The natural and organic food segments have logged double-digit growth over the last two years, and are expected to exceed 15% in 2007 and 2008. Erica Kuhlmann, managing director and head of BMO Capital Markets' Food Group, says U.S. consumers spent $44.5 billion on natural and organic foods in 2005, which accounted for about 8.6% of the total U.S. food supply. By 2010, the group says spending on such food will be nearly $70.9 billion, of which meat, fish and poultry will account for about $6 billion.

“What once was a small niche market has become a significant market segment that both large and small retailers are trying to capture,” she says.