The company also provides photographs and information about their growers to retailers for use in promotions.
Just a choice
Other companies prefer not to compare organic and conventional.
“Our approach has been, and will continue to be, that we are offering consumers a choice,” said Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing for The Nunes Co., Salinas, Calif.
“We don’t say one is better than the other or more nutritious. We just offer a choice,” he said. “And regardless of whether they choose conventional or organic, we believe the increased consumption of all fruits and vegetables is beneficial.”
Tom Deardorff, president of Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard, Calif., agreed. He wants to see the entire produce industry come together to promote the increase in all consumption, both organic and not.
“If consumers choose organic or conventional, we need mature, robust markets supplying them with that,” he said. “We need to stay above the fray and use positive attributes to promote products.”
Selling the story
Weinstein said one of the most important aspects of selling organic produce is the telling of the story behind the product.
“People don’t just buy a product. They buy the concept of what that product will do for them or help them do for themselves,” Weinstein said.
In the case of organic produce, that concept is usually sustainability and healthfulness.
“People don’t buy organic food because it costs more and they are looking to impress their friends with how much more money they are spending on food. They buy the concept of good health, both for them and the planet,” Weinstein said.
“Our marketing innovation is to help them understand that when they shop for organic foods, they are buying much more than food — they are investing in a sustainable future for themselves, their families, and for future generations.”
Despite all the marketing efforts, growers and shippers say the growth of the category comes down to the product quality.
“As packers and growers continue to get better at what we do by building efficiencies and learning new techniques to grow and handle products, we’ll continue to grow a better and better product,” Mabs said.
“All the marketing techniques are great, but it’s all about consumer eating a product and enjoying it,” Mabs said. “If they enjoy it, they’ll buy it again.”