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New organic foods are a hit with consumers

“Today” food editor Phil Lempert shares a look at some of the latest items from the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California.
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Organic foods are one of the fastest growing food groups in the United States, with sales estimated to top $10 billion this year. And we’re not talking just nuts and granola anymore. “Today” food editor Phil Lempert was at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California recently and shares a look at some of the latest items on the market.

WHILE THERE ARE many foods that fall under the category of “healthy,” the one group that is attracting the most attention from consumers is organic. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic foods have been a particularly bright spot on the agricultural horizon in recent years. According to industry estimates, retail sales in the United States grew from $1 billion in 1990, to $5.5 billion in 1998 and estimates are that sales will top $10 billion in 2002. Although part of a high-value niche market, organic products are no longer found exclusively at farmers’ markets or health food stores. Instead, mainstream shoppers are finding increasing numbers of organic products on supermarket shelves around the country.

Searching more than 2,200 exhibits for the latest trends, we gathered some of the healthiest food products on the market. Here’s a rundown of the products:

The good lunch:

These are two varieties of lunch kits by Yves Veggie Cuisine. The Veggie Bologna variety comes with Hain Rich Crackers, a Health Valley Apple Cobbler Bar, Yves The Good Slice — cheddar style. The Veggie Turkey comes with Hain Rich Crackers, Health Valley Chocolate Sandwich Cremes and Yves The Good Slice — cheddar style. (

Honest Tea’s two new fully organic, unsweetened teas:

Haarlem Honeybush and Lori’s Lemon Tea are certified as being free of any chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers. (

Country Choice Naturals:

They’ve introduced the first and only certified organic Vanilla Wafers and Ginger Snaps. These cookies contain no hydrogenated oils or refined sweeteners, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and use only ingredients grown and processed without chemical-based pesticides. (Country Choice Naturals, Eden Prarie, Minnesota 952-829-8824 — )

Earthbound Farm:

Earthbound Farm, the nation’s leading organic produce brand, was the first company to produce packaged salads for retail sale. There are six varieties in their line of Organic Packaged Salads plus two new varieties available in clamshell packaging. (

allGoode Organics Real Food Bars:

These are nutritional snack bars made with only natural ingredients like fruits and nuts, with no added chemicals. Real Food Bars contain an average of 10 ingredients, unlike other bars on the market that often list 30-45 mostly unrecognizable ingredients. Varieties are: Cashew Almond Passion, Amazin’ Peanut Raisin, Honey Nut Harvest, Nutty Chocolate Apricot (contains 2 whole apricots), Banana Nut Nirvana and Chocolate Peanut Pleasure. Each bar sells for $1.39. (

o-bento Organic Frozen Meals:

Traditional bento are single-serving Japanese meals which include rice, vegetables with meat or seafood. Considered the Japanese equivalent of western fast food meals, six million bento are sold daily in Japan in supermarkets, railway dining cars, convenience stores, and other locations. Japanese-owned NRE World Bento,

Inc. has unveiled it organic O-bento line for sale in the U.S. using all natural and organic ingredients produced in California. Currently available are three varieties: Chicken Teriyaki, Japanese-Style Beef, and Fillet of Salmon. All are available in small (6.8-7.2 oz) which sells for $4.99-$5.29 and large (12.1-12.5 oz) which sells for $6.49-6.99. (

Brown Cow Farm Organic Yogurt:

They introduced a low-fat, fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt made with organic milk at Expo West. (

Rudi’s Organic Bakery:

Founded in 1976, Rudi’s Organic Bakery is a leading manufacturer and supplier of branded and co-packed certified organic breads. Product line includes: artisan-style loaves, sliced sandwich breads, hamburger buns, hotdog rolls and spelt products. (

Amy’s Stuffed Pasta Shells:

These are filled with low-fat ricotta, organic broccoli and organic spinach. All Amy’s Kitchen’s products are Certified Organic. (

Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru®, analyzes the food marketing industry to keep consumers up-to-date about cutting-edge marketing trends. He is a regular “Today” show contributor, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and host of Shopping Smart of the WOR Radio Network. For more food and health information, you can check out Phil’s Web site at: