With 24/7 live high definition (HD) video in their facilities and posted on their website, MegaFood makes no bones about the importance of transparency.
Long-time industry executive and MegaFood CEO Robert Craven had a goal in mind for years—to remain lucid. Speaking with Vitamin Retailer before the launch of his online show, “MegaFood: The Transparency Project,” debuting Nov. 18, the former Procter & Gamble, Boston Scientific and The Hackett Group lead business best-practices strategist, said there is a real need in the marketplace for top players.
Backing his strong belief that sustainability and transparency are ideal and lofty goals that must be met with action, Craven has already begun retailer advocacy by creating Combatmassslippage.com, which serves to support and educate vendors on mass slippage, the notion of organic foods being combined with manmade fare at grocery stores. “We have to do everything we can in supporting the natural retailer to compete in this new environment and marketplace,” said Craven.
“It’s early,” said Craven of the conversation, “but it’s about retailers sharing best practices with retailers.” With one interview already posted, Craven will continue the conference with one merchant a week. The concept of “natural retailers market share eroding” is fact that cannot be denied, according to Craven, who said as more grocery and club stores move into the natural turf, retailers will suffer. “There going to move in and the data says they have already moved in a significant way and the natural retailer share is eroding in the overall market,” he said.
The mainstream media’s negative reviews make matters even worse, according to Craven. Often judging the dietary supplement industry by its cover, Craven cites media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today that often report the low percentage of “bad” rather than much higher percentage of “good” regarding the industry. Though Craven credits government action through the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, Federal Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission, he said it still lacks sufficiency within the regulated industry. “I still don’t think it is enough. Our government does not have resources to really separate the good from the bad and a lot of times the good gets lumped in with the bad,” said Craven, adding that in the world of social media, it is easy to for bad news to go viral.
He is hoping the online show will help counter that.
Airing live while taking questions from listeners via Twitter and Facebook, Craven intends to share the seriousness of sustainability. “The more transparent we are in the industry and the more transparent we are as companies, manufacturers, products and brands the easier it is for us to separate from the bad players,” said Craven, who believes the only way to stop rumors is to fight harder.
“I think every company can lean in and go deeper in terms of transparency and support of the natural marketplace, which will help us elevate the natural retailer which I think is critical in supporting health and wellness in their community,” said Craven. “We want to set an example in the industry on how brands might consider doing this as well as to elevate the whole industry and to really support our natural retailers.”