the organic food biz is about tobe shaken up by the intrusion of the Whole Foods supermarket chain.The Austin, Texas-based natural foods giant aims to open a 40,000-square-foot store in tony Hazelton Lanes next fall, ensuring they get a piece of the burgeoning market for additive- and GM-free foods.
This will mean heady competition for the current local natural foods leader, The Big Carrot on Danforth, as well as Loblaws, which has jumped on the organic foods bandwagon of late.
"It will be another credible buyer in Canada, and that will be good," says Larry Lenhardt, CEO of Organic Crop Producers and Processors Ontario Inc. "It's going to be right up there with Loblaws coming online."
Whole Foods was started in 1978 by John Mackey and now has over 100 stores in the U.S. It offers its own GM-free private-label products and produces a line of natural supplements.
"You don't really have our type of store up there," says Mary Lou Torrison, Whole Foods Midwest marketing coordinator. "You don't have the variety of items that we can offer in a 40,000-square-foot store."