MERCHANDISING: The Profitable Earth

Recipe for a business boom: take the hip lifestyle, add a pinch of nostalgia and stir in generous helpings of Ralph Nader. That unlikely combination has created one of the nation's fastest-rising businesses, the merchandising of organic foods. Basically, these are the foods that great-grandma used to eat. They are grown without the aid of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and processed without the use of emulsifiers, mold inhibitors, bleaches, preservatives, binders, buffers, drying agents or any other test-tube additives.

A few years ago, the market for such products was fed by a...

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