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Only 20% of products at health food stores are organic: poll

2012/07/31 18:27:32

Taipei, July 31 (CNA) Only 20-30 percent of products sold at health food grocery stores in Taiwan are organic, a survey by Common Health Magazine showed Tuesday.

However, around 80 percent of the fruits and vegetables sold at most health food stores are organic, the survey of 11 major suppliers of organic products found.

The poll, conducted July 2-8, looked at the percentage of organic products on sale, the service, prices, promotion and display.

It found that sales representatives at organic grocery stores tend to overstate the benefits of their products, relying heavily on words such as "cancer-fighting" and "energizing," which can be misleading.

In terms of display, most health food stores do not dedicate specific areas to organic products, but hypermarkets do better in this regard, often displaying posters that provide information about organic products, the poll found.

Hypermarkets were found to score better in terms of labeling, providing more comprehensive information on the name, price and weight of their products. They also offer a greater variety of fresh organic produce than specialized health food stores, the poll showed.

Organic produce sold at hypermarket chains is relatively cheaper than at health food stores, although the prices cannot be classified as low, according to the poll.

Among the products sold at health food stores, agricultural produce account for 20 percent, health supplements 15-20 percent, instant meals 25 percent, while the rest are dried fruit and vegetables, processed foods, and so on, according to the survey.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Scully Hsiao)
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