Natural and organic foods are only the sixth or seventh largest category at the largest U.S. supermarket operator Kroger, but are the fastest growing category on a percentage basis, and sometimes dollar basis, said Rodney McMullen, president and CEO in December.

Looking ahead, Mr. McMullen said Kroger has plans to grow its presence in natural and organic products, including through its store brands such as Simple Truth. Kroger will grow the category, because “that is where the consumer is headed,” he said.

Mr. McMullen said Kroger believes the growth there is because customers overall and existing customers continue to buy more and more organic and natural foods, plus the younger generation buys a higher share in those categories.

Mr. McMullen was discussing the retailer’s third-quarter results for fiscal 2013, ended November 9.

Identical supermarket sales growth, without fuel, was 3.5% in the third quarter. Total sales increased 3.2% to $22.505 billion in the third quarter (excluding fuel, up 4.7%), compared to the same period last year.