Produce or Protein, the Organic Market Can Drive the Prepared Foods Section

With consumers becoming more health conscious due to the vast amount of information and options available to them, shoppers aren’t just looking for meals that are low in fat or calories, but rather foods that are organic. The organic food segment grew by 8.4% last year, showing customers are paying attention to what kind of food is on their plate. To give consumers choices based on the organic trend, there are various routes you could take with your meat or prepared food department.

Protein
While some may think of “organic” as solely foods you can find in the garden, organic meat and poultry are major contributors to the success of the organic market. In 2016, organic meat and poultry increased by more than 17% to $991 million, being the category’s largest annual gain since its introduction. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) stated at the current pace of sales, this section of organic can pass $1 billion in sales for 2017. Butchers can take advantage of this trend by offering both organic and non-organic versions of the same meat to appeal to buyers what are considerate of locally sourced, organic meats with the tradeoff being a higher price per pound for the organic route.

Prepared food departments can use more organic meats in dishes. Experimenting with new foods and tastes is popular among customers, both young and old, so the organic versions of popular dishes could pique the interests of eaters. If there are concerns that the cost of the organic dishes versus the standard prepared meals may scare away potential customers, selling organic meat snacks could be an alternative, being a cheaper cost option for customers and appealing to the rising snack market.

Produce
Produce has always been associated with the organic market due to leading sales in the category, so making dishes featuring organic vegetables is a great way to appeal to customers that are looking for organic food and don’t have time to cook on their own. Fruits and vegetables are worth $15.6 billion in the organic sector, which is around 40% of all organic food sales. Its growth rate is 8.4%, making a market worth the investment, especially considering the overall fruits and vegetable industry currently sees a 3.3% growth rate.

While these sales account for raw vegetables, advertising that organic produce is used in certain prepared foods can encourage customers to purchase various prepared meals who would’ve been skeptical of ingredients in standard offerings. One of the top prepared foods that can drive the prepared organic market is salad kits since they are linked to lower calorie meal options to begin with. In a Progressive Grocer discussion, Michael Golderman of Fresh Express, Inc, stated, “Consumers are demanding products in the organic segment that have been available in the conventional segment for years.”

However, dishes primarily with vegetables don’t have to be limited to salads or vegetarian meals, so maximize the creativity of your prepared foods department. Sautè meats with mixed veggies or add a side of vegetables with sandwiches or more elaborate meat dishes to utilize organic produce with meals. Even if the main ingredient or main course of the prepared meal is not labelled as organic, using organic fruits or veggies can be a make or break for your consumers. Meals don’t have to focus on the organic trend to take advantage of it. The little touches could be enough to drive customers.