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Whole Foods cleans up standards for household products

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market this week has introduced a comprehensive, color-coded rating system for household cleaners sold at its stores.

The new Eco-Scale rating system features tiered, green household cleaning standards where products are rated and classified based on the specific set of environmental and sourcing standards they each meet.

The Eco-Scale classifies household cleaners in the following categories:

  • Red-rated products do not meet the Eco-Scale standards and will be reformulated or phased out of Whole Foods Market;

  • Orange-rated products must be third-party verified to meet the following criteria: No ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns — such as phosphates, chlorine or preservatives, which have the potential to release formaldehyde. Products also cannot contain artificial colors or use animal testing;

  • Yellow-rated products feature all of orange-rated product requirements, plus no ingredients with moderate environmental or safety concerns, such as diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA) or monethanolamine (MEA) surfactants — surface acting agents that can act as foaming agents — that have the potential to contain nitrosamines and other impurities, and no synthetic thickeners made from nonrenewable petroleum-derived sources. All products must feature 100%-natural fragrances; and

  • Green-rated products represent the highest level of Whole Foods’ new standards and meet all the requirements of the orange and yellow products, but also contain only 100%-natural ingredients and no petroleum-derived ingredients.

"Shoppers have a right to know what’s actually in the products they use to clean their homes," said Jim Speirs, global VP procurement for Whole Foods. "We’ve always carefully monitored ingredients. Now, with Eco-Scale, we’re able to help shoppers buy eco-friendly products with confidence and provide safer alternatives for their households and for the planet as a whole."

Whole Foods said that all products sold in its stores must meet the baseline orange standard by Earth Day 2012.

For more information on Whole Foods Market’s Eco-Scale, including prohibited ingredients for each tier, visit WholeFoodsMarket.com/eco-scale.

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Despite store openings, Fresh & Easy reports $300 million loss

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Supermarket retailer Fresh & Easy, which operates stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, experienced increased losses this year, according to parent company Tesco.

The chain, which opened its doors in 2007 and has expanded its reach to include more than 165 stores to date, endured a loss of more than $300 million during the 2010-2011 financial year ended Feb. 26, its parent company reported on Tuesday.

Despite the higher losses in the 2010-2011 period, the overall Fresh & Easy business remains on track to break even toward the end of the current financial year, Tesco said.

Philip Clarke, who officially took the helm of Tesco as its CEO on March 1, said that it is working to drive more customers into Fresh & Easy stores and is confident that improvements will be seen.

"The customers that shop at Fresh & Easy absolutely love it … We just have to get more customers into the stores to appreciate it," Clarke said in a post-results interview, adding that more efforts are being put into communicating Fresh & Easy’s concept of offering high-quality food at fair prices.

Clarke also noted that despite the losses, Fresh & Easy will forge ahead with its expansion.

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Weis brings savings to Facebook fans

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets’ official Facebook page is celebrating its 10,000th fan with exclusive coupon offers, the grocer announced Tuesday.

Weis Markets’ Facebook fans now are eligible for these coupons at Facebook.com/WeisSuperMarket. The coupon offers include $5 off a $50 purchase, $1 off 12-oz. Weis quality granola, $1 off 12-count Weis quality coffee solos and $1 off a Weis Five Star item.

“We’ve steadily increased the value of our fan page, which offers contests, daily healthy recipes, company updates and recall information,” Brian Holt, Weis Markets’ director of marketing said. “We plan to offer three to five new coupons every two weeks.”

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