AUSTIN, Texas (October 8, 2002) October 21 marks the date the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Standards food labeling goes into effect. This comes at a time when shoppers are actively seeking out organic foods more than ever before to satisfy their lifestyle needs. Whole Foods Market, an advocate for national organic labeling standards for more than ten years, applauds their arrival as they will ensure consumer confidence in organic foods.
“We have reached a new era in food labeling and a reassuring time for consumers as the new labeling standards will guarantee the integrity of organic products,” said Margaret Wittenberg, vice president of governmental and public affairs at Whole Foods Market. A nationally recognized expert on sustainable agriculture with nearly 25 years of experience in natural and organic foods, Wittenberg played an integral role in the creation of the new national organic standards including a five-year term as the sole retail representative on the USDA's National Organic Standards Board.
“Since Whole Foods Market opened our doors as one small organic and natural supermarket in Texas in 1980, we have been a pioneer in labeling the source of products and providing customer education. We are dedicated to help customers understand the new standards and how they apply to their organic choices,” added Wittenberg.
Whole Foods Market is at “The Heart of Organics”
To help shoppers seek clarity on the organic certification and labeling process, understand organics in general and make conscious organic purchasing decisions, Whole Foods Market is launching an in-store educational awareness campaign entitled “The Heart of Organics.” Shoppers will find brochures, signage and information related to the new labeling rules and on the benefits of organics. All of Whole Foods Market's team members have been extensively trained on how to comply with the standards in order to protect organic integrity at in stores and share that knowledge with consumers.
Throughout all 135 Whole Foods Market stores and at www.wholefoodsmarket.com, consumers can find detailed information about the rule and how to preserve organic integrity of products in their own homes. They will also find a special four- page organics insert in subscription copies of the November issues of Cooking Light, Parenting, and “O” (Oprah's magazine). Other than educational signage, the biggest visible difference at the store is in the labeling. Shoppers will need to look for the name of the USDA-approved independent third party that certifies the product as organic and one of the following three new organic classifications prominently featured on the front of a product:
- “100 % Organic” — The product contains only organically produced ingredients (other than water and salt)
- “Organic” — The product contains at least 95% organic ingredients
- “Made with Organic Ingredients” — The product contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients
Products containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients may only have organic ingredients designated as such within the ingredients panel. It is important to note that not all USDA-certified products will bear the new labels by October 21. This is the start date that organic products will be allowed to bear the new label. Over the next few months, consumers will see more and more organic products with the new labels appear on store shelves.
Organic Value 365 Days A Year
To further celebrate the arrival of the standards, the surge in popularity of organic foods, and to demonstrate its commitment to offering consumers high quality organics at competitive prices, the company is launching its own house brand, 365 Organic Everyday Value™, a variety of organic products at value prices 365 days a year. This marks the first time that organic products have been priced at everyday low prices rather than premium prices.
“As a company believing in organics with our heart and soul, Whole Foods Market has been a catalyst in helping them go from the alternative to the mainstream,” said John Mackey, president and CEO of Whole Foods Market. “Now, those who seek out foods free of artificial ingredients to satisfy their lifestyle needs can get great tasting quality organic pantry items at the best prices in the marketplace.”
365 Organic Everyday Value products are competitively priced everyday staples the entire family will enjoy, including a wide array of products from bagged produce to homemade-style pasta sauces. This new line will complement the Whole Kids Organic™, which is the country's first entirely organic line developed just for, and tested by, kids.
<!– The following 365 Organic products are slated to be on shelves this fall:
|Currently Available||In store late October 2002||Available in November 2002|
|365 Organic Canned Sodas 365 Organic Gravenstein Apple Juice||365 Organic Salad Dressing 365 Organic Canola Oil 365 Organic Apple Juice 365 Organic Popcorn/Cheddar Popcorn 365 Organic Angel Fluffs Snacks 365 Organic Fig Cookies 365 Organic Whole Peeled Carrot 365 Organic Yellow Onion 365 Organic Russet Potatoes||365 Organic Orange Juice 365 Organic Ella Nutrition Bars 365 Organic Pasta 365 Organic Pasta Sauce 365 Organic Olive Oil 365 Organic Refrigerated Soymilk 365 Organic Frozen Fruits and Veggies 365 Organic Variety of sauces 365 Organic Seafood Sauces 365 Organic Fresh Salad Dressings|
Underscoring Our Commitment
The official launch of both the educational campaign and the introduction of the 365 Organic product line will follow the USDA news conference announcing the enactment of the new organic rule. Whole Foods Market will host the announcement at its 1440 P Street NW location in Washington, D.C., at 10:30 a.m. on October 21, 2002. The store will be converted into an “organic oasis” for the day with tastings, product demos, visits by organic farmers and industry specialists. The Organic Trade Association and their leadership circle members as well as select leading organic food makers, including Horizon Organic Dairy, Nature's Path, Seeds of Change and Walnut Acres will be key participants.
Why Buy Organics?
With ongoing concern over food safety and environmental issues, many shoppers are searching for organic foods as alternatives to foods grown with persistent chemical pesticides and genetically engineered foods that may be undesirable to them from both health and environmental standpoints. Organic products offer an alternative to consumers who seek to protect the wellness of the environment, their families, and themselves while enjoying high quality and delicious foods. Whole Foods Market is committed to organics, as we believe it reflects a growing concern for health and quality of life issues, the improvement of the earth and the sustainability of the food system. In addition, buying organics supports farmers, producers, and handlers who have a strong commitment to good health, quality foods, and earth-friendly sustainable agricultural practices. It also encourages others to make their way toward organic farming as the industry continues to grow to support the increased demand. We believe that all of us, as well as future generations, have the right to safe nutritious foods and a healthy environment in which to live.