As the number of bloggers and social media influencers pushing the living green initiative increases, so too does the number millennials (people born between 1981 – 1997) who are buying into the conscious culture by consuming and using more organic products.
This trend has changed the way companies market their products to the masses. As long as the trend continues, locally-owned health food stores like Natural Bliss in White Hall are seeing a business boom.
Natural Bliss, located at 7203 Sheridan Road, is family owned and operated by Reggie and Lori Cole.
Although natural products tend to cost more than other products, Reggie Cole said he believes the benefits outweigh the costs.  A study conducted by researchers at University of California-Davis reported that buying organic groceries costs 20 percent more than buying nonorganic products.
In another tracking survey conducted in 2016 by the Organic Trade Association of 1,800 U.S. households, it was shown that among U.S. parents, 52 percent of organic buyers were millennials. In that same survey, 40 percent of millennials said they choose organic products in an effort to be environmentally conscious, as opposed to the 32 percent represented by Generation X and 28 percent of baby boomers.
Research suggests that millennials are more knowledgeable of the effects of the products they use and consume.
“Think about it – things that aren’t natural are full of nitrates and chemical products and tests  are showing that our bodies don’t respond to that,” Reggie Cole said. “I would rather pay more on the front end than later on paying for prescriptions and surgeries that may not fix what’s wrong after consuming things that contains a genetically modified organism.”
Filmaker Kip Anderson produced a documentary entitled “What the Health” that was released on Netflix in March of this year. The purpose of the documentary is to advocate for a plant-based diet by critiquing the impact that meat and diary products have on the body.
The documentary also challenged the practices of pharmaceutical organizations. While the documentary received a lot of flak from health professionals from what some claimed to be old nutritional information guised as an effort to push the vegan agenda, there were still videos shared on Facebook of  people who were “scared straight” after watching the documentary and considering switching to a vegan diet.  
According to the customer acquisition platform, Fluent in 2016, 41 percent of millennials use Facebook every day.  
Kristen Cole, 19, is the daughter of Reggie and Lori Cole. She also works in her family business and said she uses organic products because “it makes sense.” She said was recently put in charge of the business’s Facebook account and is working to market the store in a way that attracts local college students.
“Organic products look and smell like the alternative, so why not use something that does the same thing but is better for you?” Kristen Cole said. “I like to use black soap for my face and follow it up with raw shea butter. The soaps made from goat’s milk are a top seller, and they are made locally in Redfield. I also like to use essential oils for my skin and hair.”
 According to 2016 results from Neilsen UPC scan data of 100,000 households provided to the Organic Trade Association, 75 percent of Arkansas households purchase some form of organic products.
“I am a big fan of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar, essential oils, natural supplements and natural immunity boosters,” Reggie Cole said.
He said Natural Bliss has 15-20 great sellers, and among the top sellers are locally-made products. They include raw honey, goat milk soaps, soy candles and salsa.