Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Media Memo: Safeway's O' Organics Brand In Asia

Financial Times picks up on (our?) O' Organics in Asia story

On December 21, we reported that Safeway Stores, Inc. was selling its O' Organics brand organic grocery products in Carrefour stores in Taiwan. We followed that story up with more reporting on the topic in a December 23 story--and then again with another story on December 27. {You can read our three stories here.}

Today, the prestigious Financial Times newspaper reported the story. The Financial Times is the first mainstream business publication to report on the O' Organics brand being sold in Asia. {Read today's Financial Times story here.} (Note: The major supermarket industry trade publications haven't reported the story yet.)

Note: In our stories we reported the O' Organics brand was also being sold in Taiwan and in other parts of Asia by Marketplace by Jason's stores, in addition to Carrefour. These stores are a fairly new upscale division of Hong Kong-based supermarket chain Wellcome.

In its story today, the Financial Times said that in addition to Carrefour carrying the O' Organics organic grocery items in its Taiwan stores, the brand also is being carried in stores owned by Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm Group.

Dairy Farm Group is the parent company of Wellcome Supermarkets. Wellcome is actually a separate division of Dairy Farm (which is a diversified company), and that is why we stated in our original reporting that the O' Organics brand items are being sold in those particular stores, under the ownership of Wellcome. The Financial Times story doesn't mention the Jason's stores by name--but that's where the O' Organics brand grocery items are being sold in addition to Carrefour.

The Financial Times story also says the O' Organics brand grocery items appeared in the fist Carrefour store earlier this year. However, we wrote our first story on the grocery items being in a Carrefour hypermarket in Taipi, Taiwan on December 21. The items were in that particular store at least a week--and probably longer--prior to December 21, 2007.

The Financial Times story also says Carrefour, the second-biggest retailer in the world after Wal-Mart, declined to say whether or not it has an agreement with Safeway to sell the O' Organics brand in areas other than Asia.

Carrefour declined to comment to us as well when we broke the story almost three weeks ago.

However, based on what our sources have told us, Carrefour at present doesn't plan to sell the O' Organic brand items outside of Asia at present, but that is subject to change.

The French mega-retailer is evaluating the potential of offering products from the O' Organics line in its stores in Latin America. (We provided some detail on this in our December 21, 23 and 27 stories.) Carrefour has over 300 stores in Latin America, the majority being in Brazil and Argentina.

We're pleased to see the Financial Times cover the story today. It's one of our favorite international business publications.

We are presently working on a story on potential O' Organics brand sales in Latin America. However, we don't yet feel comfortable reporting it based on our current level of sourcing, so we haven't. When we do feel comfortable doing so, you will be the first to know.

3 comments:

Linda said...

I purchased some O Organics Black Beans awhile ago and didn’t notice at the time that stamped on the top of the can is “PROD OF CHINA”. I will NEVER shop at Safeway again and I don’t trust any products anymore. Thanks for selling out our lovely country!!!

Linda in AZ

Linda said...

I purchased some O Organics Black Beans awhile ago and didn’t notice at the time that stamped on the top of the can is “PROD OF CHINA”. I will NEVER shop at Safeway again and I don’t trust any products anymore. Thanks for selling out our lovely country!!!

Chandra said...

Personally, I didn't really trust such a large corporate food company selling organic products. However, I will occasionally purchase the organic milk at the grocery store around the corner out of pure convenience, until... I just noticed today that they also subsidize their product with organic milk powder. Just another way the company to make a dime and for us consumers to get the short end of the stick on quality food... I'm sticking with the companies and names I trust from now on.