Growing Trend: WV grocery stores responding to demand for organi - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Growing Trend: WV grocery stores responding to demand for organic foods

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CHARLESTON, WV - We hear the words organic, natural, local and fresh all the time. However, do you really know what they mean?

It’s becoming a growing trend in our area and across the country to eat healthy and GMO-free. Many grocery stores are noticing and responding to this demand.

“I grow just vegetables. What I like to grow is real small lots of a lot of different things,” said Julie Schaer.

This trend is growing in the Mountain State and across the country.

Julie Schaer owns the Potager, a small family farm in Hurricane that’s USDA-certified organic. She’s one of the very few certified organic farmers in the entire Mountain State.

“The reason why I am choosing to go organic is because I really like the idea of sustainability,” she said.

Many people are choosing to go organic. In 2012, US shoppers spent $29 billion on organic food, up 262 percent from ten years ago.

“Yeah, there has definitely been a lot more interest. I think that people are getting a lot smarter and better informed to what it means to be organic,” said Schaer

Certified organic farmers never use chemical fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms and other synthetic substances.

“It's certainly a lot more labor intensive. If you figure the time into the price of your product, you might as well eat all of it yourself,” said Schaer.  

But many say they buy organic for the right price. So 13 News went shopping to see exactly how much it would cost.

“The first thing you see when you come in is organics,” said Carla White, the nutrition clerk at the Kanawha City Kroger.

Two years ago Kroger introduced its Simple Truth branded foods, all natural and organic.

“A lot of people say they come from quite a distance. I get people like from Elkview and smaller stores because in their area they don't carry organics” said White.

This section has grown by double digits over the past three years. And it’s not as pricey as you might think.

13 News compared a basket filled with chicken, eggs and vegetables to an identical one with all organic products

A regular package of chicken breast cost $5.23. A package of organic chicken breasts cost $5.39. A dozen regular eggs cost $1.99 and a dozen organic eggs cost $2.79. A pound of apples cost $3.76 and organic apples cost $3.51.

Kroger isn't alone in introducing its own brand of organic foods. Walmart, the nation's largest grocer, announced it will carry organic products in a partnership with Wild Oats.

Salsa, olive oil and beans are on the shelves right now.

“The one thing about healthy food is usually it's more expensive. But here it allows you to get healthy food at a lower cost. Many times lower than what people deem as less than healthy,” said George Skinner, the store manager for the Walmart in Charleston.  

Walmart says its prices will be 25 percent lower than other supermarkets.

And with all of this competition for the organic market, it could mean good news for you and your wallet including lower prices and more availability.