Major Grocery Chains Expand Organic Fare

By Kirbyson, Geoff | Winnipeg Free Press, February 21, 2013 | Go to article overview

Major Grocery Chains Expand Organic Fare


Kirbyson, Geoff, Winnipeg Free Press


Meanwhile, Vita Health opens another city outlet

Organic food isn't just for hippies and tree-huggers anymore.

Major grocers, such as Canada Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore, and Sobeys, have been not only expanding their organic-food sections but also posting more competitive prices. It's apparent this one-time niche area is now a billion-dollar industry.

Not to be outdone by the industry giants, Vita Health Fresh Market has opened its biggest store in its 77-year history. The 6,700-square-foot outlet in Westwood is more than 50 per cent bigger than its typical location.

"We've had a tonne of success as we've gone into the grocery side of the business. We feel customers are looking for a more well-rounded shopping experience," said Matt Holtmann, president of Winnipeg-based Vita Health.

"We had a hole in the west end of the city. Our customers had been asking for something closer. The closest store would have been in Tuxedo. We knew we had customers coming from there already, but the distance they had to travel was too far," Holtmann said.

The new location will enable Vita Health to have a larger array of offerings, including a deli counter featuring healthy sliced sandwich meats such as summer sausage and roast beef. It will also have a selection of prepared meals, including salads and wraps.

For those who are curious what the organic movement is all about, here's a quick snapshot -- an independent certifying agency ensures any food product meets the criteria to be considered organic.

For example, farmland has to be free of artificial pesticides and fertilizers for five years. (Some organic fertilizers are permitted to combat crop disease.)

Meat products need to be free of growth hormones and antibiotics and the animals must have been given organic feed. …

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