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Supermarket chains continue to look for ways to take advantage of consumers’ increased interest in natural and organic products, as two examples this week demonstrate.

Upstate New York-based Price Chopper announced that it will add “more than 1,000 new natural and organic items to an already substantial array of lifestyle products in its 115 stores in six Northeastern states. Price Chopper said it is “integrating its better for-you alternatives in most every category across the store and supporting the expansion with aggressive promotional pricing, advertising, marketing and consumer friendly educational outreach. A bright new yellow and evergreen signage package will highlight the greatly expanded natural and organic variety throughout the store.”

"We've selected exceptional suppliers, all of whom are leaders in the natural and organic arena," says Neil Golub, president/CEO of Price Chopper. "The quality and integrity of their products coupled with our comprehensive rollout will position Price Chopper as the premier promotional merchant of natural and organic products in the Northeast.”

Included in the labels that will be found at Price Chopper are “more than 400 new Wild Oats branded items available in stores. From all natural and organic food items to holistic health products and environmentally-friendly cleaning and paper products, this unique partnership makes Price Chopper the largest independent retailer of Wild Oats products in the country.”

Price Chopper spokeswoman Mona Golub adds, "We are also committed to building a nutritional team of registered dieticians, pharmacists and Health and Beauty Care Managers, who will be accessible to customers both in the store and in the community. The team will help us to develop new outreach, while supporting established resources and programs, like our Healthy U Information Center, Supermarket Sleuth Tours for 4th and 5th graders, and toll-free Healthy U Connection (online/phone line).”

At the same time, Whole Foods Market announced that it is moving beyond providing products for a healthier consumer to providing products that will help create a healthier planet, clearly believing that people’s dedication to their own well-being will extend to more global concerns.

According to the company, “it has created a ‘diet’ plan not for the waist but rather for ‘waste’ to help shoppers reduce their carbon footprint on planet Earth.” The program is designed to take place during April, which has been designated “Earth Month.”

"With each of us on average creating 94 pounds of carbon dioxide daily, it is more important than ever to minimize our individual contributions to global warming," says Michael Besancon, Southern Pacific regional president and Green Mission task force leader for Whole Foods Market. "Whole Foods Market is challenging shoppers to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and make some real changes to positively affect climate change."

The retailer is providing printed materials that allow people to start calculating their own carbon usage – and how to reduce it.

"Our goal with this initiative is to become more aware of what we, as tenants of the planet, contribute to global warming," Besancon says. "With the online calculator and simple green tips that support a healthy planet, shoppers will be equipped to prompt lifestyle changes now that can promote cooling our planet for years to come.
KC's View:
One of the things that we’re conscious of when we read stories like these is the sounds of silos falling…because consumers are starting to interconnect issues like their own health and the health of the planet, retailers are going to start doing the same.

Remember what Bob Johansen of the Institute of the Future says – that within 10 years, virtually every consumer decision will in some way be connected to the notion of health. We believe it…and both the Price Chopper and Whole Foods stories reflect the shift that is taking place.