Stores offer natural foods

Posted: Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Organics are going more mainstream.

Kroger Co., a retail grocery chain with stores across the nation, including Dillons stores, has expanded its line of organic foods.

Kroger Co., which owns Dillons stores, launched its Private Selection organic brand in August with 60 items, including potato chips, instant oatmeal, marinara sauce, almonds and green tea. Price Chopper sells a Best Choice line called Clearly Organic.

Sheila Lowrie, a Dillons spokeswoman based in Hutchinson, said the move is making it easier for customers to find organic products they want at their neighborhood stores.

"Our customers tell us they are interested in trying more organic foods, and this brand is designed to help them do that in their regular shopping visits with us," Lowrie said.

Kroger launched its exclusive Private Selection brand in August with 60 items. Most products will be available in Kroger's family of stores by the end of this month.

"This line will continue to expand," Lowrie said. "This line will be expanded to about 120 items by the end of the year. This is in addition to another organic line we already have in the stores it's a Kroger exclusive brand called Naturally Preferred. It is a line of natural and organic foods that was introduced five years ago."

Products in the new line include pasta, waffles, tea, peanut butter, snacks and milk. The Private Selection Organic items can be found throughout the stores, including in refrigerated cases and produce, cereal, canned vegetables, baking and juice aisles.

All of the items carry the USDA Organic Certified seal, Lowrie said.

"This is ensuring that at least 95 percent of the ingredients used are organic," she said.

The seal means the products are free from antibiotics and growth hormones and have no added artificial preservatives or chemicals, Kroger Co. said in a news release.

Lowrie said she has tried many of the products and likes the Private Selection oatmeal.

"It's an organic instant oatmeal," she said. "It's awesome. There are only four ingredients. You can really taste the maple, and it doesn't taste artificial."

Marjorie VanBuren of Topeka said more and more people are inquiring about organic products at the Topeka Natural Food Co-op. VanBuren has shopped at the store for many years and her husband, Lynn VanBuren, is president of the Topeka Natural Food Co-op board.

The co-op carries a vast array of bulk items that are organic, VanBuren said, including beans, grains, wheat, oats, spelt, barley and some pasta.

"No question about it," VanBuren said when asked if organics are becoming more popular. "I think it's a combination of things. I think there are a lot of people who are concerned about the environment and about all of the stuff that is in our food. I think there is a perception that organic tastes better and a perception that it's better for you."

Ann Marie Bush can be reached at (785) 295-1207 or ann.bush@morris.com.



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