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Educating Customers on Natural Health

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— October 2, 2019

Educating Customers on Natural Health

  • Haars Health Food, Vineland, New Jersey.
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As you may have noticed, not everything sold as “natural” is actually healthy.

Nutritionist Bob Haars of Haars Health Food in Vineland, New Jersey, teaches people to make food choices that will enhance their wellness, and he makes a point of offering good-quality products in his store.

Haars often lectures at schools and colleges and on the radio, discussing such topics as nutrition, high blood pressure, kidney and liver issues, and how to detoxify the system. Most important, he believes, is how we eat.

“People aren’t getting the nutritional value they need,” says Haars. “They should be spending more time in the produce section and less time in the snack aisle. They’re going for feel-good foods, but the feeling good is only temporary.”

In addition to reducing intake of processed foods, Haars advises students and customers to consider sources and ingredients. A product advertised as “pure” may indeed contain only one or a few plant ingredients—but the plants may have been grown with GMOs (genetically modified organisms), the health effects of which are of concern to many people. Many vitamins sold in drugstores contain synthetic substances with a few natural items thrown in, observes Haars.

He does research before stocking the store with items like CBD, the substance derived from hemp that has become popular for treating a range of issues from anxiety to muscle pain. “We’re not taking a company’s word for it that their CBD is full-spectrum and natural,” Haars says. “We’re getting third-party assays to prove it’s what we expect it to be.”

The Haars family started out selling produce 85 years ago. Since then, their selection of natural foods and products has been continuously growing: The current store has over 30,000 items in a building of 4000 square feet, with another 1000 square feet of cold storage and upstairs offices.

The store carries several lines of imported foods. “European food products are cleaner, with fewer additives,” notes Haars. “They don’t use corn syrup or fructose or preservatives. They are conscious of their food supply.”

When customers ask for recommendations to enhance overall health, Haars suggests beginning with a good multivitamin.

“You have to make sure you’re getting a little bit of everything,” he explains. “You might be missing something if you’re rushing out the door with a donut and a cup of coffee. Vitamins E and C are important to keep the immune system up there. But the vitamins need to be all natural. Synthetics are hard on the kidneys and liver. And I tell people to eat a lot of fruits and fresh vegetables. “
The majority of Haars’ clients are middle-aged, educated people who “have looked into keeping healthy and are trying to hold off the aging process. We also get younger people who have gone on the Internet and bought products based on price, without knowing the quality.

“When something is not working, they come to us, and I’ll show them a good product. I never thought the industry would get to where it is now. I thought it would stay good quality, but everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.”

Haars feels that the excellence of the store’s products is what keeps customers coming back.

“Any store that doesn’t do its homework isn’t going to survive. We stick to product lines that are not going into mass marketing just to make sales; we are more interested in health. We look for companies that want to make a difference.”

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