Infographic of Private Label Brands within the Organic Food Industry
As mentioned on the last page, the introduction of private label brands has been a real game changer for the “traditional” food retailers as it allows them to expand brand loyalty into the organic food sector of the business and re-brand themselves as more than just a peddler of fruits & veg. In fact, in Canada, mega supermarket corp Loblaws is highlighting their commitment to organic and local foods as part of their branding effort. Stores are staffed with a nutritionist who will advise customers on how to make healthier purchases…providing education, recipes and even helping them shop.
More proof that the organic food slice of industry is being taken very seriously by mainstream food producers and retailers. Even as the pie grows to include new products, producers and sellers, the large mainstream operations are grabbing a larger and larger portion of that pie…leading us to the question:
Q. If WalMart, Whole Foods and Loblaws are winning the organic food war, who is losing?
A. The hippies who run (or used to run) organic food cooperatives are losing (have lost???). In 1982, there were 28 consumer cooperative distributors shipping organics to independent grocers and health food stores all across America. By 2008, there was just 1.
As a kid, I remember going with my Mom to the health food store to help her rummage through the bulk bins and the organic produce that was being sold next to health food books and supplements. The vibe in these places was soooooo different from today’s organic supermarkets.
Maybe it’s just me being nostalgic, but I kind of miss the old hippy lady who would chat with my Mom about the benefits of nutritional yeast and wheat germ…as opposed to strolling through the giant potato chip aisle at my local Whole Foods. Sure, the quantity of organic food offerings has blown up…I’m just not so sure about the quality.
I want to thank Dr. Philip Howard for all of this great info. The purpose of this post is not to disparage any of the players involved in growing, distributing or selling of organic food. My goal is to raise awareness in consumers to the fact that as the organic food industry grew, it has changed. The whale has swallowed the minnow. Organic is now a marketing term. And the practices that endeared organic food to the early adopters may becoming endangered. Reference