He said some of firm's retail divisions reported 40% growth last year in organic sales.
Consumer sensitivity to pesticide and food safety issues may have helped spur the growth, the buyer told me.
“The younger people in the marketplace are looking for an alternative for what they have been buying,” he said to me.
As I reflected on the oft-questioned staying power of organic produce, I looked back in The Packer library and searched for the words "organic" and "fad" appearing in the same story.
I saw coverage from 1993 that quoted an organic produce distributor in the Northwest, giving his opinion about where the demand was coming from:
He said his company hasn't made inroads to supplying chain stores and that doesn't bother him. He believes the people who buy organic produce don't shop at chain stores.
``We don't consider it crucial to our well-being,'' he said about pushing organic produce at conventional retail stores. ``In my opinion the chains aren't where these people do most of their business.''
TK: Well that certainly has changed, hasn't it? In 2006,Wal Mart said it would double its organic offerings to a reported 400 stock-keeping-units, and many mainstream retailers followed suit.
In November 2007, Caren Wilcox, then executive director of the Greenfield, Mass.-based Organic Trade Association, told a reporter from The Packer that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's organic certification standards had given the organic category unprecedented legitimacy.