or many consumers, the obstacle to buying organic food has always been the price.
“I would buy a lot more organic if it were cheaper,” said Eden Prairie resident Brandi Erlendsson. “Now I buy organic fruits and vegetables just for my kids.”
But as mainstream grocers and food companies push more aggressively into organics, Erlendsson and other consumers who buy only a select number of organic products may soon get what they want — organic products at or near the price of conventional products.
Wal-Mart and Target are leading the charge to more affordable products. Both announced last month an expansion of more than 100 organic and natural products.
Ninety-one percent of Wal-Mart’s shoppers would choose organic over nonorganic products if they were priced closer to conventional, according to the company. Later this year it will introduce the organic Wild Oats line as its exclusive private label at prices comparable to conventional foods. Customers will save 25 percent against comparable organic products, according to Wal-Mart.
Even Whole Foods, which opened four additional locations in the Twin Cities recently, realized that it can no longer lead the market with its high prices and profits. “Competition is more intense right now than we’ve ever possibly experienced before,” said Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey on a conference call with investors. The company has had to lower prices, although it has done so quietly to avoid any perceived decline in quality.
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