Organic Consumers Association

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Food Co-ops Brace for Arrival of Giant Rivals

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Organic Transitions page.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Boise Co-op eliminated thousands of slow-selling items, sweeping away the claustrophobic effect that accompanied too many offerings. The Wheatsville Food Co-op in Texas is opening its second store after 40 years.

And in California, the Davis Food Co-op turned to a designer to revamp its look.

It's no coincidence food cooperatives across the U.S. are making big changes. Many are preparing for the arrival of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, two organic- and specialty-food industry giants that are opening new stores nationwide.

Some co-ops are even dispatching camera-toting, intelligence-gathering crews to poach ideas from the big guys.

With demand for organic, natural and specialty food continuing to outpace other segments in the grocery industry, co-ops say they must improve their stores, identify trends and appeal to a changing audience as the competition moves in.


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