Specialty grocery stores such as Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market and Whole Foods Market have as part of their mission to minimize their impact on the environment and natural resources.
“We are worried about the planet. We care about the generations to come, our children and grandchildren,” said Rick Hood, owner of Ellwood Thompson’s, which has operated at Ellwood Avenue and Thompson Street near Carytown since 1993.
“So we don’t want to use chemicals, participate in any kind of food processing or support food processing or the selling of any food that is not sustainable over time. Transporting food all over the world — that is not sustainable,” Hood said.
“Our customers care about it,” said Hood, who also is one of the leaders of Real Local RVA, a group dedicated to growing the local food scene in the Richmond area.
Traditional grocery stores have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon.
They are buying beef, pork, chicken, eggs and other products from suppliers that promise their products are grass-fed, crate-free and cage-free. Grocery stores are recycling more paper, plastic and food waste, outfitting their stores with refrigeration systems that spew fewer emissions that could harm the ozone, and asking suppliers how they treat the workers who farm, pick and catch the food the stores are purchasing.
Kroger, for instance, is pledging that by 2025, all of its eggs — 100 percent — will be from cage-free suppliers. Right now, about 18 percent of the grocer’s egg sales are cage-free eggs, which cost more than regular eggs.
The verdict is still out on whether these initiatives are giving traditional grocery stores an edge in the highly competitive grocery business, said local branding and strategy consultant Bob Kelley, a former executive of Ukrop’s Super Markets…