Organics now represents close to 10% of Longo’s produce, double the industry average.
To encourage customers to try one of the more than 100 organic items, Franzone said at its peak, he’ll often price it the same as conventional.
“As we try new things, sales continue to grow,” he said. “Most of our locations have a dedicated spot in produce for organic. We used to have them lined up on the wet wall in small displays. Now the displays are the same size as the conventional displays.”
For time-starved consumers, a fresh veggie bar offers private-label organic salads, cut squash and turnips, a complete line of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, and fresh-cut stir-fries and mixes ready for stews, all prepared in house.
Franzone said dealing directly with growers in the U.S. and abroad allows Longo’s to bring in proprietary varieties, from Oregon’s red-fleshed Hidden Rose apple to Pakistan’s prized chaunsa mango.
Longo’s Leaside store will be one of the stops on the retail tour at CPMA’s annual conference in Toronto from April 17-19.