Healthy Food

Take it with a grain of hand-harvested crystallized pink Himalayan sea salt, but Whole Foods Market—the iconic gourmet natural and organic grocery chain—is reporting that more Americans than ever are opting for natural and organic foods.

According to the 5th Annual Whole Foods Market Food Shopping Trend Tracker Survey conducted by Harris Interactive, as many as three out of four Americans said that food quality is something they don’t wish to compromise on, regardless of food prices. And two-thirds of shoppers also consider themselves “value seekers.”

The research also found that close to half of the consumers polled are willing to pay more for locally produced foods; one-third are willing to pay more for cleaner foods containing no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives. And close to 30 percent are willing to pay more for meats that are free of antibiotics, growth hormones and raised under more ethical conditions.

“We see that Americans from all demographics are seeking more natural and organic foods; especially if the price is right,” said A.C. Gallo, president and COO of Whole Foods Market in a statement. “We don’t believe shoppers should have to sacrifice quality for price, so we aim to offer high quality food that fits every budget through competitive pricing and expanding our 365 Everyday Value line.”

Despite the growing demand for natural and organic foods, Whole Foods Market has come under scrutiny recently, mainly for not contributing any donations to the California Right to Know Proposition 37 ballot initiative that could make California the first state to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

The faceless organization, The Organic Spies, recently released an undercover video taken at Whole Foods stores throughout southern California highlighting employees misguided about GMOs and the fact that Whole Foods actually carries products containing genetically modified ingredients.

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Image: Masahiro Ihara