Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Organic Competition: Consumer Demand for Healthier Stores Grows

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Organic Competition: Consumer Demand for Healthier Stores Grows

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - It's been four years since Whole Foods Market opened in the city. Sprouts Farmers Market and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage have also entered the metro, offering organic and healthy grocery items. Both companies have said they saw a demand for their grocery lines, though they have different offerings.

Natural Grocers entered the Oklahoma City market in 2011 and Tulsa in 2013. Spokesman Jeremy Jones said the company didn't follow Whole Foods to Oklahoma City. He said it evaluates the choices for organic, affordable products in the area before it plots locations.

"There was a big demand for affordable, natural and organic products," he said. "Our decision was based on our own research and findings about the community. We didn't come because our competitor was having success."

The company has two stores in Oklahoma City, two in Edmond and one in Norman. There are four stores in Tulsa. Sprouts has seven stores in the state, with locations in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman, Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Owasso. A second Oklahoma City store is under construction at NW 122nd Street and MacArthur Boulevard.

Sprouts will announce two more Oklahoma City stores in 2016, spokesman Diego Romero said. He said there are no plans for additional stores in Tulsa. Jones said the company is always looking for expansion possibilities, but had no immediate plans.

Natural Grocers offers 100-percent organic produce. Other products do not contain artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or hydrogenated oils. Sprouts has organic, seasonal and specialty produce. Other products are natural or organic, and the store has more than 1,600 Sprouts-branded items.

Romero said Sprouts succeeds in crowded markets. With its origin as a fruit stand, it has a wide variety of produce that often brings in customers.

"We've been very successful in Oklahoma," Romero said. …

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