Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as “natural.” — Ronnie Cummings, The Organic Consumer’s Association
I’m devastated to hear it, but not in the least bit surprised. For several years, I have had the convenience of either living near, or working near the well-known giant in organic, “natural”, and to some extent artisan foods giant, “Whole Paycheck.”
And yes, while Whole Foods is pricey, consumers didn’t shy away from the booming organic and natural movement. Our willingness to pay such a higher percentage of our income on these foods demonstrates consumer values.
It also demonstrates consumer ignorance.
Don’t be misled by labels, and don’t be misled by advertising. Images on cartons of milk showing happy, grass-fed cows are still far from illustrating the truth. Just because something costs more doesn’t make it better.
To understand the aforementioned quote–to know how such a deception is still possible, and legal–see “What you’re REALLY eating (part 3): don’t be misguided by food labels.”
Why post the quote at all? It came from “The Organic Elite Surrenders To Monsanto,” by Ronnie Cummings, which describes how Whole Foods and other major names are simply tired of dealing with their cranky, demanding consumer base. Because $9 billion of their sales is represented by the non-organic, GM-containing products, it is easier to continue raking in profits by sweeping the issue under the rug.
Most consumers, believe it or not (my readership is not representative of “most consumers,”) cannot sufficiently qualify a difference between natural and organic. The industry will rely on this ignorance to perpetuate sales after the wake of outrage from more conscious consumers.
Retail stores like WFM and wholesale distributors like UNFI have failed to educate their customers about the qualitative difference between natural and certified organic, conveniently glossing over the fact that nearly all of the processed “natural” foods and products they sell contain GMOs, or else come from a “natural” supply chain where animals are force-fed GMO grains in factory farms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). –OCA
Thanks to people like me (in my nascent health-and-environment-conscious stages also couldn’t tell you the difference between natural and organic, and due to a lack of funds, felt warm and fuzzy with my “natural” purchases all the same) a problem seeded itself in ignorance, then grew mightily in the organic-natural grocery boom.
…well-intentioned but misled consumers have boosted organic and “natural” purchases to $80 billion annually-approximately 12% of all grocery store sales. —OCA
While organic took profits away from conventional, “conventional natural” took profits back.
How much progress have we made, really?
Know your labels. Know what you’re buying.