What's more, I think any vertical integration by supermarkets to the farm level would immediately draw negative attention and concern about market concentration. It also runs directly counter to the consumer affection for sourcing from small, local growers.
If any supermarket would attempt to grow or contract supply for a private label brand, I would think it would need to be an upscale retailer like Whole Foods. There would be an undeniable cachet in selling produce from your own pristine farm, produced in your own quirky way.
It may the lure of private label leads to more contract arrangements between supermarkets and growers, but I don't see supermarkets wanting to get in the business of farming.
How do readers feel about this news from Japan? Are retailers going to wear farmers' caps in the apple orchards of Washington and the onion fields of Georgia?