In 2018, sales of natural, organic and functional food and beverage grew 6.6 percent to $152 billion, while sales of conventional food and beverage contracted 0.2 percent, indicating strong consumer desire for cleaner products. As more consumers understand the merits of healthy, less processed foods and beverages—and more capital floods into the market enabling natural entrepreneurs to feed this growing demand with exciting new brands—natural products are primed to continue their impressive growth.
That’s not to say there aren’t challenges to the natural products industry. Maintaining reliable natural and organic ingredient supply is difficult, cash-flow issues regularly stifle startup growth and fervent competition squeezes precious shelf space. Despite many efforts, the natural products industry is still plagued by pressing issues such as single-use plastics and an increasingly fragmented retail environment. These barriers contribute to studies that suggest a whopping 85 percent of food and beverage startups fail within just two years of launching.