4 Big Grocery Chains Stocked With Organic Food
The result of this organic food boom includes farmers scrambling to try to meet demand. Suppliers in Wisconsin, California and Idaho have struggled to keep pace with consumers, since converting to organic produce may take years. When farmers catch up with demand, prices of organic produce, milk and other foods may go lower once the supply chain stabilizes.
Wal-Mart expanded its offering of organic foods in 2014 with the popular Wild Oats brand. Formerly a standalone organic store, Wild Oats was bought by Whole Foods Market in 2007, but then sold the name in 2009 after antitrust lawsuits in federal court. Wal-Mart now owns the rights to Wild Oats, and the world's largest retailer plans to sell organic and natural products under that name. This move goes along with other organic offerings already placed on Wal-Mart's shelves over the past few years.
Kroger sold approximately $1 billion of its private label organic foods in 2014. Although this accounts for just 1 percent of the chain's overall revenue stream, Kroger executives have placed bets on the falling prices of organic foods since demand has grown. Supplies from farmers have yet to catch up to the appetite Americans have for organic food, yet Kroger hopes prices may come down even further to remain competitive with other stores.
Publix has its own line of organic groceries called GreenWise Market. This line of organic or natural food debuted before 2005, well before Wal-Mart decided to jump aboard the organic bandwagon. Most stores have the organic offerings as a way to compete with other specialty stores. This regional chain may have led the way in terms of getting other grocers on board for selling organic foods on a regular basis.
Some experts believe Costco became the largest organic grocer in the United States when the wholesale store surpassed $4 billion in annual sales of organic products in 2014-2015. Whole Foods Market expects annual sales of approximately $3.6 billion. Costco's haul pales in comparison to its overall revenue of $114 billion, but clearly organic foods have made headway into mainstream grocery stores, even though organic products generally cost about 25 percent more than non-organic foods. Sam's Club, the wholesale arm of Wal-Mart, increased its organic offerings by 20 percent in 2014 to try to compete with Costco.
Organic foods have made a lot of headway in the U.S. food industry since the 1990s. Juggernaut chain Whole Foods Market no longer dominates the organic food landscape; other big chain grocery stores are trying to compete for a larger market share of the $35 billion organic food market. Consumers now have plenty of choices in terms of stores that sell organic foods.