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In Maine, the Portland Press Herald reports that a new – and apparently, quite busy – Whole Foods store in downtown Portland has got local competitors Hannaford Bros. and Shaws fighting back, “trying to undercut Whole Foods' pre-eminence among consumers who are interested in taking home a wide variety of organic and natural products to put on the family dinner table.

“Hannaford Bros., for instance, recently sought and received certification as an organic retailer from Quality Assurance International, an independent agency that oversees a program that ensures that stores meet organic guidelines. Hannaford is the first traditional supermarket chain to gain certification, and it now offers more than 3,500 natural or organic products, about 10 percent of the store's products. Most of the products are distributed among conventional brands rather than relegated to a separate aisle.

“New and remodeled Shaw's stores will have more room devoted to that chain's Wild Harvest line of natural and organics, part of the chain's effort to present itself as the place for ‘premium fresh and healthy’ food.” Both chains – as well as Whole Foods – are supported by a growing number of local organic farms that are providing them with the steady stream of products.
KC's View:
We could be wrong about this, but we’d guess that in the long run the ultimate winners will be the companies like Hannaford that offer a multitude of choices. Sure, organic and natural product growth is significant, but we think that the majority of Americans, when going to the store, will be interested in buying some organic products but also Oreos, Diet Coke and like items. It won’t be all or nothing at all, because most shoppers won’t see such choices as being inconsistent.

What retailers have to do is provide consumers with appropriate and adequate information to make choices.