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As we get closer and closer to the season I will make sure to write some articles about functional eating and supplementation routines as they apply to being active.  I wanted to do something a little from the norm this week that is near and dear to my heart.

The whole environmentalism movement has always been near and dear to my heart.  I enjoy paying attention to trends involving renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and social consciousness as it applies to consumerism and the goods we purchase.  For the past 5 years I have attended a convention called Natural Products Expo West (Expo West for short).  I spend nothing short of 20 hours throughout the weekend talking to manufacturers, buyers, retail stores and websites to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry.

Figured for my post this week, I could share some of the new and interesting trends I see in this space of doing business.  A growing list of companies are trying to make consuming healthy food convenient while trying to make a positive impact on the world at the same time.

Hemp and CBD.

Why not start with the most controversial right off the bat?  When people tout the healing properties of marijuana, the CBD component is most responsible for that.  CBD is also present in the hemp plant (different species than marijuana).  There have been some advancements in technology which not only allow the CBD to be extracted efficiently from hemp oil, BUT also eliminate amounts of THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana).  There is a ton of research being done right now on CBD as a health promoting supplement.  It’s highly touted as a pain reducer/eliminator, but also looks promising in the field of treating neuromuscular disorders like epilepsy and muscular dystrophy.  Companies like CannaVest are leading the way into this new (mainstream) frontier.

Hemp is on the comeback train.  As an industrial product, it’s been used for thousands of years and thousands of uses!  As one of the most ecologically friendly plants on the planet, hemp can grow almost anywhere, with little water, high yields and actually can repair nutrient-depleted soil.  Used in the  garment industry it’s much less intensive to grow and harvest than cotton.  Fuels and food can be produced from the abundant oil-rich seeds on this plant.  Used in the construction industry for building materials like boards and concrete, the future of hemp is bright.  Look to industry leaders and advocates like Hemp Inc and Bruce Perlowin to advance this (potentially) planet saving industry.

Eco-friendly detergents from soap berry.

Speaking of planet saving.  Every piece to the puzzle is important.  Laundry detergents have typically had very harsh solvents, dyes and perfumes which have been associated with allergic reactions on the person, and polluting our waterways which is everyone’s problem.

Sometimes products are so good and worth it that we’ll pay more to support what they’re about.  Well in the case of soap berry, this little berry has detergent like properties without any of the chemical downside, AND it’s like 4 times cheaper than regular detergent!  Talk about a win/win.

Ex AVP Player, Jason Lee is working with a company, Growing Naturals who has an amazing soap berry detergent called, Simply Soap Berry.

All in one health supplements.

Instead of buying 6 different healthy superfoods and concocting them together everyday into a smoothie, there are some truly advanced formulas that are already doing that for us.  I’ll talk about some of these and a few of my favorites in another post, but you’re going to start to see more and more true all in one health products that make it easy to consume more of what’s good for us in less time.

Convenience foods that are truly healthy.

The perfect segue into my next observation that healthy foods are becoming easier and easier to consume on the go with our busy lifestyles.  The food packaging industry has made advancements leaps and bounds recently.  Many manufacturers can even process and pack foods in oxygen-free environments now (usually nitrogen is the “air” in this scenario).  Oxygen is the enemy of food so the ability to pack oxygen free, and create functional pouches and containers that deliver the food to our lips efficiently and full of flavor is huge.

Companies like Yumbutter and Homemade Harvey are perfect examples that you can eat organic foods on the go and aren’t limited to a bag of nuts or peeling a banana while you’re driving and discarding the slimy peel on the passenger seat next to you.  I’m not the only one, right?

Donating/Aligning with charitable causes as a way of doing business.

#ConsciousConsumerism  A growing trend in business is evolving away from simply donating to a few charitable causes if you have some extra product to promo or a few extra bucks to give to a good cause.  Many are creating sustainable business models which tie giving to a portion of overall sales.  Some create products specifically to partner with certain causes.

It’s not just good PR anymore to donate to charitable causes.  The whole natural products and natural health industry has made it almost unacceptable to be a company simply about the bottom line.  If a brand doesn’t stand for something else besides total overall market reach, 78% of consumers will choose to purchase from a company who gives back if the perceived value is similar.  I am excited about that trend!

What are some of the positive trends you see happening in business?  Happy Monday!

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