Retail sales of organic fruits and vegetables in the US continue to grow, but the way each store assumes their sale and the presentation strategies they use to do so may differ considerably.
The five stores of Sunset Foods Inc. in Highland Park, Illinois, usually offer more than 200 green items, said Vince Mastromauro, the stores' product director, who highlighted that the organic product category accounts for 8% to 10% of their product offer.
The main vegetable sales are of bagged salads, romaine lettuce, red and green leaves, kale, and spinach. In fruits, apples, summer fruits, and citrus fruits stand out. Mastromauro stressed that sales of organic berries, grapes, and lettuce had increased in recent years, possibly due to concerns about product safety.
Another example is the Apple Valley stores in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which have 40-50 units of organic produce in the fresh produce department, according to Brandon Easton, Apple Valley's product and supermarket manager. That accounts for at least 10% of the store's products.
The best-selling fruits, the professional stressed, are the bananas, the Gala apples, and the avocados. Meanwhile, the best selling vegetables in the store are the salad mixes. The Apple Valley Market presents one to five organic items in their ads each week.
Another example is Felton's Meat & Produce, from Plant City, Florida. This store's ecological program, however, is still not as advanced as that of other supermarkets.
The store only has three or four organic products, and they rarely have more than a dozen of them, according to their production manager, Ron Marshall. The organic products that have the highest demand there are the bananas, a couple of apple varieties, ripe tomatoes, and peppers packages.
Announcing the ecological offer is key
Positioning organic products in the retail sector is one of the key factors to increase sales of these products.
Sunset Foods stores display the refrigerated organic products in a 16-foot section, and their fresh organic produce is in a 12-foot section with a sign to differentiate it.
The Apple Valley Market of Easton markets most organic products together, but they also place some organic products that are clearly differentiated from their conventional counterparts next to the latter. For example, they can exhibit 2-pound bags of conventional lemons next to the organic versions, as the organic bags are clearly labeled as organic.
Organic avocados, on the other hand, are displayed separately from the conventional ones, as it is difficult to distinguish between the two types. The store uses colored signs so that consumers can distinguish between several items.
In the same way, the organic products at Felton's, Marshall, are marketed together in a 6-foot section and they are identified as organic via a large sign.