Natural Foods Merchandiser


New Link in Organic Chain
Planet Organic Health Corp., the Canadian naturals retailer that expects to reach 20 to 25 units in the next four years, opened its third store, in Calgary, in January. The Edmonton, Alberta-based chain's business plan calls for growth by acquiring independent stores of about 2,000 to 8,000 square feet. It acquired Terra Natural Foods in Edmonton in 2001 and then, in 2002, purchased a Capers Community Market in Victoria, B.C., from Wild Oats Markets Inc. The supermarket-sized Calgary store occupies what was one of two Debaji's Fresh Market stores that closed last year.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Craft says Planet Organic is expected to reach $50 million in revenue in five to seven years.

Brown Cow in Stonyfield Pasture
Stonyfield Farm, the largest U.S. producer of organic yogurt, acquired Antioch, Calif.-based Brown Cow West Corp., best known for its whole-milk, cream-at-the-top yogurt. The deal, completed in February, allows Londonderry, N.H.-based Stonyfield to make Western family farmer agreements and begin processing organic yogurt in California for its Western customers. The Brown Cow brand will get wider East Coast distribution. Together, the companies are expected to generate $130 million in sales in 2003.

Starbucks' Soy Is Silk
White Wave has developed a special organic, non-GMO, kosher Silk soymilk formula to complement Starbucks coffee and Tazo chai beverages sold in 4,000 North American locations. The Boulder, Colo.-based soymilk and tofu company announced the Starbucks partnership, which includes an agreement to distribute cold Silk Single Serves in certain markets, in February. Silk will begin appearing on Starbucks menu boards and in joint advertising and promotion campaigns this summer.

Silk is the No. 1-selling organic packaged goods brand in the United States, with $350 million in retail sales, Soyatech Inc. reports.

U.K. Certifiers OK Under U.S. Organic Rule
Products manufactured in Québec, the United Kingdom and New Zealand now are eligible for organic certification under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program. The Ministry of Agriculture of New Zealand's Food Safety Authority, the Conseil d'Accréditation du Québec and certification bodies cleared by the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards now can certify organic goods under NOP for export to the United States. Experts say the acceptance of UKROFS may encourage other European Union countries to qualify under NOP rather than waiting for the EU certification to be accepted.

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