For those of us who want to eat healthier foods that are free from pesticides and preservatives, the bad news is we must pay a premium. After all, the jokes that call Whole Foods stores “Whole Paycheck” are funny because there is truth to them. However, that premium price is finally going down thanks to a few new options.
Whole Foods Market opened a new concept store called Whole Foods 365 in Los Angeles in 2016 with the goal of delivering a more affordable option to local residents. The stores focus on the brands’ house label products and provide organic, non-GMO foods without the steep prices of the larger Whole Foods Market.
For the past two years the stores had been located only on the West Coast and Texas, but they finally spread to the East Coast this February.
Another player in the affordable healthy market is web retailer Brandless, which launched 10 months ago. The company sells unbranded packaged foods that is non-GMO, mostly organic, and free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. In addition, the company’s beauty items are free from harmful ingredients like parabens and the cleaning products are all non-toxic. Because the company only sells unbranded goods, it is able to lower its prices by approximately 40 percent compared to comparable premium products.
Even Target, known for its affordable prices and quality items, has gotten in on the act. The store aimed to increase its organic grocery options by 25 percent by the end of 2017.
It’s likely that these more affordable options are helping to grow the sales of organic products in the United States. The latest figures available by the Organic Trade Association showed that organic food sales increased by more than 8 percent in the last year. That’s huge compared to the annual growth of 0.6 percent for overall food products. Sales of organic non-food items were up even more, to nine percent annual growth.
Even though many consumers are willing to pay a premium for healthy options, not everyone can afford the prices. After all, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life. Given that Millennials are expected to outnumber Boomers by the end of 2019, there is clearly a large demand for affordable, healthy goods.
It’s time for some other businesses to come in and grab a piece of the market.