Natural Foods Merchandiser


Stonyfield Peels Back Plastic Lids, Seals
Stonyfield Farm will reduce by 6 percent the amount of solid waste it generates by replacing plastic seals and lids on yogurt cups with a foil seal. As a result of the new packaging, the Londonderry, N.H., yogurt maker also will reduce its energy consumption by 16 percent and use 800,000 fewer gallons of water annually.

"Vice President Cheney and others continue to tell Americans that conservation cannot contribute meaningfully to a national energy strategy, but businesses know otherwise," says Stonyfield President and Chief Executive Gary Hirshberg. "As a business and a corporate citizen, it is our responsibility to take care of the environment. The good news is that it is profitable to do so."

The foil closure was designed with the help of the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems. Information about Stonyfield products and environmental initiatives will still be printed on the lids.

Milk Producers Renew Gripes
The National Milk Producers Federation in October 2002 renewed its Food and Drug Administration complaint about the use of the word milk on cartons of soy-based beverages. The federation first filed in February 2000, claiming federal regulatory standards limit the use of the word milk to that which comes from dairy cows and said consumers are confused by the use of the word soymilk.

An NMPF spokesman told CBS MarketWatch that the FDA must do a better job of enforcing the existing food code. White Wave Founder Steve Demos says shoppers are not confused. "We have never, ever had one consumer out of 175 million purchases ever call and say 'Is there dairy in this product?'"

Demos frequently credits the initial complaint with significantly boosting sales of his company's soy beverage, Silk, because the filing resulted in a great deal of television coverage. Soymilk sales were about $550 million in 2001, up from $201 million in 1998.

The renewed complaint is probably motivated by proposed changes to the National School Lunch Program that may allow soymilk and rice milk to be served instead of cows' milk.

Grocers Stud Fortune List
Stew Leonard's and Whole Foods Market Inc. again landed on Fortune magazine's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Whole Foods dropped to No. 32 on the list from 28 last year. Stew Leonard's dropped to No. 30 from 22. The two specialty natural and dairy retailers were joined on the list by mainstream grocers Wegmans Food Markets at No. 10; Ukrop's Super Markets at No. 71; and Publix Super Markets, an employee-owned chain with numerous stores in the Southeast, at No. 87.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 3/p. 52

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