Natural Foods Merchandiser


New online store offers naturals at wholesale
Online service has launched a direct-delivery wholesale service specializing in natural and organic food. The Web site, which also sells direct to consumers, aims to close the gap between manufacturers who aren?t ready or able to place their lines with major distributors and retailers who need products.

Based in Lafayette, La., WellnessGrocer ships direct to stores via one- and two-day air freight or ground shipping with dry ice. A specialist in frozen food, the company also offers direct fulfillment for orders from manufacturers? own Web sites. Retailers will need a special discount code at the online site to get the wholesale price.

With new natural and organic products appearing daily, major distributors ?can?t pick these lines up fast enough,? Chief Executive Charlie Hohorst says.

Private label data shows growing share
Store brands now account for more than $40.5 billion in supermarket sales in and have outpaced the growth of national brands in both supermarkets and drugstores, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association?s 2005 Yearbook. Fast-growing categories by volume include miscellaneous snacks, household cleaner cloths, baby food, wine, refrigerated pickles, refrigerated meat and poultry, gum, frozen prepared vegetables, toothpaste and analgesic rubs.

Although the data, supplied by Information Resources Inc., focused on mass-market retailers, it?s useful for spotting the hottest categories. For more information:

College students grow their own ? food
Student-run organic farms and farmer?s markets are cropping up at American universities. Sixty schools in 27 states now have student-run farms, according to The Associated Press, ranging from half-acre plots to 200-acre spreads. While many exist at ag schools, you?ll find an Ivy League farm at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Dartmouth?s student farmers sell their produce at an on-campus stand. At the University of Idaho, community farm supporters receive weekly deliveries, while Colorado State?s farmers sell crops on campus, eat some themselves and donate the rest to local pantries. At Oregon State in Corvallis, what volunteers don?t share at communal meals goes on sale at a campus booth, with payment by the honor system.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 9/p. 48

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