Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural products industry business briefs

Invest sustainably

Your store might be Earth-friendly, and your buying decisions thoroughly eco-conscious. But what about your investments? Springfield, Mass.-based Social(k), a socially responsible retirement planning company, is proving that being green doesn't have to mean losing your greenbacks. With 186 percent growth in 2007, the two-year-old company holds more than $23 million in assets. Working with more than 150 sustainable businesses and nonprofits, the company's platform is completely paperless, so investors can keep a clear eco-conscience.

Online tool helps decode eco-labels

Are your customers confused by the cacophony of eco-messages on product labels? A new online tool, at, is now available to help shoppers hear the music behind the labeling madness. Produced by the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Web development company Big Room, the site gives basic background information on more than 260 eco-labels from all over the world, dealing with everything from food to building products. For example, entering "EcoLogo" will result in a quick definition of the term with contact information about Canadian TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, the company that certifies the label.

Supervalu gives up on Sunflower Market

Despite initial hopes for growth and expansion, Supervalu announced it is closing all five of its Sunflower Market locations because they failed to meet the company's goals. The Midwest natural and organic grocery stores were up against competition from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The company will apply the knowledge gained from its experience in the health-and-wellness category to other areas of the organization, according to a statement. —H.O.

Safeway big rigs go green

Upping the Earth-friendly competition, Safeway will become one of the first major conventional retailers in the nation to use biodiesel fuel for its fleet of 1,000 trucks. Last year the company converted most of its trucks to run on a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. Safeway's remaining vehicles will make the switch by June. The use of biodiesel fuel would cut 75 million pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions annually, Safeway officials said. The fuel savings are equivalent to taking 7,500 passenger vehicles off the road each year. —M.G.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 3/p. 66

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