Phloretin is a lipophilic compound which has been widely studied as a broad spectrum effector of metabolite transport in red blood cells (RBC). Phloretin effects on the organization of lipids in the RBC membrane are investigated using the spin-labeled fatty acids, 5 and 16-nitroxyl stearate (5-NS and 16-NS, respectively). Phloretin at different concentrations produced biphasic effects on the lineshape of the EPR response from 16-NS-labeled RBC. The dependence of these changes on the flat cell orientation with respect to the magnetic field suggested that phloretin promoted lipid order at low concentrations (5 to 40 μM) and disorder at high concentrations (40 to 250 μM). The biphasic effects of phloretin occurred at concentrations which parallel its dual actions on metabolite transfer. Phloretin generally inhibits transport (protein-mediated) and stimulates diffusion (lipid-mediated) processes. The spectroscopic effects were best characterized through second-harmonic, in-phase detection. The possible contribution of other factors to the spectroscopic changes is discussed. When RBC were spin labeled with 5-NS, higher concentrations of the probe were required for adequate detection and only monophasic effects of phoretin were observed. The results suggest that membrane lipids are important in phloretin effects on transport and diffusion processes.