Whole Food, who has been bringing quality, organic produce mainstream and educating consumers about the advantage of an organic diet, has created a new food rating system objected by organic farmers.
The grocer who is known for "building stores that are essentially showcases for organic fruits, vegetables and flowers tagged with the names of the farmers who grow them," is facing a great deal of competition as more mainstream grocery chains are offering a broad selection of organic produce, according to The New York Times.
Therefore, organic famers have more outlets to sell their produce.
But while their beneficial relationship is being strained, Whole Foods is being accused of using their "marketing skills" and "credibility" to push conventionally-grown produce on consumers through a new rating system called Responsibly Grown. The programs labels such produce with "good," "better," or "best" to show consumers that conventionally grown foods measure up to organic produce.
Yet the program allows farmers "who do not meet the stringent requirements for federal organic certification the same rating as an organic farmer, or even a higher one," according to The New York Times. Not only does this undermine organic farmers, it completely disregards federal regulations.
Consumer pressure from mainstream grocery chains, local farmers markets and food cooperatives is giving Whole Food a run for it's money. So is this their answer to rising competition?