What are the best ways to spur organic sales at the retail level?

That question came to my mind as I was recently thinking about the educational sessions at The Packer’s Global Organic Expo, set for Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Hollywood, Fla.

I asked the question to the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group:

What are the best ways to spur organic sales at the retail level?

What are the best merchandising secrets to boosting organic sales? How important is packaging?

As usual, the group had some great insights, a few of which I will excerpt below:

CC: Commitment to a strategy around a focus on promoting the top 10 Organic fruits and veggies. (Packaging)is very important for messaging and the proper ring at the register.

RA: Displaying presentation

GC: This is a little complicated - if we are talking fresh produce - then the first thing about the packaging is ‘do no harm’. No sense putting organic products in Eco-enemy packaging. Certainly recyclable - re-usable even better - and it needs to scream “ORGANIC” - don’t get lost in a bunch of logos of certifiers -they can go on the bottom or back -. Merchandising is no different than for conventional - you’re just appealing to a more discriminating consumer.

RM: Buy as much local,organic produce as possible.

MM: It takes a coordinated effort using all 4-Ps focused on the long game. Quick wins will only deliver temporary results. It starts with product assortment. First, find 10-15 everyday organic items that have the lowest premium relative to their conventional counterparts. Consider products like Romaine Hearts, Grape Tomatoes, Mini Carrots, Packaged Salads, Strawberries and Grapes. Next, place these organic products directly beside the conventional versions and through managing space to sales gradually increase the amount of counter footage allotted to organic until it matches conventional. Third, price the organic products as low as possible without sacrificing profit. Try matching penny profit as a start or the less aggressive matching gross margin. Lastly, ensure that every time the conventional product is advertised, offer the organic product alongside it in the ad. This will give the customer optimum exposure to the best organic products at prices that won’t scare them away.

TK: I appreciate the insights of the group. As we look ahead to the GOPEX show and education sessions for both retailers and growers, all parts of the supply chain will want to attend the show for insights on growing organic sales and other critical topics. Stay tuned on news about the event’s program here and make plans to attend.