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The farm shop and deli industry, in particular, is currently in the grip of some pretty powerful forces. Public Health England's 2018 published figures inform us that the average fibre intake in adults is 19g per day. The recommended lowest level is 30g per day. 26% of adults were classified as obese - an increase of 15% since 1993. But it's only when we start to look at the health of planet earth that things get really scary. Industrial level animal agriculture is responsible for destroying 14,400 acres of rainforest every single day, while it is also the leading source of carbon-dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane emissions. With the planet's population set to increase from 7.5 to 9.7 billion by 2050, it doesn't take much imagination to realise that things are getting pretty serious.

Fortunately, Issac Newton was bang on the money when he said "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". That's lucky. And in this case that opposite is a veritable tidal wave of pro-action, up action, direct action and bottom line action in the world of healthy eating - for us and the planet. The world and his dog is going completely bonkers for a holistic answer to the health Armageddon that we are apparently careering towards like a hell-fired comet on a path to destruction.

It's often tempting to step back from what can appear at first glance to be hysteria. All too often, overreaction results in burst bubbles and burnt fingers. But when the trigger for reaction is based on total planet destruction, as opposed to an over-indulgence in rocket salad, it may be worth getting involved. The health and wellness industry is now worth $4.2 trillion globally. Mintel has stated that demand for meat-free food increased by a staggering 987% in 2017, while sales of such foods were estimated to hit £740 million.

Once again, this information overload with head-spinning figures can be overwhelming for the independent speciality food retailer. All too often there can be the feeling of clinging by fingertips onto the coat tails of a shelf-sweeping trend. Just swapping one line for another that's more in vogue isn't really taking on board and running with a powerful new movement. It's time to lead again, not follow.

Clearly, as with anything in life, if you have a genuine interest or passion for it, driving it forward on a commercial basis becomes a whole lot easier - and enjoyable. And while I'm not suggesting signing up at the nearest gym or start eating like an Olympic marathon runner, reading and researching the subject will open a whole new world of information and inspiration. However, as with all things online-based, this needs to be focused and filtered. The world of disinformation is far bigger than the small world of accurate, science-based research - especially in the fields of health and nutrition. The idea here is to empower and enthuse you - perhaps even taking steps to transform your own health and wellness. Let's face it, nothing sells better than a personal journey of self-discovery.

Once armed with the info, it's time to convert that new found knowledge into the right product line and experience for exponential sales. There's certainly no shortage of professionals who will be only too eager to share their knowledge with you and your customers. Maybe a local personality personal trainer for a weekend boot camp followed by a hearty healthy breakfast in the farm shop cafe. There's a plant-based restaurant close to where I live that has teamed up with a yoga teacher to offer Sunday morning yoga sessions with breakfast (served afterwards of course). This isn't just about selling more product, this is real community building on a level that the retail giants and ecommerce sites simply can't compete with.

Perhaps you can market your initiatives to your local health and running clubs. This is an enormous market that is always looking for a reason to spend their money with like-minded retailers that have their interests at heart. It's a win win. As a health and wellness convert myself, just writing this stuff excites and motivates me. I actually want a reason to head down to a local independent retailer and hand over my hard-earned cash in exchange for not just a product to consume, but one that satisfies my soul too. Now that's a priceless commodity. On that note, I'm going to be all ears at the live speaker stage at this years Farm Shop & Deli Show. It's all set to be a hot-bed for healthy mind, body and business. But before that, I'm heading straight for a spot of yoga and mashed avocado on sourdough toast.

Take a look at previous FEAST articles here.