When most people think of organic foods and where to get them, they usually tend to think of Whole Foods first.
The Austin, TX-based upscale chain moved to the forefront of the organic grocery industry by making a commitment to local and organic food producers, and combining a love of good food with better quality ingredients.
But lately, the profile of the organic shopper has changed dramatically, as the movement has gone mainstream.
Customers are increasingly looking for cheaper organic options, and for the ability to buy everything they need for meals in one spot. And that’s where Costco, one of the biggest retailers of its kind in America, comes in.
Organic Goes Mainstream as Costco Grabs the Top Spot
Ranking as the second biggest retailer in America overall behind Wal-Mart Costco obviously has a leg up on the competition.
But they also deserve to be commended for committing to organics before most other large grocery and retail chains were willing to take the chance.
That commitment has been rewarded: Costco is now topping $4 billion in organic sales annually according to this article, which trumps Whole Foods makes it the new sales champion of organic food in the United States. The company is expecting to top $10 billion yearly by 2020.
Costco has increased sales of organic food of several different types, offering customers the unique option of allowing people to buy in larger quantities compared to other stores. The company is now going all in on that commitment, similar to the plans of other major store chains like Kroger (which was also expected to possibly surpass Whole Foods) and Target.
They even recently told suppliers to end the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides on garden plants sold in its stores, upping their commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly agriculture.
Wal-Mart also has invested heavily in organic food along with several other major retailers who have become worried about being left in the dust.
Organic Supply Catching Up with Demand?
Recent reports have noted that organic corn and other raw materials for food products have been in such short supply that U.S. companies have been forced to important them from countries like Romania to get them at a time when U.S. farmers still haven’t taken the hint and continue to grow GMOs.
“While the challenges in terms of supply are still out there, they’re becoming less formidable, because there are more organic suppliers and producers,” Richard Galanti, Costco’s vice president and CFO, said in a conference call with the analysts. “We’re working with them to commit more to it.”[Related Reading: University Study Uncovers The Best Way to Save Money on Organic Food (Almost 90% on Average]
Costco’s Organic Selection
Costco is a membership-based grocery store chain whose size dwarfs most other local retailers, with their immense influence and buying power combined with their commitment to organic, this seems like good news for shoppers, provided we also work to safeguard organic standards.
As organic becomes mainstream, more and more powerful interests will begin pushing for watered down standards, so it’s important to support our organic watchdog organizations as well as to buy organic (and especially from small, local organic farmers).
If you’d like to browse Costco’s current organic products selection which ranges from organic baby mattresses to coffee, snacks like popcorn, and even heirloom seeds, check out this link.
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