Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural products industry business briefs

Kroger organics grow
Supermarket giant Kroger made a foray into the organic food fray in a big way last month as it introduced about 60 certified organic products into stores under the company's Private Selection brand. Items include everything from pasta and waffles to tea and peanut butter. The company made the announcement in August, saying most of the Private Selection Organic products would hit the shelves by the end of September, each carrying the U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic seal. The company already has more than 300 items marketed under its Naturally Preferred brand that also contain some organic ingredients.

Consumers want it all from naturals retailers
Remember those "tastes great, less filling" commercials of a bygone advertising era? Well, today's consumers are asking for local and organic, but really want both in their products. That's the finding from a consumer survey by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, a direct marketing company based in Collingswood, N.J., that focuses on the natural and organic products industry. About 36 percent of natural product consumers said they would choose local produce over organic items, while 33 percent indicated the opposite. However, most would prefer to have it both ways, according to the survey, which also found some confusion surrounding the USDA organic label. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they would prefer a label that said all organic versus the green USDA stamp. More than half of consumers said they would be more confident about buying organics if stores had their own organic food standards in addition to the USDA seal, Mambo Sprouts reported.

Saving time trumps taste, health, price
What's the biggest consideration time-crunched Americans take into account when grabbing a meal on the go? Convenience, according to a report by Packaged Facts, a Rockville, Md.-based company that provides market data in the food and beverage industry. Convenience trumps all other factors—including healthfulness, price and taste—when it comes to buying on-the-go food, Packaged Facts reported. Although 65 percent of consumers say they try to eat healthier, 33 percent say they don't have time to prepare or eat healthy meals. The report says growing commutes, longer work days and time demands on two-working-parent and single-parent households drove 49 million Americans to fast-food solutions and 41 million to store-made, pre-cooked meals last fall alone.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 10/p. 18

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