The Real Deal
The Power of CommunityPAT SHERIDAN PRESIDENT & CEO
As we embark on a new year, I’ve been considering the power of community and the role it plays in our resilience and recovery from challenges. Whether talking about your family, your church, your town, or even INFRA, together is how we weather storms.
As I reflect on 2022, I can’t help but take note of the number of severe weather events and natural disasters so many of us endured and continue to endure. From wildfires, earthquakes, and blizzards to record heat, hurricanes, and flooding, it seems a rare person who was not directly affected. But let’s not forget those in communities who are challenged with decreasing populations, economic uncertainty, and other situations that may not make the national news but are just as impactful.
Each of your personal communities plays an important role in healing and moving forward. As is often the case, INFRA Members are at the front of the line in supporting their communities. As one INFRA Member said to me, “It’s what we do.” Your INFRA community operates under a vision that includes the phrase “Feeding the community,” and the mission speaks of a sustainable future forged through collaboration – community is the core of who we are.
As an association, our primary mission is to support and represent the interests of our members. We provide programs that reduce everyday cost of goods and supply robust promotional programs. We provide support in marketing, merchandising, and education. We give our members the opportunity to get together with their community friends and families at share groups, intensives, and the INFRA Annual Conference. Importantly, we are also the connector for our community.
Our team is always available to provide support, or to simply listen. While we often feel powerless to provide direct support, we know that a phone call to listen and share supportive words is just as valuable in recovering. That’s the power of community.
Although I know this happens every day, I encourage all our INFRA community members to come together and support one another during these times. Drop a note or make a call and see if there’s anything you can do. Through the power of community, we stay resilient, we recover, and if necessary, we rebuild.
We will continue to do our best to support our community through challenges. It’s what we do.
Middle: Marketing Share Group hosted by Harvest Market, Hockessin, DE
Bottom: A final-night sunset at the Wellness Intensive hosted by Nature’s Cupboard, Michigan City, IN
Welcome to the Latest Group of INFRA Members!
Hanalei Market, a startup in Hanalei, HI, recently opened their doors in September! Hanalei Market joined the membership on August 3, 2022 as they finalized their opening and now serves the Hanalei and Kauai community, offering both a grocery and a café In a short time, Hanalei Market has quickly earned the loyalty of their community with friendly, knowledgeable staff and a wide selection of vegan and allergy-friendly products.
Find Hanalei Market online
Good Nutrition, located in Atlanta, GA, joined INFRA Membership on September 6, 2022. Founded in 1996 in Norcross, GA, Good Nutrition has steadily grown to the largest independent group of natural product stores in the region with eight locations across the Atlanta metro. Their business has received numerous best-in-class accolades over the years, a testament to their commitment to healthy options and total wellbeing of their customers. Find Good Nutrition online, on Facebook , and on Instagram
Marczyk Fine Foods, coming to INFRA with two locations in Denver, CO, became a member on November 2, 2022. Founded in 2002, Marczyk Fine Foods was the answer to the challenge of finding quality ingredients efficiently in Denver. Where once one had to quest all over the city, fine food afficionados can come to Marczyk Fine Foods for sustainable and local meats, unique imports, community events, an in-house bakery, and more! Find Marczyk Fine Foods online, on Facebook , and on Instagram
Manna Food Co-op, located in Detroit Lakes, MN, became an INFRA Member on November 2, 2022. Co-owned by more than 900 families in Detroit Lakes, Manna Food Co-op’s retail storefront and deli is dedicated to natural and organic wellness in the local community. Their passion lies in local connections and strong, lasting relationships that empower families to make healthy decisions. Find Manna Food Co-op online, on Facebook , and on Instagram .
Mustard Seed Natural Market & Country Provisions, family-owned and operated in Hayes, VA, joined the membership on November 2, 2022. What began as a move from city life to a begin a farm has evolved into a community hub for good, local food, and quality organic ingredients. Mustard Seed prioritizes local vendors and shouts it out with an interactive map on their website showing where and who local products come from. Find Mustard Seed Natural Market online.
The Market, founded in 2017 in Dallas, TX, became an INFRA Member on November 2, 2022. Though they are “new on the block,” The Market has quickly established themselves as a destination for natural, quality grocery, as well as an in-house bakery, a full-service coffee & juice bar, and a Kosher-certified comfort café. The Market does it all – from grocery to catering to private parties – and does it well. Find The Market online, on Facebook , and on Instagram .
Santa Maria, CA with locations in Buellton and Nipomo, CA, joined INFRA Membership
December 8, 2022. AlchePharma is a company that can rapidly produce products and nutraceuticals independent of traditional supply chains. A reliable source of nutraceuticals both for the communities around their retail storefronts and customers worldwide, AlchePharma Naturals continues to innovate in the supplement space. Find them online, on Facebook , and on Instagram .
Natural Path, located in San Sebastián, PR, became an INFRA Member on December 8, 2022. Founded by a naturopath and family owned, Natural Path is a small but mighty business that has earned a trusted reputation among locals and tourists alike. For now, they are a fixture in the San Sebastián community, but Natural Path has plans to expand across western Puerto Rico. Find them on Facebook
Mike’s Organic, founded in 2010 in Cos Cob, CT, became an INFRA Member on December 8, 2022. Mike’s Organic is all about quality, convenience, and fun. They partner only with small farmers, fishermen, artisans, and producers. Customers have the option to order weekly organic delivery or to shop directly at their open-to-the-public warehouse. It’s their transparency and commitment to quality relationships that ensures Mike’s Organic customers get the healthiest, finest-quality, locally sourced produce and ingredients. Find Mike’s Organic online, on Facebook , and on InstagramNaturals, headquartered in on
INFRA Events at Expo West!
FOR INFRA MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATE RETAILERS
INFRA Retailer Meeting & Light Breakfast
You asked for it and you got it! At EXPO East you told the INFRA Team that you wanted time to connect with each other, talk new products and trends, and get prepared together for the show floor! With support from SPINS and INFRA’s Category Management team, that is exactly what we’ll do!
Wednesday, March 8 from 9am–10am
INFRA Retailer Dinner
Join your INFRA peers for a night of networking, fun, and good food!
Wednesday, March 8 from 6pm–10pm
Floor Walks with INFRA Purchasing Team
INFRA’s category experts work hard to bring you deals each month, and now they’d like to meet with YOU! If you find show floors to be overwhelming, want a deeper dive into worthwhile brands, or if you’d like a friend to explore with – join us!
INFRA Members and Associate Retailers Can Register Here in the Members-Only-Area (MOA)!
FOR VENDOR AND INDUSTRY PARTNERS
Get to Know INFRA
We are once again hosting a get-together to “Get to Know INFRA” at EXPO West. With a nice “EXPO morning” balance between presenting on the INFRA of today and socializing, we welcome future INFRA Members, vendors, brokers, and industry partners to join us. - P.S. We’ll have coffee!
Friday, March 10 from 8am–9am
Bottom left: Sarah from Cambridge Naturals, MA and INFRA
Join the INFRA Team!
INFRA continues to grow to better serve our members. We’d love to connect with like-minded, mission-driven folks! Check out current openings in Promotions, Member Success, and Administrative team roles. Or check back – INFRA is regularly adding new capabilities to our team. On the near horizon: Insights, Data, Reporting Analytics, Member Education, and Member Programs positions.
You can see current openings here!Top left: Bruce from Nutrition World, FL and Steve from Nature’s Pavilion, NJ with INFRA Manager, Member Success Kelly Miles at the INFRA Retailer Dinner at Expo West 2022 right: Daniel, Stella, and Noel from Stehly Farms Organics, CA at the INFRA Retailer Meeting at Expo West President & CEO Pat Sheridan at the INFRA Retailer Meeting at Expo West
SPINS Predictions: 3 for ‘23JIM OLSON INFRA ON-SITE & SPINS ACCOUNT MANAGER
As we end yet another eventful year where major economic factors affected everyone, it’s time to look ahead to 2023 and the unique trends that will shape the health and wellness industry. Over the last year, cost and value have become even more important to food shoppers, yet they remain determined to sample new products, ensure personal wellbeing, and support planetary health.
Sustainability at the Forefront
Sustainability is a hot topic every year but is poised for a breakthrough in 2023 as shoppers become more intentional about how their purchases affect the environment. According to IRI OmniConsumer Survey Solutions from June 2022, 77% of shoppers consider sustainability as a factor when selecting products. Shoppers want to support brands and retailers that align with their values and brands are responding by increasingly interweaving their sustainability efforts with their product identity. See Neutral Foods and GoodSam as excellent examples.
SPINS has also evolved to help retailers track the sales impact of this movement. Products that are Certified Upcycled grew 26% in the Natural Channel last year, and 37% within INFRA alone! SPINS will soon unveil Regenerative Organic Certified as another useful filter to best track this trend both inside and outside your store as this trend will likely remain a top priority for the foreseeable future.
While the pandemic saw upwards of 20% growth in alcohol sales, many shoppers are now seeking to avoid alcohol either temporarily or long-term. 2022 Alcohol Sales saw a 6% decline across both the Natural Channel and INFRA, while Non-Alcoholic Sales increased 45% across both channels!
Until recently, NA options were limited to beers, sparkling ciders, and water. Now, alcohol-free shoppers have dozens of options for ready-to-drink mocktails, mixers, and liquors with the flavors and aromas of their traditional counterparts. Brands like Ritual and Hiyo have created packaging that is sleek, appealing, and fits in comfortably on store shelves and home bars. As many kick off 2023 with the Dry January challenge, it will be pertinent to cater to shoppers joining this movement.
Private Label in the Limelight
Several factors are coming together to raise private label’s profile: First, many conventional retailers have upped the quality and diversity of their private label offerings with organic, plant-based, and other wellness-adjacent options that are just as flavorful and high quality as their big-name counterparts. Second, inflation concerns continue to make private label’s lower prices attractive to budget-conscious consumers. Third, the ongoing supply chain concerns continue to leave many shelves bare and force shoppers to consider alternative options.
Looking more broadly across SPINS Natural + Conventional data – grocery, refrigerated, and frozen – consumers have helped push private label growth more than 50% ahead of national brands. These factors are not subsiding anytime soon, and private label products will continue to reap the rewards.
In 2023, anticipate seeing these trends in the food industry on dinner tables, in lunch boxes, and on store shelves. Shoppers will continue to pursue wellness in their own individual ways, and they’ll be looking to their favorite retailers to provide them with the products that will help them achieve it. It will be important for retailers to deliver value while still meeting these wider shopper expectations & trends
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2023 INFRA Annual Conference
June 25–28, 2023 in St. Paul, MN
Celebrate the 10th INFRA Annual Conference with us this summer… But back to where it all began in 2013 – St Paul! Still located on the Mississippi River, but “in that other Twin City,” the new location offers the opportunity for us to expand our education, host more members, and welcome a record number of industry partners and exhibitors to the Tabletop Buying Show.
MARK THE DATES ON YOUR CALENDAR AND LOOK FOR RETAILER REGISTRATION OPENING IN FEBRUARY!
Conference Schedule At-A-Glance & Keynotes
Sunday, June 25
• Conference kick-off!
• Opening Reception & Dinner
Monday, June 26
• Keynote by Cynthia Tice
• Education Sesssions
• Member Dinner & Brix Awards
Tuesday, June 27
• Keynote by Paco Underhill
• Tabletop Buying Event
• Community Celebration with Industry Partners
Wednesday, June 28
• Deep Dive Education Sessions
• Retail Walking Tour with Keynote Speaker, Paco Underhill
• Conference Concludes
Founding President of Envirosell Expert on Global Consumer Trends
Applications for the INFRA Annual Conference Tabletop Are Now Open!
Now’s the time to prepare for the INFRA Annual Conference Tabletop! To celebrate ten years of the INFRA Annual Conference, we’re making our Tabletop the biggest yet. We’re in a bigger venue so we can include more than 300 vendors – nearly double last year!
In expanding the Tabletop, our goal is to connect and forge relationships with more vendor and industry partners than ever. And that’s not all!
This year, INFRA is launching a hosted buyers program, which sponsors buyers from INFRA Member stores to attend the conference. That’s right – we have a new program to directly facilitate connections between INFRA Members and vendors. That means maximizing buying opportunities and face-to-face connections.
APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN AND DUE ON MONDAY, JANUARY 23.
Click here to view and submit your application. Time is running out, so click the link and join us at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in Minnesota this June! We’d love to see you!
Want to learn more? Click here to read the press release Click here to view all the details on our website!
Questions? Contact Meggie Smith, Communications Manager with questions about Sponsorship Opportunities, or Hannah Gomes, Community Lead with questions about the Tabletop.Cynthia Tice Founder of Sweet Lily’s Partner at BeyondBrands Paco Underhill
The INFRA Team Continues to Grow. Welcome!
I am thrilled to be joining INFRA as the Supply Agreement Lead. In this role, I will use data to guide member engagement and participation with our Supply Agreement Program. I will continue to drive a successful distribution partnership with KeHE and find opportunities for growth for all stakeholders. This is a pivotal moment to join INFRA as we grow and evolve with a diverse group of members. I am excited to contribute to our growth and success as the Supply Agreement Lead.HOPE TIPTON Supply Agreement Lead firstname.lastname@example.org
I am originally from Lexington, Kentucky but have been calling Saint Paul, Minnesota home for the past 15 years. My fiancé and I spend our free time snowboarding and traveling as much as we can. We are lucky to have ridden many beautiful mountains and shared some remarkable adventures together.
For more than a decade, I have been a servant leader in the cooperative grocery retail space. My experiences leading at the store level, collaborating with distribution, and practicing compliance with an association have all equipped me to positively contribute to INFRA’s mission and encourage robust cooperation of members. I look forward to navigating the challenges our industry is currently facing with inflation, supply shortages, labor, and the many variables that go into bringing food to our communities at a competitive price. With the strength of our KeHE partnership and our members, collaboratively we can make a positive impact on the food system and the communities we serve.
Greetings, INFRA friends! I couldn’t be more thrilled about joining the INFRA team as the new Technology Support Specialist! In a time when technological advances can occur in the blink of an eye, I hope to use the knowledge and experience I’ve brought with me to INFRA to help alleviate the trepidation often caused by the rapidly changing world of technology, as well as help with any tech-related frustrations that may arise!
I was born and raised here in Minnesota, and not wanting to fall victim to the cliché of being trapped forever in our hometown, my significant other and I took the leap of moving to Saint Paul in April of last year. We brought with us our two cats, Ash and Obsidian, and we’ve all loved every minute of living here in Saint Paul. I enjoy spending time outdoors doing just about anything, but you’ll most likely find me playing disc golf, weather permitting.
Technology Support Specialist email@example.com
Growing up in a low-income household and having limited access to healthy food, the overall lack of affordable healthy food options was always something that I felt needed to be drastically improved. Having the opportunity to work for an organization aimed at doing just that, while also continuing to explore my passion for all things technology, is nothing short of a dream come true. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for INFRA and look forward to helping provide the technological means that takes us there!
INFRA Team Celebrations
INFRA Team Q1 Anniversaries
Greta Sikorski • 7 Years
Director of Operations
Meggie Smith • 6 Years
John Fieldstrom • 6 Years
Member Business Advisor
Michael Paynic • 6 Years Fresh Retail Consultant
Andy Huth • 3 Years
Purchasing Manager, Product & Promotions
Hannah Gomes • 2 Years Community Lead
Sara Fulton-Koerbling • 2 Years
Retail Marketing Lead
Austin Hinkle • 2 Years Promotions Marketing Lead
Colleen Valko • 2 Years Business Analyst
Courtney Worden • 1 Year Promotions Coordinator
Joe Campbell • 1 Year Marketing & Communications Specialist
Dale Carlson • 1 Year Technology Manager
2022–2023 Board of Directors
Emily Kanter, Board Chair Cambridge Naturals
John Wood, Vice Chair
The Green Grocer
Summer Auerbach, Secretary Rainbow Blossom
Sasha Galitzki, Treasurer New Moon Natural Foods
Jason Bander Good N’ Natural/LifeThyme
Terry Brett Kimberton Whole Foods
2022-23 INFRA Board of Directors at the 2022 INFRA Annual Conference in Minneapolis last July.
From left, back row: Terry Brett, Kimberton Whole Foods; John Pittari, New Morning Market; Jason Bander, Good N’ Natural/ LifeThyme; Adam Stark, Debra’s Natural Gourmet; Emily Kanter, Cambridge Naturals; Laughing Water, Real Food Market & Deli; Pat Sheridan, INFRA;
From left, front row: Mylese Tucket, Nature’s Cupboard; Sasha Galitzki, New Moon Natural Foods; Summer Auerbach, Rainbow Blossom; John Wood, The Green Grocer; Brian Kvistad, Blossom Grocery (Not pictured).