Healthy Life Organic Health Store

Holistic Living Q&A with Healthy Life

Martine Cooper is the general manager of Buying & Merchandising of natural, organic and eco-friendly store, Healthy Life. Martine is an experienced senior leader with a demonstrated history and record of achievement in retail supermarket and small format stores. Healthy Life is Australia’s home of ‘feel good’. As well as being your one-stop-shop for holistic products, Healthy Life also offer free expert advice and natural health solutions.

As more and more people are moving towards a holistic, wholesome way of living, we sit down with Martine Cooper to get her take on this growing trend from a retail perspective.


Do you believe there is an opportunity this year for Healthy Life to offer new products for natural living?

Absolutely. As health and wellness continues to become more of a focus for a growing number of Australians, a natural, clean and low-toxic approach to life will only become more mainstream. It’s an area where we are seeing tremendous growth. To give you an idea, we offer around 400 natural makeup and personal care products in store and are always adding new products. Across our 48 stores, sales of natural beauty products grew at around 300 per cent last year. To cater to the demand, we are rolling out dedicated Natural Beauty Bars in our stores and are constantly expanding our range in response to the demand for chemical-free makeup and skincare. Last year, Healthy Life became the Australian retail launch partner for Lük Beautifood and we now stock the homegrown company’s 100 per cent natural lipsticks at our Beauty Bar and online. Last year we added more eco products to our shelves and online store, including Queen B beeswax wraps, Joco reusable cups, Cheeki lunchboxes and Ever Eco reusable straws.


What were the top 5 products customers purchased in 2018 at Healthy Life? Why do you think those products were so successful?

  1. Manuka honey – because customers are becoming more aware of its health benefits.
  2. Coconut water – it’s become a health food staple and it is well priced at Healthy Life.
  3. Plant-based milk alternatives – sales of almond, coconut, hemp and macadamia milks have risen in line with the number of Australians going vegan.
  4. Turmeric supplements, pastes and powders – turmeric is always a popular one due to its health benefits.
  5. Apple cider vinegar – this has become another health food staple that is popular because it is well priced and can have many health benefits.


What products do you see consumers being attracted to in 2019, and why?

As everyday Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of toxins and plastics on our bodies and the planet, we expect to see more consumers attracted to low-toxic living. The more natural, the better, and that includes everything from ethically sourced organic ingredients to compostable, plastic-free packaging. Here are some further predictions.

  • Anything with adaptogens, especially ashwaghanda, included in tonics, proteins, supplements and, if it goes the way of other adaptogen trends, lattes (not just coffee). Adaptogens will also increasingly play a role in anti-ageing and beauty products as companies increasingly harness the power of these ancient Ayurvedic-healing plants.


  • Reusable household goods. Reusable coffee cups and stainless-steel straws were the big eco items in 2018 and this year we’re expecting to see more people swap plastic wrap for beeswax wraps and turn to compartmentalised lunch boxes in their bid to reduce plastic waste.


  • Vegan products are growing at a rapid rate. In 2019, around 15 per cent of Healthy Life’s products will be vegan, with non-dairy milks such as hemp, almond and macadamia, and cleaner vegan proteins such as Rule 1, among the most popular plant-based products. Because there are so many vegans these days, more effort is being put into developing tastier vegan versions of popular supermarket items like cheese, so there’s no compromising on quality or flavour.


  • The quest for beauty from the inside out is seeing collagen added to everything from snack bars (Healthy Life became one of the first to stock Australia’s first collagen bar – Locako’s brownie bars – last year) to bone broth shakes and gelatin gummies.


In your organisation, how do you describe your consumer?

Healthy Life customers are a real mix, from millennials to baby boomers. Regardless of their age, they are becoming more concerned about the environment and are transitioning to plant-based diets.


How important is origin, sustainability and recycled packaging to this consumer?

It’s very important. Our customers seek out products that are Australian-made and prefer unpackaged items. Our Natural Alternative bar soaps are one of our best-selling products as they have no packaging.


Do you see growth in protein powders and other smoothie products?

This is an area that has been growing for the past decade. From green shakes to protein shakes, smoothies have long been seen as an easy way to get a quick boost of protein and nutrients. The evolution of healthy smoothies will continue this year, with more vegan options available than ever before, and more interesting ingredients being added to powders such as collagen.


Do you see growth in healthy convenience and snack products?

In our fast-paced world, there’s an increasing demand for healthier snacks and drinks that can be consumed on the hop. While nuts will always be popular as a brain-boosting snack, what we’re seeing is demand for next-level snacks that are multi-tiered. Since probiotics have evolved to be shelf stable, we’re seeing snack sachets as more people realise they can’t live without their probiotics. Collagen snacks are also on the rise. Apple cider vinegar drinks are set to become the new kombucha, offering a quick and easy way to give gut health a boost when on the run. And making protein even easier to consume than protein balls, there will be a new suite of packaged protein goods including gummies, chips and chocolates.


Are Daigou shoppers important to Healthy Life stores?

In some areas we see an increase in Manuka honey sales, which is a popular product with Daigou shoppers.


What are the most popular buzzwords you hear in Healthy Life?

At the moment there is a lot of buzz around consumable collagen for beauty from the inside out, low-toxic living, veganism, ketosis and also probiotics, with cultures added to everything from cleaning products to dessert, including our new private label Healthy Life Sorbet with probiotics, which launched this summer.


For more information and products details, visit

Ally McManus

Ally McManus

Ally McManus, the editor of WellBeing Yoga Experience and the founding editor of Being magazine, is a freelance writer and editor in magazine and book publishing. She also teaches yoga and meditation on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.

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