Natural Foods Merchandiser

Whole Foods Expands Organic Private-Label Line

In October, Whole Foods Market Inc. of Austin, Texas, will kick off an intensive, year-long campaign to promote its private-label organic food line, 365 Organic.

Linda Boardman, Whole Foods director of marketing for private labels, said from mid-October to November, the natural foods store chain will introduce 365 Organic value-priced nutrition bars, salad dressings, pastas, olive and canola oils, apple and orange juices, multi-grain snack puffs, fresh produce, frozen fruits and vegetables, and a line of sauces, including seafood cocktail and Worcestershire sauce. Whole Foods has already introduced 365 Organic sodas.

After the initial launch, Whole Foods will debut more 365 Organic products monthly, with the idea of replacing its Whole Foods organic store brand with 365 Organic. "Over the next year, we'll be pretty aggressive about bringing in new [365 Organic] lines," Boardman said.

Boardman said it's coincidence 365 Organic will be launched near Oct. 21, the date U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards go into effect. Analyst Patrick Turpin, managing director of Santa Monica, Calif.-based USBX Advisory Services, is more impressed. He said a Whole Foods private-label organic brand is a "brilliant move. The timing is pretty smart. There's a lack of understanding, information and education about organics, and there's going to be a lot of press and education" about organics.

Whole Foods is positioning itself as a leader in private-label organics, Turpin said, particularly for foods such as pasta and orange juice, where there aren't many dominant organic brands.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 10/p. 8

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