Food Fun and Facts - Organic Products Make Their Way Into Mainstream

Organic Products Make Their Way Into Mainstream

Not long ago, consumers who wanted to "go green" had to shop in specialty retailers because the selection in mainstream stores was scarce or nonexistent.

However, today the tide is turning as more consumers are asking for organic products - everything from food to clothes - and retailers are answering the call.

Take for instance retail giant Wal-Mart, which will increase its supply of organic offerings by expanding its baby product line.

New offerings include George Baby Organic Cotton apparel and Parent's Choice Organic Infant Formula, the first organic infant formula available at a mass retailer.

It is also the first formula to contain the lipids DHA and ARA, nutrients found naturally in mother's milk and proven to aid in infant brain and eye development.

"We hope to make these products accessible to parents who might not have chosen organic in the past due to cost or availability," said Tom Dougherty, Wal-Mart's vice president, divisional merchandise manager, infants and toddlers.

Indeed, with the U.S. organic industry growing to $14.6 billion in consumer sales in 2005, it's clear that customers recognize the benefits of purchasing products with minimal amounts of dyes and chemicals, especially when it comes to their children.

Supporting the numbers is a recent survey commissioned by Wal-Mart and conducted by Strategy One, which found that more than 60 percent of the 1,000 people interviewed are interested in buying organic products for their children, while 65 percent said they believe organic products are better for their children.

Additionally, almost three-fourths of those interviewed said they would be more likely to purchase organic products for their infants if they were more readily available or more affordable.

The survey's margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.

"Moms spend untold hours researching products such as formula and clothing for their babies," said Stephanie Gallagher, author of "The Gallagher Guide to the Baby Years: The Real Moms' Survey of Top-Rated Products and Advice."

"My research has shown that moms are increasingly savvy on environmental issues and are very interested in organic infant products."


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