MARCUS BLACKMORE: The crazy labelling of food products has created a huge opportunity

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The head of Australia’s most successful natural health business, Blackmores Australia, Marcus Blackmore, said today that increasingly confusing labelling of food products was creating a new demand for natural, nutritious foods.

Blackmores, which has seen its price explode from $32 a share 12 months ago to a whopping $200 a share — the first Australian stock to ever break the price benchmark, today opened a flagship store in Westfield Bondi Junction.

Marcus Blackmore. Photo: supplied.

Speaking alongside CEO Christine Holgate and managing director, Australia and New Zealand, David Fenlon, Blackmore said “consumers today are suspicious when they see ‘reduced salt’, ‘reduced fat’, ‘diet’ something else”.

“So what we’re seeing now is this strong movement towards natural food, organic food… Our time has come,” he said.

Here’s the speech Blackmore gave before cutting the ribbon to his first Australian store, reflecting on his father’s philosophies, the need to live healthier lives and listening to the consumer.

“They say good things come in threes. Christine was announced as the leading CEO of Australia on Thursday night, Friday night we won the national exporter of the year award and today we open our new store.

“The store for me is a bit of déjà vu.

“I wasn’t alive but in 1938 my father had a naturopathic health food store in Brisbane.

“You can imagine how strange it would have been in 1938 to have a naturopathic health food store.

“And essentially what we have done is recreated a similar sort of concept here.

“The important message I think for all of us is what the embodiment of this store is the underlying naturopathic philosophy. It’s not just a retail store to sell products. The whole space of natural health and natural foods, nutritional medicine can often be complex and confusing. This store is designed to reduce that complexity and to get rid of some of that confusion. We do that through the techniques in the store and naturopaths we have in the store and the various diagnostic tools and so on.

“It’s a very special occasion for us to have this store. It’s very meaningful for me, I’ve very proud. We do have about eight stores in Asia… hopefully there will be learnings that they can share with and us with them.

“I think our time has come. The very philosophies that our business was built on have been unchanged in 80 years.

“My father warned us about white sugar and refined carbohydrates, we were taking about the obesity problem that we’ve got. If they had listened to my father then there wouldn’t be these obesity problems. But unfortunately the message didn’t get quite out there. The message is really getting out there today.

“The fascinating thing to me is whole food restaurants seem to be popping up everywhere… they’re popping up because consumers want whole foods.

“Our consumers today are suspicious when they see ‘reduced salt’, ‘reduced fat’, ‘diet’ something else. They are particularly suspicious when the product is in a can, or a bottle and it’s got chemical ingredients in it that they can’t pronounce.

“So what we’re seeing now is this strong movement towards natural food, organic food, GMO free. What the consumer doesn’t want you to do is interfere with our food supply.

“Gluten free, I mean everything is gluten free, every restaurant makes gluten free offerings. Why? Only because of consumer pressure.

“Our time has come. The very underlying philosophical values that my father instilled in this company and the current people have carried on is still there today.”

The Blackmores flagship store will be staffed by qualified naturopaths and will provide an opportunity for customers to seek evidence-based information, and book a 20- or 45-minute private consultation, as well as be used for health seminars, workshops and small yoga classes.

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