Faced with contaminated food, Chinese shoppers pony up for organics
Got a hankering for lard made from sewage and industrial oil? Look no further than the mean streets of China’s cities. Such “fake food,” along with real food contaminated by pollution and pesticides, is showing up on shelves — and turning the stomachs of urban denizens. As a result, according to state-conducted research, more than 60 percent of China’s 562 million city dwellers are willing to pay more for food certified as safe or organic. Two national standards — an organic rule adopted in April 2005 and a 17-year-old “green” rule that limits pesticide and chemical use — help shoppers sort through the muck. “There’s going to be a bill for the choices we make,” said organic convert Song Guangxiong. “It’s pretty expensive, but I think it’s worth the money.” So do companies cashing in on the trend, including — wait for it — Wal-Mart, which began selling organics in its 71 stores in China in 2005 and has seen sales skyrocket over the last year. Luckily, they always keep prices lo.