Organic groceries now in mainstream markets

Organic groceries now in mainstream markets

February 9th, 2011 by Holly Leber in Life Entertainment

Bi-Lo's Full Circle organic food products include apple and cinnamon oatmeal. With the interest in organic products on the rise many stores have introduced their own brands.

Want to eat green?

Look no further than your grocery store.

Supermarkets, including Bi-Lo, Publix and Food Lion, are offering organic and all-natural lines for those who want to eat healthier but don't care to spend the time or money to purchase national organic brands or go to a specialty store.

"[Our products] were designed to offer an economic alternative to other all-natural, organic products," said Brenda Reid, Publix community and media relations manager, of the company's GreenWise Market private label.

A half-gallon of Full Circle milk, Bi-Lo's all-natural brand, costs $3.69 compared to the national brand price of $3.99 for a half-gallon of organic milk. Meanwhile, the same national brand cost $4.39 at Publix, while the grocery chain's private-label organic milk, GreenWise Market, also cost $3.69. A standard (non-soy) in-store organic milk was not available for survey at Food Lion.

"When you compare Full Circle as a private-label natural and organic line as opposed to some of the national brands of natural and organic products, there is definitely a significant price savings," said Monica Amburn, registered dietitian at Bi-Lo. "There are so many people now that are interested in going back to a more natural way of life and getting away from chemicals and unnecessary coloring and flavoring, high-fructose corn syrup. So it's another option. It's adding to the variety and value of items available at Bi-Lo."

Full Circle, she added, is a co-op brand, meaning it is carried at more stores than Bi-Lo alone, whereas GreenWise Market is a Publix exclusive. A representative from Food Lion was not available to comment on that company's organic line, Nature's Place.

Investigation of all three stores demonstrated that offering in-store organic brand products is an emerging trend.

Stores are responding to customer demand for all-natural products. Reid estimated there are just under 100 GreenWise Market products available right now, while Bi-Lo carries about 130 Full Circle items, according to the company's category management department.

Both companies are seeking to expand their lines of green food products in the next several years.

"We have been cautious in releasing new products," said Reid, of Publix's strategy. The company, she said, plans to open a standard/organic hybrid store in Atlanta later this year.

PRICE CHECK

At Publix

* Bee Natural honey (16 ounces): $4.79

* GreenWise Market honey (16 ounces): $5.59

* Sue Bee honey (12 ounces): $3.59

* Publix honey (12 ounces): $3.49

* Dance Cereal raisin bran: $6.19

* GreenWise Market raisin bran: $3.59

* Kellogg's raisin bran: $3.59

* Publix raisin brain: $2.69

At Bi-Lo

* Kashi cereal bars (6): $3.89

* Full Circle cereal bars (6): $2.57

* Nutri-Grain cereal bars (8): $3.59

* Southern Home cereal bars (8): $2.50

* Newman's Own All-Natural pasta sauce: $3.35

* Full Circle pasta sauce: $2.79

* Prego pasta sauce: $2.49

* Southern Home pasta sauce: $1.69

POLL: Do you buy store brand organic food?