Organic foods are becoming mainstream, as food manufacturers and
retailers seek to capture part of the higher prices consumers are
willing to pay for organic cereal, dairy, meat and horticultural
Foods that just a decade ago were available only at natural foods
stores now can be found on grocery store shelves across the country.
Along with premium prices, unparalleled growth has convinced companies
like Kraft Foods Inc., H.J. Heinz Co. and Kellogg Co. to sell products
from crops and livestock raised without the use of synthetic
chemicals, antibiotics or genetic engineering.
Since the early 1990s, organic food sales in the United States have
grown by about 20 percent annually. By comparison, food sales in
general have increased by less than 5 percent per year.
Kellogg, whose founder, J.H. Kellogg, helped create the breakfast-food
market by advocating a grain-based vegetarian diet in the late 1800s,
snapped up La Jolla, Calif.-based organic breakfast food maker Kashi
Co. in June 2000 for an undisclosed sum.
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