Trust comes through transparency.
With more products on the shelves and more participants in the natural products industry than ever before, the conversation around transparency is more important than ever.
For almost thirty years, New Hope Network has worked with brands to help ensure their products meet ingredient and labeling standards. This helps brands, especially those launching new products, to quickly and affordably know whether they are meeting basic formulation and labeling requirements that natural and organic retailers prioritize.
But transparency goes much further, because as a mission-oriented industry, natural and organic brands, retailers, and investors are no longer focused only on the product itself, but also on its impact. There are many ways that brands make an impact, and differentiation increasingly relies on finding products that not only meet retailer-specific requirements but also align with how retailers want to make their own impact and serve their customers. We see an industry looking for faster and easier ways to find products that match customer requirements, and the desire to stand out for positive impact.
That’s why we created Beacon Discovery, a year-round discovery platform that helps brands stand out to retailers and investors most interested in what brands are offering and why they exist. With over 100 filters for certifications, diets, and other attributes, retailers can easily find products that meet their needs. Because brands are as unique as the founders who started them, Beacon Discovery goes beyond filters and certifications, so brands can tell their story and mission in their own words, and explain how their products are made.
Beacon Discovery also gives brands tools to further differentiate and accelerate their impact. Each food and dietary supplement product receives a sustainability impact estimate calculated by HowGood, a third-party analyst that is the world’s largest sustainable food ingredient database. Brands can choose whether they want to have these estimates visible on Beacon Discovery. All brands receive these estimates at no extra cost and start-up and emerging brands have the opportunity, at a deep discount, to work with HowGood directly to customize those estimates with more granular data. This makes it easier, especially, for young brands, to be competitive in a world increasingly focused on sustainability.
Beacon Discovery also highlights brands who take steps to ensure that their packaging meets federal labeling requirements, with the MarketReady Verified distinction. Additionally, Beacon Discovery provides commercial information like sales metrics, which brokers represent a brand, and the distributors and regions in which the products are sold. It even gives brands the opportunity to feature their product marketing and social media assets all in one place, so retailers can discover products, download collateral, request samples, order from their distributor by UPC, and find the links they need to advertise brands’ products to their customers.
Brands can be found year-round on Beacon Discovery, and during events like Natural Products Expo favorited brands appear on the show map so buyers can navigate directly to them.
Beacon Discovery is all about transparency and choice. It was built to make discovery faster, more reliable, and more transparent using metrics that matter. Brands want to be seen for who they are and what they do, and retailers want to stock products that reflect their own values. Some brands will be noticed for impressive sales metrics from SPINS, others may have great sustainability estimates because they’re small, or because they are well funded and invest in sustainability. Beacon Discovery helps natural and organic brands stand out from the conventional marketplace (and competitors) and gives everyone the ability to choose how they want to impact the world for the better.
Creating a platform with this level of transparency and convenience demonstrates the level of cooperation and commitment our industry shares for the health of people and planet. Brands exhibiting at Natural Products Expos have invested time to provide information about their business, upload their product labels for review, and share who they are, what they do, and why. New Hope Network’s robust standards team reviews incoming products; not every brand makes it into Expo or onto Beacon Discovery – when retailers find a brand at the show or on Beacon Discovery, they know that it has been vetted.
Here at New Hope Network, we believe in shining a light on our own processes, as well as those of the brands we promote on Beacon Discovery, to maintain a high level of quality and integrity and to increase retailer and consumer confidence. We hope to elevate and accelerate the impact the industry makes by giving brands the knowledge and tools to make affordable improvements in sustainability and transparency, so they can shine in the industry for doing the right thing. Learn more about New Hope Network’s transparency initiatives in our article, Navigating Integrity in the Natural Products CPG Industry.
The defining feature of Natural Products Expos is grounded in New Hope Network’s Standards Program. You’ll find these same standards applied to Beacon Discovery and featured as the basic ingredient template for retailers to use when starting their search for products.
The Standards Team works with brands to help ensure their products meet New Hope Network’s ingredient and labeling standards, alerting them when they identify an issue, and referring them to the MarketReady team for assistance as needed. Learn more about our standards here and MarketReady services here.
Brands provide information about their business and product labels to the Standards team through a new exhibitor application, returning exhibitor form, or Beacon Discovery-only application. We use a product portal powered by SPINS (and their Pinto product intelligence technology). Brands can upload directly in the Standards Application or connect with a member of our Audience Success Team, who can assist with the upload process.
We see more than 30,000 products each year, and moving so many products through the portal takes some time. We encourage all brands to submit their new exhibitor applications or returning exhibitor forms as early as possible. There is currently no limit to the number of products a brand may upload, so long as each product meets our standards. Once a brand is uploaded, it will only need to add newly launched products when it resubmits for a future event or, for non-exhibiting brands, when renewing its Beacon Discovery subscription.
Beacon Discovery is much more than a directory because it provides, in one place, many new and different metrics and tools to find products that meet practical, value-driven, and mission-oriented objectives. These include criteria like avoiding prohibited ingredients, sustainability impact estimates, processing transparency, regulatory compliance, distributer and broker detail, high-level velocity and sales metrics, and robust filtering with over 100 categories aligned with SPINS shelf category architecture.
Beacon Discovery is the brand-retailer discovery platform that matches brands with buyers based on New Hope Network’s standards and the transparency and priorities that retailers say they want. Beacon Discovery identifies connections based on ingredient preferences, values, mission, and more than 100 other filters, including a sustainability impact estimate from HowGood, then lets buyers reach out to brands. Beacon Discovery also integrates with the show experience at Natural Products Expos East and West, making it easier for buyers to find the brands on the show floor.
The natural and organic product community says that New Hope Network is valuable because it offers so many of the resources needed to be successful in the industry – events, content, education, connections, investment opportunities, matchmaking, and more. Because of our reach, we can bring together key partners and resources, and leverage it all in one place.
Beacon Discovery is a unique combination of data-driven criteria along with brand stories and mission. Some of the data on Beacon Discovery comes from New Hope Network, but we also rely on carefully chosen third party partners who are thoughtful and thorough in their methodology, transparent, and committed to making a positive impact on the industry and the world.
A leading wellness-focused data company and passionate advocate for natural and organic retailers and brands. Their product attribute engine facilitates product discovery in Beacon Discovery, taking all label data, processing and sorting it in relevant ways to support Beacon Discovery’s robust filtering system based on what each label itself says. Enhanced filtering, ingredient, and label validation helps match products to buyer criteria.
Additionally, the New Hope Product Portal, used for uploading labeling images into Beacon Discovery, is powered by their Pinto product intelligence tool. SPINS also provides sales metrics for each product in Beacon Discovery.
In the past, brands may not have had access to an affordable impact estimate that demonstrates transparency when it comes to sustainability. In Beacon Discovery, brands receive a sustainability impact estimate from HowGood, the world’s largest sustainable ingredient database. Retailers tell us they are looking for this kind of transparency, and it can be a major differentiator for products when they’re choosing which ones to buy. Beacon Discovery gives smaller brands insight and access to the information retailers and customers want to know.
We encourage brands to show their estimates on Beacon Discovery because retailers tell us they are looking for this kind of transparency; even when brands aren’t perfect. If you prefer not to have them published, please contact us at [email protected] to opt out.
HowGood ranks every product relative to the product category, giving a score of Good, Better, or Best. In this system, even “Good” is amazing, better than 70% of all products HowGood has assessed. This is valuable information for investors, retailers, and can help brands on their sustainability journey.
While these estimates don’t provide full details on Beacon Discovery, such as actual carbon estimates, HowGood’s ranking system (relative to the product category) gives buyers a strong sense of the product’s impact, and can even be used as a starting place in determining their own Scope 3 impact as retailers, where publicly traded groceries may soon need to report the emissions produced by products they sell. Even if those regulations don’t go into effect, companies of all sizes are adopting new behavior to proactively address emissions reporting requirements, and the expectations of the industry will also evolve. Whether a brand is a multi-billion-dollar food conglomerate or looking to get stocked on its first grocery shelf, transparency around impact is becoming increasingly important to consumers, investors, and publicly traded retailers.
If a brand wants more detail, as well as informed recommendations on how they might improve their estimates, they can work directly with HowGood. Learn more here.
Every product on Beacon Discovery goes through a rigorous standards review, and we only accept those that align with high qualifications for natural and organic ingredients, as well as transparency and truth-telling in product information, labeling, and marketing claims. During the standards review process, we validate USDA organic, non-GMO certified claims, and gluten-free certified claims. This helps brands stay current and gives retailers confidence.
There are some claims brands make that are not verified, where we trust the brands themselves to speak with integrity, such as whether a product is kosher or vegan. We also rely on some certifications that are claimed. We don’t review a company’s website or social media for claims, that’s beyond our scope.
Beacon Discovery provides helpful tool tips when it comes to certain kinds of claims. For example, under top attributes we provide insight into whether a claim is on packaging; for certifications, we explain what is being certified, along with links to the certifying body.
For more information on our standards, click here. For more information on how claims are verified, such as whether they are label claims as opposed to calculated or certified claims, look for the Tool Tips in Beacon Discovery.
We do our best to verify as much as possible and continue improving and providing further transparency around our process.
When natural products businesses enter our New Hope Network ecosystem, we perform a labeling review to identify that ingredients and claims meet our standards. Some brands make corrections themselves. Others want affordable, accessible regulatory assistance to help bring labeling into both event and federal labeling compliance. MarketReady helps exhibitors and non-exhibitors do both easily and efficiently. MarketReady Verification costs $750 per label.
Our current version of Beacon Discovery features food and dietary supplement CPG brands that conform to Natural Products Expo standards (whether or not they are exhibiting at a show). On the discovery side, retailers, exhibiting ingredient suppliers, investors, and service providers can search for brands. Pet, cosmetic, and body care brands are coming in 2024.
Beacon Discovery is an inclusion in all booth contracts for Expo East 2023 and Expo West 2024 so there is no additional cost to exhibiting brands – and brands onboarding in 2023 can upload unlimited products, at no additional cost!
For non-exhibiting brands, the cost is $2,000 for one year.
There are two ways to use Beacon Discovery – exhibition inclusions (included in the Expo booth price) and non-exhibitor subscriptions. Exhibitor inclusions will run January through December and non-exhibitor subscriptions will be annual, beginning on the subscription date and ending a year later.