Industry News

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Irish retailer awards

Health Stores Ireland is now accepting entries for the 2021 New Natural Business/Health Stores Ireland Awards via online submission over the coming weeks.

There are five category awards for retailers under the headings Innovation & Business Development, Community Engagement, Training & Education, Digital Marketing and Environmental Initiatives.

Health Stores Ireland President, Gerald Colfer, said: “This is that time when we ask retailers to share their achievements under a range of headings. While it is uncertain if we will be able to gather to celebrate our awards in person, we don’t want to miss this opportunity to shout from the rooftops about the value independent health food stores offer brands and communities”.

Lifetime achievement and industry awards are usually presented at a Health Stores Ireland annual gathering in September, and while they have genuine hope that this event will go ahead, if they can’t host it in person they will revert to a virtual event as in 2020. Product awards under five categories, long listed from staff picks Tried and Tested in Rude Health Magazine, will also be awarded at this event.

A transformation begins in Manchester

Right now in Albany Road, Manchester, a workers’ co-operative is undergoing a transformation. Established in 1996, Unicorn offers fresh food with an emphasis on organic, fair-trade and local produce. It’s closed for two weeks in April for a refurb and building work will continue through to July. Unicorn was 2017’s Best Food Retailer at the BBC Food & Farming Awards and the Soil Association’s 2018 Best Independent Retailer, followed in 2019 by Lancashire Life’s Independent Retailer of the Year award and Manchester Food & Drink Festival’s Food & Drink Retailer of the Year. We’ll bring more news later in the year.

Amazon closes in on Ireland

Irish retailers are bracing themselves for the arrival of in the coming months.

Brexit has brought some unexpected changes to the free flow of products into Ireland from UK based online shops. Now some brand-holders have already been flagged about Amazon’s intention to launch their dot-ie service which will remove some of those obstacles to trade.

Health Stores Ireland is calling on all brand holders to begin dialogue with Irish retailers to prepare for the imminent market changes to avoid a race to the bottom.

“Not all Irish retailers are in a place to step up and meet the challenge from online giants head-to head, and it’s probably best not to even try, but brand holders who value their place via the independent retail network need to start communicating their plans for these changes with retailers now”, said Health Stores Ireland Chairperson Martha Brennan.

Focus on digestive health

Following the success of’s New Year Revolution campaign, which encouraged people to ‘rethink, reset and restart’ their health, the HFMA website will follow up with a focus on digestive health in May.

Working with nutritionist Suzie Sawyer (pictured), the first campaign provided insight into specific consumer online patterns within the natural products arena during lockdown.

Now the health store-focused HealthyDoesIt team needs industry support to help the focus on digestive health to reach its full potential. Here are some things you can do:

Meanwhile, the Summer issue of New Natural Business will follow up this theme with articles on the many health benefits of a healthy gut. Don’t miss it.

Tree time

Weleda has been named Eco Brand of the Year in the Beauty Shortlist Awards 2021 for the company’s centenary campaign with the charity TreeSisters – pledging to plant one million trees to mark 100 Years of Weleda.

Name check

The Nature’s Bounty Co rebranded earlier this year as The Bountiful Company with manufacturing, packaging, warehouse, distribution and administration in the US, Canada and UK. Brands include Nature’s Bounty and Solgar among others.

Max awareness

Organic drug-free allergen barrier balm HayMax is supporting Allergy UK’s Spring Allergy Awareness Week (April 26-30) with sponsorship of the online Allergy House and allergies fact sheets and supoort to help reach more people living with allergies.

Are you worthy?

The 2021 Sustainable Food Awards are now open to entries with a closing date of May 5. Categories are New Sustainable Product, Sustainable Ingredient, Sustainable Packaging, Sustainability Pioneer and Sustainability Leadership. Winners announced June 10. Email

Lockdown casualty

Cardiff health food store Beanfreaks has closed its city centre store in St Mary Street but retains its suburb stores in Roath and Canton. The family-run business of 40 years is considering a smaller store in one of the city centre’s arcades.

CBD deadline

CBD products that do not have a supporting product safety application cannot remain on the shelves now that the Food Standard Agency’s deadline of March 31 for validated novel food authorisation applications has passed.

Reaching out

#BackforGood is a campaign by Reach regional newspapers offering a £1 million support package to kickstart hard-hit businesses. The UK’s largest news publisher is helping businesses from all sectors reconnect with customers as lockdown measures are eased by offering free marketing support.

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