The news was delivered at the recent HFMA AGM, held in person in London and attended by Health Food Business, where it was also announced that the organisation had two new Directors, promoted from within. At the same time, Executive Director, Graham Keen, announced his intention to scale back to four days a week, then to three, while searching for an eventual replacement for his role.
Industry gathered for the event at Pewterers Hall, in London, to hear from both Graham, Chair, Steve Mann, and Treasurer, Tom Moses, in what was the first AGM to be held in person since the pandemic. Graham revealed that the organisation welcomed 22 new members in 2021, commenting: “Interest in membership is as vibrant as it’s ever been, perhaps more so. We’ve had four years of record subs so thank you all for that.”
In terms of the brand update, a new look and feel to the HFMA branding have been released, with an updated logo and tag line demonstrating the clear and precise approach the HFMA takes, emphasising the core pillars of the organisation.
Graham told the AGM: “If you work in marketing, you will know how much heart and soul goes into this. It’s not something we do very often, and this is a progression of our HFMA logo. It’s amazing how quickly the old one looks dated. What we have is a new tagline that describes who we are and what we do – the voice of UK natural health. We will move forward now with this look and feel.”
Furthermore, there is a new member stamp, as well as a revamped website. As part of this, there have also been organisational changes, with Graham explaining: “I have been doing this for 15 years now. I have been thinking about how to pass the baton on in a structured and sensible way that’s in the best interests of the HFMA. I don’t want to do it at the rate I am doing it for much longer. Nothing is changing immediately but as of July 1, I am going to four days a week and as fast as possible to three days a week. I am going to spend the next year looking for my replacement and that person I hope will emerge without too much difficulty but in the meantime, I’m extremely happy to announce we are promoting from within. Two members of our team who share my passion to carry us into the future.”
This sees Dr Katie Burren made Director of Technical & Regulatory Affairs, and Esther Mills-Roberts is now Director of Communications.
Dr Burren commented: “I’m truly delighted to be offered this promotion and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the minefield of technical and regulatory matters that affect our industry. I’d like to acknowledge my colleagues for their invaluable knowledge, help and support these last few years.”
Esther went on: “We work tirelessly behind the scenes monitoring media messaging and keeping up to date with industry news, plus reaching out to media, industry influencers, practitioners, and member communications teams. I look forward to developing these areas in the years ahead.”
Turning to the NAHS development, HealthyDoesIt was created during the first lockdown to educate consumers about natural health and encourage them to visit their local health stores.
Announcing at the AGM that the time had come to pass it on, with the NAHS being passed the website and brand assets, Graham explained: “We launched HealthyDoesIt in 2020, right at the start of the pandemic. Martin Last said ‘Can we do something to help the industry that is non-commercial and generic’. In four months, we created and launched HealthyDoesIt and it was a fantastic achievement. The idea is non-commercial, nonbranded on natural health and how to find your local health store. “It’s been an interesting ride, but it’s had positive progression. So, it’s
leaving us on a high. Why is it leaving us? Because we think the time has come that we should find a new home for it. The commitment to this is quite a challenging one and we have plenty of other things to be thinking about. So, I had a sit down with NAHS and this sowed the seed of an idea that might the NAHS want to have it and the upshot was we are gifting it in its entirety, the ownership of the brands the registrations and logos, to the NAHS. I know it will be in safe hands and the NAHS has bigger plans for it. It’s a fantastic website, it’s just not what we should be doing right now and is better placed with the retail association.”
Speaking afterwards, Len Glenville, Joint Chair of the NAHS, added: “The NAHS looks forward to taking on and developing the HealthyDoesIt site in ways that maximise the benefits for independent retailers. HealthyDoesIt offers a fantastic opportunity to boost the visibility of independents through our own consumer-facing platform, and perfectly complements other exciting plans we have for the future.” As well as the news announcements, awards of honour were also given. Dr Marilyn Glenville was the deserving recipient of the HFMA’s highest accolade, the Maurice Hanssen Award of Honour.
Speaking of Marilyn’s contribution to the industry, Steve commented: “Marilyn’s work has touched millions of people in the UK and around the world, improving their health, happiness and empowering them to better manage their own health and wellbeing.”
Marilyn added: “Winning this award is such an honour and it has been a privilege to work in the natural health industry for over 35 years and I am very proud to join the list of previous recipients. I would also like to thank the HFMA Council for their confidence in awarding me this honour, which was an unexpected and very welcome surprise. I would like to thank everyone
in the industry and those members of the HFMA for continuing to maintain such high standards. Maintaining the high standards and integrity of the industry is so important when we consider the real benefits people gain from using good quality products.”
Rob Hobson, nutritionist and writer, was announced as the deserving winner of this year’s Health Journalist of the Year Award. As a registered nutritionist and author of two successful books, Rob is passionate about using his knowledge to help people make sense of the ever-evolving science of nutrition. Esther commented: “Rob has been a beacon of responsible, scientifically sound and qualified advice for consumers around natural health, including supplementation. His profile in the national press, as well as print and online channels, makes him a worthy recipient of this year’s award, as he champions health and wellness within the general population.”
Rob added: “It’s a huge honour to be recognised for my work in the media. As a nutritionist, my work is varied but writing makes up a big part of what I do, and I feel it’s hugely important to ensure people are getting the right information about diet and health. I have worked closely alongside the HFMA this year helping to create a series of resources on key health topics, including menopause and veganism. It’s great to see organisations like the HFMA put the effort into providing a trusted source of information for consumers to turn to.”