Big Changes Come When Big Companies Go Organic

Source: Steve Meyerowitz,

In a demonstration of its growing popularity, the organic movement has been embraced by two major mass marketers, IKEA and Wal-Mart. The successful Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is also the largest Swedish food exporter. They have always incorporated an environmental awareness in their products and marketing. But, now, they are extending it to organic food in a big way. IKEA has restaurants and in-store food shops and they will begin to replace standard items with organic varieties. They will launch the project with organic coffee, followed by strawberry jam and blue cheese. The IKEA restaurants will soon start serving organic schnapps and meat sauce. While this is a small start, it is big news because of their size and because IKEA is an important trend setter in the European and international market.

While Wal-Mart is perceived as a mass market retailer of goods, they are also number one in grocery sales in the U.S., outpacing even dedicated supermarket retailers such as Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway. Wal-Mart President F. Lee Scott jokes that he is more interested in breakfast cereals than toys, sporting goods, or electronics. Scott said he is "excited about organic food, the fastest-growing category in all of food and at Wal-Mart." One of the main obstacles to the expansion of organic food into the mainstream has been its higher cost. Scott maintains that people in all income brackets want organic food products for their family, and lower-income families should not be denied such goods due to high prices. Wal-Mart is stocking organic produce and other health-related products to meet the market’s demand. Their buying power should help increase volume and reduce price, which holds potential benefits for all consumers as their affordable choices increase.

Steve is a health crusader and author on ten books, including The Organic Food Guide. He has been featured on PBS, the Home Shopping network, QVC and TV Food Network. He has written for Better Nutrition, Prevention, Organic Gardening and House & Garden magazines.