By Denis Korn
I attended the Natural Food Expo two weeks ago and I thought I might share some observations. In conjunction with the Expo – where I look for new offerings and connect with suppliers and manufacturers – I have been contacting other primary suppliers to assess the state of the industry and availability of important provisions. Also, some email marketing companies have sent me their latest “assessment of the times” preparedness advertising that I find rather bizarre and disturbing.
The Natural Food Expo is the largest trade show of its kind in the country, and 2000 exhibitors from the top manufacturers to the new and innovative gather to network and introduce new products. Since food products are essential to my offerings at PrepareDirect, and to the majority of my customers and blog readers, I am always interested in what suppliers and food growers have to say about current conditions.
Here are some brief notes and insights of interest from my conversations and observations as they relate to the current marketplace:
- There is a good supply of basic commodities – grains – beans – seeds available at this time from a number of suppliers, including a considerable amount of organic basics.
- There is a good supply of freeze-dried and dehydrated vegetables and fruits available from multiple processors.
- Organic and gluten-free continue to gain significant market share.
- There continues to be numerous innovative, healthy and fun products being introduced into the industry.
- The overall mood of the industry is positive from an innovation and increased customer base perspective. The down side is the awareness of increasing government corruption, the influence of self-serving special interests and the insidious desire for control. Many have a real concern for how this will affect the entire industry.
- Most suppliers are very aware of the impact that preparedness food planning has had on sales.
- Prices are on the move up and increased transportation costs will take their toll and effect food costs.
- Inflation is a big concern and there is a fear of a significant rise in food costs.
- Weather, economic instability and global demand for basic food commodities could have a substantial affect on future availability and prices for basic provisions.
- Government regulations and interference in the free market will adversely effect food production at some point – perhaps sooner rather than later.
- GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are a MAJOR concern for the Natural Food Industry as are the increasing use of chemicals in corporate farming and the control of seed availability by very large corporations that desire to control food production.
- Many small farms and targeted segments of the Natural Food Industry have been forced out of business or significantly harassed by an out-of-control EPA and USDA that is very unfriendly to small business and family farmers and appears to be ultimately controlled by special interests.
- Media focus on the 2012 phenomenon has brought out the best and worst in the preparedness industry. Being prepared for the unforeseen is always a good idea and most companies are conscientious and sensible in their marketing, information tools and product selection. Unfortunately there are still many who – if I may be so bold – are simply opportunists, deceivers, ignorant and dishonest. Their marketing techniques play on the fear and ignorance of the undiscerning public. I have heard and seen many of the promotions – and they are disgusting and shameful. While many are promoting books, videos and such, there is usually a food product tie-in. You must be discerning and conduct careful research and evaluation.
- Beware of newer companies on the market who have a large advertising budget, advertise on prominent talk shows, offer foods in “pouches” with a 25 year shelf life, claim to be great tasting, use deceptive “servings” to give the impression of a adequate amount of food and fill their foods with ingredients of questionable quality and nutritional value.
- The good news is that many people who have previously been unaware of the potential scenarios that could significantly affect their life’s, are seeking out trustworthy and reliable information and are taking action. I have talked to many who are networking with like minded folks and building a community plan. This includes myself and others in my community.
- In addition to those who are stockpiling storage foods in commercially produced cans and pouches, there is a growing number of people who are packing their own commodities.
- You are encouraged to seek out those in your family, workplace and community who are supportive and informed of the benefits and value of being prepared for unforeseen emergencies – especially during these uncertain times.