Supermarket CR Makeover

Organic, non-GMO, 100% recycled, “oh my!” By default, supermarkets are getting a rapid makeover as companies strive to become more responsible.

To start, shoppers can likely expect an influx of organics on local shelves, as it’s been identified as the No. 1 food trend of the coming decade, far surpassing easy meals and low-calorie labeling. With a market already estimated at more than $23 billion annually, there is no doubt that continued consumer interest will have companies rushing to capture a piece of the expanding pie.

Not to be outdone, Whole Foods is adopting a non-GMO verification for all its private-label products and is expected to begin rolling out new packaging later this year. Executives note that although the verification is not required, they hope it will help consumers make more informed purchase decisions.

And the momentum in the supermarket doesn’t end with the product itself. Earthbound Farm and Naked Juice separately announced they are raising the bar by converting to 100% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging. "These are major consumer brands using recycled content," says Anne Johnson, director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, in an article in USA Today. "It's a big deal." For its part, Earthbound Farms explains the move is about marrying its organic food with a responsible image. The switch has happened in light of research that found environmental packaging by food companies to be the third most important purchasing factor for North American consumers — ranking slightly below freshness of ingredients and additional health benefits.


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