-in-class, restorative brands to support a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Ross Misher, CEO, Brand Central, says, "Consumers finally became accountable for the obesity crisis in our country and demanded simple ingredient panels, organic foods, healthier menu options, and no trans fats." At the same time, there was a rise in spirituality, yoga, and an overall recognition of the value of wellness—both inside and out.

There's also been a rise in green living, which can be attributed to many factors—from Al Gore's widely publicized

An Inconvenient Truth

to manufacturers creating green products to the media creating shows about green living. "We are hoping that this way of life is not a trend, but a true paradigm shift in the way we live our lives," says Misher.

"We're happy to see that green living and health and wellness are becoming part of the fabric of our national culture," he adds. "Wellness starts with your diet and exercise, but extends way beyond your physical well-being and into how you feel on the inside, your spirituality, and how you treat the environment and the world around you."

A licensing program has already been built around Andrew Weil, M.D., a world-renowned leader and pioneer in integrative medicine known for his healing-oriented approach to health care, which encompasses the body, mind, and spirit. A bestselling author and frequent guest on "Larry King Live," "Oprah," and CNN, Weil has appeared twice on the cover of



Weil Lifestyle LLC is the exclusive worldwide licensor of distinctive products and services that are developed, reviewed, and approved by Andrew Weil, M.D. The organization was founded with the mandate of providing an ethical funding platform to support the Weil Foundation.

In 2004, Weil Lifestyle, LLC introduced a licensing program, which now has a total of seven licensees. These include Weil Nutritional Supplements; Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins; Pet Promise; Weil by Spring Healthy Kitchen Collection (toxin-free cookware and kitchen electronics); Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea; Lucini Italia Organics (extra virgin olive oil); and Weil by Nature's Path (bars and cereal). The products are sold across the distribution spectrum—from Whole Foods to Super Target to Federated Department Stores. Most of them are also available on

. Some are available internationally. Andrew Weil, M.D. donates all of his aftertax profits from royalties to the Weil Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting integrative medicine through training, education, and research.

Going forward, Weil Lifestyle LLC and Dr. Weil will continue to be selective about expanding into new product categories. The success of the brand in the food and beverage category makes these categories of particular interest for further expansion. "We have explored select direct-to-retail opportunities for new product categories as retailers are seeking new wellness brands to present to their guests and differentiate themselves from their competitors," says Misher.

When selecting new partners, Dr. Weil and his team strive to have genuine authority in each category. The products must not only be cutting edge, but they also must bring innovation to the category. In addition, they must contribute to a healthy lifestyle and have validated health claims. "We look for best-in-class companies that are looking to establish meaningful long-term relationships," says David Stoup, co-chairman of Weil Lifestyle.

Beyond the Weil brand, Brand Central plans to make some other moves within the health and wellness category. The agency plans to extend several wellness brands for Kellogg's, which includes All-Bran, Special K, Kashi, and Morningstar Farms, among other brands. In keeping with the eco trend, new product categories may soon include reusable grocery bags.

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