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Inclusive Business and Impact Investing
The first and highest rated scoop.it blog on sustainable and inclusive business and impact investing. The curations are mine.
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Gateways to Impact: Industry Survey of Financial Advisors on Sustainable and Impact Investing

This report offers the results of a survey of approximately 1,000 financial advisors in the United States regarding their ideas about “sustainable” investment, which involves aiming to generate a financial return while also creating social or environmental benefits. The survey examines: (1) the interest levels of investors in sustainable investing; (2) barriers to recommending sustainable investments and solutions to these barriers; and (3) the market potential for the incorporation of sustainable investments into client portfolios. The survey found that 21 percent of advisors surveyed showed high interest and engagement in sustainable investment, 16 percent of advisors showed interest and were relatively engaged, 25 percent were interested but not significantly engaged, 25 percent showed little interest and engagement and 13 percent demonstrated very little interest in such investment. Advisors saw three major barriers to sustainable investing: (1) perceptions of insufficient track records and weak financial performance; (2) perception of insufficient client demand; (3) lack of access to research and information; and (4) lack of comfort in advising clients on such investment. Overall, 69 percent of advisors saw such investment as an opportunity to expand their companies. One estimate of the sustainable investing market potential is USD 650 billion.

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OPIC Selects GATE Global Impact as Originator in Enterprise Development Network

OPIC Selects GATE Global Impact as Originator in Enterprise Development Network | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON, DC, Jul 12, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution, has selected GATE Global Impact, a New York-based financial services company, to serve as an originator for a growing alliance with the private sector designed to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expanding into emerging markets overseas.

The alliance, the Enterprise Development Network (EDN), is expanding the ability of OPIC -- the U.S. government agency charged with facilitating U.S. private sector investment in emerging markets -- to provide financing to SMEs doing business in developing countries.

Through the support of financial institutions, business consultants, associations, law firms and regional investment promotion agencies, EDN is designed to enhance SME access to OPIC products and services. By empowering such service providers, the network is resulting in more efficient, cost-effective delivery of services to American businesses.

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Sharing lessons on inclusive business - The Practitioner Hub - Business Fights Poverty

Sharing lessons on inclusive business - The Practitioner Hub - Business Fights Poverty | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Collaborating, innovating, asking hard questions and learning from others....are all vital ingredients for successful inclusive business. Every inclusive business project is unique but many of the opportunities, risks and challenges it faces are not. And every project, whether it succeeds or not, will provide a wealth of understanding that can be used to inform and improve future ventures.

 

The Business Innovation Facility, a three year pilot programme supported by the Department for International Development, is now at its halfway point. A significant amount of knowledge and tools are already coming out of projects that are being developed in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia. The experiences ‘on the ground’ are providing new ways of thinking about inclusive business – particularly which types of projects and support work, which don’t and, most importantly, why. 

 

Sharing this knowledge is an essential part of the Facility’s remit. It teamed up Innovations Against Poverty, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency to develop the Practitioner Hub - a website where this knowledge can be shared and where practitioners can connect, share experiences and gain new insights to help inclusive business ventures grow. It focuses on what’s practical – the nuts and bolts of inclusive business.

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Africa gets major share of Indian investments worldwide

Africa has bagged a major share of about $3 billion that Indians invested every month around the world, says the head of a government agency that facilitates Indian investment abroad.

Dushyant Thakor, general manager of Invest India, was speaking Wednesday on the sidelines of a three-day Indian trade expo organised jointly by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Thakor, however, could not state the exact percentage of Indian investment in Africa but said the agency "has been able to assist investors who want to establish in Africa and this has been substantial".

He said the event saw the participation of over 200 Indian companies and "has been helpful to Indian businesses that want to invest in West Africa"

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The determinants of the sharp improvement in income distribution in Brazil

The determinants of the sharp improvement in income distribution in Brazil | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

The first high-level delegation of Uganda to visit Brazil for exchanges on social protection and inclusive growth policies took part in a full-week Study Tourprogramme on March 2012 in Brasilia and Formosa. The Uganda Delegation*, which was composed of ten senior government representatives – including Cabinet Ministers, will participated in a series of learning sessions, presentations and field visits with the aim of fostering knowledge exchanges around successful policy interventions aimed at reducing inequality and tackling extreme poverty viaproductive inclusion and cash transfers.

The Uganda-Brazil Study Tour on Social Development is an initiative of the Government of Uganda in collaboration with


Uganda Delegates visit Child Labour Eradication Programmes in Formosa, Goiás State of Brazil

Brazil’s Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS), Ministry of External Relations (MRE) with support from the Department for International Development (DFID, United Kingdom).

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Investing for social impact reaps more than financial returns, says Al Tamimi Investments - Business Intelligence Middle East - bi-me.com - News, analysis, reports

UAE. For Al Tamimi Investments (ATI), a boutique investment firm headquartered in the UAE, channelling its private capital for social benefit is reaping more than financial returns for its businesses.

In recent years, the group has been favouring ventures which support the local community, and now it intends to apply its impact investing approach to foreign markets.

ATI was founded in 2006 by Emirati business leader Essam Al Tamimi and Rachael Wunsch, an accomplished venture capitalist from Australia. Using personal capital gained from the success of his law firm Al Tamimi & Company, ATI sought to invest in businesses that would enrich and bring value to the UAE community.

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IndustryWeek : Difference Works -- Inclusion Ensures a Better Bottom Line

Caroline Turner knows firsthand that better decisions come from heterogeneous groups. As the first female to become a senior vice president of Coors Brewing Co. she understands that decision-making based on input from a variety of perspectives ensures smarter decisions.

 

These smarter decisions have a measureable impact on business metrics. According to Cumulative Gallup Workplace Studies cited in "Business Case for Diversity with Inclusion," organizations with inclusive cultures do better on several scores:

 

39% higher customer satisfaction

22% greater productivity

27% higher profitability

22% lower turnover

 

Further research from the Kellogg School of Business has concluded that heterogeneous groups make better decisions since all viewpoints have to be considered. With equal gender perspectives, decisions are more focused and take less time.

 

Would the same hold true for inclusive businesses?

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U.S. Foreign Assistance By Country Office - Dynamic Map

This map is a graphical representation of the Dashboard’s available data on foreign assistance appropriations by fiscal year. The darker a country’s shading appears on the map, the more funding that U.S. Government country office received in that fiscal year. Users can switch between fiscal years by using the dropdown box in the top right corner of the page. Users can choose a country by clicking the map or by selecting the name of the country from the drop down box above.

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Functional Shared Value - Forbes India

Functional Shared Value - Forbes India | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Will companies that create shared value offer positions that have the same titles as positions today, but fundamentally different roles? What might this look like?

 

The CSR Manager –> Change Agent
As Greg Hills blogged about a few months ago, the role of the CSR Manager (if a standalone role for this even exists in twenty years) will be a fundamentally different role than today. This person (Chief Shared Value Officer?) will be in charge of energizing and mobilizing internal assets and energy to deliver on the company’s shared value strategy and to ensure that different business units and functional units are working in cohesion. As Greg writes, they will be a teacher, a business strategist, an innovator, a facilitator, a collaborator and a knowledge agent.

 

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Horizon 2025: creative destruction in the aid industry

The global economic landscape has evolved dramatically since 2000: developing and emerging economies have been driving global growth, new sources of development finance have mushroomed and the diversification of actors, instruments and delivery mechanisms has continued. Transformations in the poverty map and new forces on the supply side of development finance arechallenging the international development architecture. This paper aims to stimulate debate on the future of this architecture.

The authors project that, by 2025, the locus of global poverty will overwhelmingly be in fragile, mainly low-income and African, states, contrary to current policy preoccupations with the transitory phenomenon of poverty concentration in middle-income countries. Moreover, a smaller share of industrialised country income than ever before will potentially close the remaining global poverty gap, although direct income transfers are not yet feasible in many fragile country contexts.

Against this backdrop, new institutions, business models and practices are challenging long-established ‘aid industry’ actors. Agencies providing development finance for improved social welfare, for mutual self-interest in growth and trade and for the provision of global public goods will find that, in each area, disruptors to their programmes may force a change in positioning. 

The paper focuses on one such disruptor for each of these three complementary rationales for development cooperation. The key disruptor we discuss in the first area is high-impact philanthropy and non-governmental giving channels; in the second, South–South cooperation combining trade and finance, and blended public–private funding in general; and in the third, the power ofclimate change finance, particularly its quite different country and project allocation logic.

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Blog: Partnering for Inclusive Business ‹ The Partnering Initiative

Blog: Partnering for Inclusive Business ‹ The Partnering Initiative | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Inclusive business (IB) projects, by definition, tend to sit in areas outside of companies’ traditional comfort zones. Whether providing incomes to disadvantaged people by including them in the company’s value chain, or developing new markets with pro-poor products or services, they are rarely business as usual, requiring a much stronger interaction with ‘society’ than traditional business. For most inclusive business models to work, companies must collaborate with those outside the private sector as implementing, intermediary, capacity-building or knowledge partners. For example:

To develop a pro-poor supply chain will mean building the capacity of suppliers to deliver the quality, quantity and security of supply required. Sourcing of agricultural products from smallholder farmers is a classic example in which companies may need to work with government extension services to provide technical support, NGOs to help develop cooperatives, and finance institutions to help fund farmer capital costs.
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LEARNING RETURNS: Impact Investing at the Education Turning Point

The time is now. The global education marketplace is a highly attractive place to invest for individuals and institutions seeking meaningful social impact and significant financial returns. The confluence of broadband, cheap access devices, powerful applications, global markets, and new business models creates a classic rising tide investment opportunity in large markets undergoing transformation. Impact investors who pursue a disciplined strategy of understanding, measuring and prioritizing both the social and financial aspects of the education investment opportunity can generate a business competitive advantage with unique personal benefits.

People with the capacity to invest have likely experienced the joy of learning. Now, those who participate in successful impact investing in education can realize the joy of enabling others to learn. As we have found in our own experience, this is a return worth seeking.

The global education market needs more impact investors, more capital and more innovation in all sectors and at all levels. We hope this paper provides insights, sparks conversations and inspires action among investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers and other essential stakeholders. 

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Making Capital Count: Presentation on Community Investing by Jed Emerson | Blog | Social Finance

Making Capital Count: Presentation on Community Investing by Jed Emerson | Blog | Social Finance | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Jed Emerson is a leading voice on impact investing.  In this video, Jed explores how foundations and other investors can have greater impact with thier assets, including investing directly in the community.  His ideas sparked a lively discussion with the Hamilton Community Foundation.

As a family, foundation, or as an endowement, a key consideration is, what is the full legacy of your value?   Jed takes a common sense approach to the value we create through our lives.   It is not about the money, but about the value we create.  We have a host of strategies that can employ our assets for long term value, thus engaging philanthropy to puruse blended value to its fullest. 

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Will Seattle Become The Capital Of Social Entrepreneurship?

Will Seattle Become The Capital Of Social Entrepreneurship? | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Nestled away in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle may be known more for software, coffee, and drizzly weather than for startups, but it’s aiming to become the center of entrepreneurship to solve social and environmental issues. 

 

“Seattle is interesting; it’s the number one most charitable city in the nation--meaning that largest number of people who donate money--and it has lots of new tech companies alongside established ones like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing,” says Lindsey Engh, who works at The Hub Seattle, which rents space to startups and forms connections with investors.

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The private sector must be included in a post-2015 development framework

Businesses operating in developing countries should use their influence to strengthen national government systems, rather than bypassing them if progress is to be made on global poverty reduction.

The recommendation is made in a new briefing published today by IDS. Private Foundations, Business and Developing a Post-2015 Framework calls on the private sector to be included in discussions about a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It particularly highlights the positive role businesses could play in strengthening national government systems.

The briefing is published as government ministers, civil society leaders and UN officials meet in New York for the UN Development Cooperation Forum on 5 – 6 July. The Forum is set to review trends in development cooperation (development aid) and includes a roundtable on the role of private philanthropic organisations in development.

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Delizia and milk producers in the Altiplano: a new value chain for local development » CSR without borders

Delizia and milk producers in the Altiplano: a new value chain for local development » CSR without borders | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

The farming poverty trap in the Altiplano

The Altiplano is a rural plateau in West Bolivia, at the border with Chile and Peru. This is one of the poorest regions in the country, where economic opportunities are very limited. Agriculture is the main source of revenue, but its financial returns are limited and families earn very little. Many farmers produce milk and cheese, but produce only small quantities with high seasonality. There are only small, low productivity farms.

These families miss basic farming infrastructures, such as cowsheds and mangers, and lack technical skills. This affects productivity and makes farms more sensitive to seasons. In winter (July-August), productivity drops by 30 to 40%.

Farmers are not able to produce more to meet the market’s demand and earn more:

Lack of technical skills and basic infrastructure is responsible for low productivity. Investments would be necessary to produce more. But farmers have no investment capacity. To produce more, farmers should buy more productive cows. But they cannot afford such an investment. No financial institution would be willing to give a farmer a loan without hard collateral or a guaranteed market. This is a vicious circle, a poverty trap.
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The Rockefeller Foundation Finds Impact Investing Key to Driving Development :: News :: The Rockefeller Foundation

Setting up development partnerships that are inclusive, effective and sustainable was the focus of a UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) forum that just wrapped up in New York.

The Rockefeller Foundation was one of the participants of the 2012 Development Cooperation Forum.One of the missions of the Rockefeller Foundation is to affect social change. Historically, it has given more than $14 billion in current dollars to thousands of grantees worldwide. Julie Walker spoke with Heather Grady Vice President of Foundation Initiatives for The Rockefeller Foundation about the organization's work.

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Will Private Finance Support Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries? Historical Investment Patterns as a Window on Future Private Climate Finance | Publications at SEI

Will Private Finance Support Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries? Historical Investment Patterns as a Window on Future Private Climate Finance | Publications at SEI | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

This working paper explores what historical patterns of investment reveal about the potential for the private sector to play a significant role in raising and delivering climate finance, specifically in the context of the adaptation needs of developing countries.

Private-sector finance has been widely embraced as an important part of efforts to scale up resources for developing countries to respond to climate change. Yet there has been very little analysis of what private finance means for developing countries, and whether it will really deliver what is intended.

The author finds that private-sector finance is unevenly distributed among countries and among sectors, and it often does not match developing countries' most pressing needs. Also important is to differentiate between different financial flows - foreign direct investment equity vs. portfolio equity, for example, and equity vs. lending - and more closely scrutinise both financial flows and outcomes.

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Why diluted investments are diluting cleantech’s impact

Why diluted investments are diluting cleantech’s impact | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Recently there has been significant discussion about what constitutes financial success in cleantech. At a minimum, VCs want 10X returns on a few deals to get excited about a sector. The company I founded, SunEdison, and many other deals fell short of this goal, good returns, but not 10X returns. So now most cleantech funds have to go back out to investors with sub-par return results and raise a new fund – not an easy thing to do these days.

Some folks, like my friend Sunil Paul, are pushing the CleanWeb. This is an asset-light investor play that is an offshoot of what Sand Hill Road VCs like to do, companies likeSidecar and Opower.  Given that 20 percent plus of all energy can be offset with ICT (Internet Communications Technologies) this is a very plausible way to go.  However, this is unsatisfying for me.

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The Trouble With Impact Investing, P3 (SSIR)

The Trouble With Impact Investing, P3 (SSIR) | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

When you do a three- part series called “The Trouble with Impact Investing,” people might reasonably conclude that you just don’t like impact investing. Not so—I think that if we do it right, impact investing might do a lot of good. At the Mulago Foundation, we’ve done three deals with good results and there are more in the pipeline.

The trouble isn’t with the idea itself, but how it’s played out so far. I’ve worked with more than 200 social entrepreneurs in the past couple of years and talked to lots of investors. Here is how we could blow it:

1. We’re not serious about impact.

When it comes to impact investments, the business model is usually the primary focus, and enterprises place surprising little emphasis on assuring real impact. Too often, the case for impact is pretty sketchy.

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From Potential to Action: Bringing Social Impact Bonds to the U.S.

From Potential to Action: Bringing Social Impact Bonds to the U.S. | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

There is considerable buzz in the United States about whether a new “pay for success” model of financing social solutions currently being piloted across the Atlantic could work on American soil. It’s called a social impact bond (SIB), and the first—in fact, the only so far—was launched in September 2010 by an organization called Social Finance UK.

SIBs are structured to get proven solutions to scale with no risk to public budgets—governments pay for the solutions only if they work. But despite this risk shifting, a SIB’s structure involves several actors—each charging a fee or return. As a result, this tool is a more expensive way to scale programs than if government simply contracted directly with a service provider. These additional costs will be worth it in many cases, but SIBs won’t be suited to every situation.

As part of our Social Innovation practice’s work in innovative finance and social impact assessment, we have conducted extensive research and interviewed more than 125 thought leaders in the government, nonprofit, and academic communities, as well as potential players in the SIB ecosystem, to determine the potential of SIBs in the United States. Our work was done in close cooperation with an advisory group that included representatives from all the stakeholder groups that will be represented in SIBs. This research has resulted in a full assessment of how SIBs would work, including how roles, responsibilities, and capacity would be defined within the system for each type of stakeholder in a SIB partnership.

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How Radical Sustainability Can Save Your Business

How Radical Sustainability Can Save Your Business | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

Iconic social-purpose brand Toms disrupted the shoe and eyewear categories with a one-for-one business model that donates a pair of shoes (or glasses) to a person in need for every pair that’s purchased. Bolstered by a powerful founder’s story, fashion-forward design, and feel-good marketing, the brand sky-rocketed to success based on the premise that buying the product meant doing good in the world.

 

What could possibly be wrong with that?

 

As has been widely reported on this site and elsewhere, quite a bit. Business strategist Cheryl Davenport helped expose the uncomfortable truth: “Toms isn’t designed to build the economies of developing countries. It’s designed to make Western consumers feel good. … Those ‘helped’ by Toms are, in the long-term, no more able to afford shoes or address the real social, economic, and health issues that they face than they were before.”

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Are aid agencies facing an existential threat? (10 July 2012) - News - Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Are aid agencies facing an existential threat? (10 July 2012) - News - Overseas Development Institute (ODI) | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

By 2025 the world will be closer than ever to ending global poverty and two thirds of the remaining 600m or fewer poor people will live in fragile and conflict affected states in Africa. That’s the estimate ofa new report from the Overseas Development Institute which concludes that aid agencies must overcome a major ‘existential threat’ if they are to prove ultimately effective at eradicating absolute poverty.

The Horizon 2025 report builds on projections that over 50% of global trade and spending will lie with economies beyond Europe and the US by the middle of the next decade.  By 2025 the world will be home to trillion dollar economies in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, China, Poland and Saudi Arabia, with several others close behind, and 78% of the global middle class will be from ‘developing’ countries - leading to a boom in exchanges between previously poor countries.

Large pockets of ‘stubborn poverty’ will remain in fragile and conflict affected states, mostly in Africa, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Report co-author Andrew Rogerson said:

“Aid agencies must adapt to new realities or face their own irrelevance. The increasing scope of philanthropic giving and peer-to-peer technology, the rise of southern economies and the scale of the challenge posed by climate change all pose questions for how traditional ‘aid’ can continue to yield  catalytic effects.”

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South American Private Equity

South America remains a popular region among private equity investors. With the region’s growing middle class and resulting emerging energy industry and sizeable infrastructure development needs, private equity deal flow, fundraising, and investor demand are likely to continue increasing. In Preqin’s H1 2012 survey, 23% of LPs indicated that South America presented attractive investment opportunities, with 25% directly referencing Brazil as an attractive market within emerging economies. Similarly, in our mid-2011 survey 28% of LPs quoted South America and a further 19% stated Brazil was offering the best investment opportunities within emerging markets. 

There are currently 69 private equity funds seeking capital commitments with a geographical focus that includes South America, targeting an aggregate $39.2bn. Twenty-three of those vehicles focus solely on investments in South America and are looking to raise $5.8bn in total. 

One of the largest funds in market with exposure to South America is Astra Natural Resources Fund, currently targeting $1bn. The vehicle looks to make investments in the oil & gas, mining, timber and natural resources sectors in Brazil. Another Latin America-focused fund, Angra Partners Fund 2, is seeking $500mn in commitments. It aims to make investments in medium size companies which are headquartered in, have a majority of their assets in, or derive a majority of their revenue from Brazil. 

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Natural, organic items grab bigger share in supermarkets

Natural, organic items grab bigger share in supermarkets | Inclusive Business and Impact Investing | Scoop.it

This isn't some exotic, hippy supermarket au natural. This is Kroger, one of the largest mainstream grocers in the nation.

"Used to be this was all very faddish," said Gregg Proctor, who heads up natural foods for Kroger's central division, which includes Indiana. "Not anymore. We're adding new items constantly because if we don't get it when it comes out, our competition will."

There seems to be a race to pure foods among the nation's largest supermarkets as they ramp up their offerings, even launch their own brands of organics and naturals, and then heavily advertise the healthy choice.

It all makes sense, considering sales of this segment of groceries are outpacing traditional grocery sales.

Nationwide, natural and organic food sales grew 8 percent in 2010 versus the less than 1 percent growth in the $630 billion total U.S. food market, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. It grew at about a 5 percent rate each year from 2005 to 2009.

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