Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Products Industry Business & Operations Buzz

EPA reaches out to retailers online

The Environmental Protection Agency has committed to launching a retail-specific Web portal that will streamline information gathering on environmental sustainability and compliance issues, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association, based in Arlington, Va. Expected to launch later this year, the site will organize information on environmental practices, focused completely on retailers. For more information, go to

In tough times, shoppers stick to basics

As times are changing economically, cash-conscious shoppers are taking unique approaches to saving money in different grocery store departments. In a recent study from Unilever USA, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 40 percent of U.S. primary shoppers said they feel "worse off" than a year ago. According to the survey, the top five categories in which shoppers will stop buying when they feel their budget tightening are air fresheners, cookies, beer and wine, frozen dinners and soda/pop. Despite their increasingly pennywise tendencies, the top categories shoppers said they wouldn't abandon included deodorant, canned vegetables, fresh meat and seafood, hair care and body wash, laundry detergent and household cleaners, pet food and toilet paper. It looks like the basics are here to stay.

Prime time to go solar

Solar panels are popping up on retailer rooftops from Walmart to Whole Foods Market as a Dec. 31 deadline approaches for eco-energy tax advantages. The energy credit, which rewards businesses producing electricity from solar energy, fuel cells or microturbines, was extended through 2008 from the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. Many Walmart, Safeway and Whole Foods stores have installed rooftop solar panels in the last few months, reported The New York Times in August, though most of the solar-equipped stores are in states that also provide generous incentives, such as California, New Jersey and Connecticut.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 10/p. 52

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