Large grocery chains are adding organic or “green” items to their aisles, hoping to keep up with growing demand from consumers, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports. This has made competition that much tougher for the pioneers in the industry such as Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market.
Ecologically conscious and organic grocery shopping is picking up in southwest Florida stores and is pushing major chains to join in, according to the Journal. Lakeland-based Publix led the pack by introducing its GreenWise Market private label in 2000, while Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005 and merged earlier this year with BI-LO, has sought to reinvent itself by targeting a higher-income clientele with expanded organic and natural products. The Fruitville Road store was one Winn-Dixie location that underwent $6 million in improvements and is now carrying higher-end goods.
But there is no evidence yet that the high-end grocery market has reached its saturation point. Whole Foods plans to open its 18th Florida store in Clearwater in 2013 or 2014, and Trader Joe’s opened its first two Florida stores in Naples and Sarasota this year.
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