Organics were not "invented" yesterday. There is a clear concumer trend toward eating more natural & organic foods. There is alot of growth potential simply because alot of consumers simply did not have access to organic & natural foods...obviously this is changing with WFMI opening more and more stores and WMT greatly expanding their organic offerings and others joining the bandwagon. I agree with you that marketing has an impact; I don't agree that organics are a fad. I buy both, but I'm buying more organic and natural foods than I have in the past and I don't think I'm the only one! I used to always buy Purdue chicken breasts (probably because my mother did). I haven't bought a Purdue product in years. What do I buy? Bell & Evans. Why? Because their chickens are not raised with hormones etc? NO! I buy Bell & Evans simply because the taste and texture of the chicken IMO is superior to other offerings. Being a natural product is a bonus.
Wooglin has hit the nail on the head here. The organic movement is largely about quality of life.
There is strong evidence that organic agriculture is less harmful to the environment. The place you are most likely to notice the effects of organic agriculture is in ponds and lakes surrounding the farm. However, unless you happen to be a stakeholder in one of those lakes (e.g. a swimmer, boater, fisherman, lakeshore property owner, etc.) choosing organics for its environmental benefits is just an ethical issue, not a selfinterest issue.
There is also strong evidence that many of the pesiticides used in agriculture are carcinogens. However, as a previous poster mentioned, evidence of bioaccumulation of those pesticides in humans is lacking (although "the disease-carrying worms in vegetables" idea was a little weird, and makes me wonder what our friend really gets out of those peer-reviewed journals he mentions...).
The staying power of organics rests largely on the quality of the shopping experience. Shopping at Whole Foods just isn't the same as shopping at Safeway. The stores are better-designed, more esthetic, and cleaner. The staff is more helpful, and the quality of the food (organic or not) is better. If you have shopped Whole Foods and you have the money to keep shopping Whole Foods (it's not cheap), you will never go back.
Now, does this mean that a higher-quality market can't be created on conventional foods? Not necessarily. It really hasn't been tried on a large scale, and until it is we won't know. However, for the time being, if you want the supplier for the high-end grocery markets, UNFI is the place to be.
Market likes OATS & WFMI's Earnings. UNFI's 2 Major Customers. UNFI is already charging a fuel surcharge & I mentioned it being a signficant supplier to first SunFlower Market store in INDY with SuperValu planning on buiding 50 of these stores next 5 years in Midwest. BTW one of biggest growing industrys in Indiana is distribution centers. One of which UNFI opened in August in Greenwood a suburb of Indy. Standard & Poor considers UNFI management conservative in it's growth projections. My Point? It's time for a % of that 18% short ratio I have been harping on to get a Freaking clue and start covering! From $35.88 to low $30's. That's a nice short profit.