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    Hannaford Earns Organic Retailer Certification, Widens Offering

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Bros. Co. here has completed the process to become a certified organic retailer, making it the only traditional supermarket in the northeastern United States to meet Quality Assurance International's (QAI) tough guidelines for certification.

    SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Bros. Co. here has completed the process to become a certified organic retailer, making it the only traditional supermarket in the northeastern United States to meet Quality Assurance International's (QAI) tough guidelines for certification.

    "The requirements for obtaining certified organic retailer status are stringent and exacting," said Hannaford spokeswoman Caren Epstein in a statement. "It was well worth the effort, however, so our customers can be confident that we uphold the highest organic standards, ensuring the organic integrity of our products."

    In tandem with the announcement of its organic certification, which was granted last month, Hannaford said it has considerably expanded the organic and natural product offering in its stores, in response to shopper demand. The chain said a recent poll of customers indicated that almost 80 percent buy organic and natural items "at least sometimes" when they go to the supermarket.

    The retailer now offers over 3,500 organic and natural products, or roughly 10 percent of the 36,000 SKUs available in a typical Hannaford store. Among the organic products are over 160 produce items and 115 baby foods and products.

    Additionally, this month the company is rolling out 120 new products in its Nature's Place private label line of organic and natural products, which was introduced in 2001 to offer shoppers items comparable to national brands in quality, but at lower price points.

    New Nature's Place items include organic black beans, organic raisin bran, organic creamy peanut butter, organic honey, and organic apple juice.

    With the new additions, the line now includes 180 products across almost every department, including deli, produce, center store, meat, bakery, and health and beauty care.

    Along with the product introductions, Hannaford said it has also updated the Nature's Place packaging design to clearly convey the items' organic, natural, or naturally raised classification.

    Throughout May, the retailer will be offering in-store samples of organic and natural products.

    Delhaize-owned Hannaford operates 159 stores in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

    QAI is an independent third-party group that verifies organic quality and integrity for organizations worldwide.

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