UNFI System Certified Organic
United Natural Foods Inc. is the first nationwide organic food distribution operation to be certified, coast-to-coast, under the National Organic Program. Quality Assurance International certified all of UNFI's distribution centers, including its Albert's Organics and Hershey Import Co. operations. Dayville, Conn.-based UNFI distributes to more than 7,000 supermarkets, super-naturals stores and independent retailers nationwide.
200 Jump on Anti-GE Bandwagon
More than 200 grocers, restaurants and seafood distributors nationwide have signed Friends of the Earth's pledge not to purchase or sell genetically engineered fish. Concerns about the safety of GE fish arose when Aqua Bounty Farms, based in Waltham, Mass., filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market an experimental salmon that reaches maturity in about half the time it takes a wild salmon. "The pledge campaign shows that the food industry is increasingly concerned about serving genetically engineered fish to customers," says Tracie Letterman, fish program director for the Center for Food Safety, which helped gather the signatures along with FOE and Clean Water Action.
For a complete list of those who signed the pledge, visit www.gefish.org.
Sushi All Around
Sushi Redi, the Denver-based maker of private-label, prepackaged sushi for nine Whole Foods Markets and 120 other retail stores, is expanding its operations to include other Asian foods, such as rice bowls, soba noodles and bento boxes, and hopes to raise capital to open plants next year in Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco. The company makes about 20,000 pieces of sushi daily.
Bad Food Gets Nutraceuticals Boost
Nutraceuticals are helping even the most unhealthy foods clean up their act. Packaged Facts' U.S. Market for Nutraceutical Foods and Beverages report suggests the move will boost the market segment to $22 billion in 2006. Improvements in nutraceutical technologies are allowing products such as alcoholic beverages, candies and desserts to be reformulated as foods with medical or health benefits. "We have already seen [stanol ester infused] meats with cholesterol-lowering properties," says Don Montuori, acquisitions editor for Packaged Facts. "The market innovation does not look like it will stop there."
Nutraceuticals sales reached $17.2 billion in 2001, up from $16.5 billion the year before.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 11/p. 12