|GHQ|FOCUS ON FRESH
ONE ON ONE WITH STEVE LUTZ, vice president of
marketing for Columbia Marketing International.
What is new with Columbia Marketing
International’s (CMI) organic program?
STEVE LUTZ: The biggest change for the
Daisy Girl Organics brand is our huge surge
in volume. With the harvest this year our total
organics jumped over 60 percent compared to
last year’s crop. Part of this increase is a rebound
from a shorter harvest last year, but a big chunk
is driven by increasing production from existing
orchards as well as newly certified orchards. In
year’s past it was often difficult for retailers to
count on consistent supplies of organics. With
the big increase this season, retailers should be
looking to set sales records. If they are not laying in sales plans to leverage this big organic
production increase, they are missing a major
What are the latest trends affecting
the organic industry?
A big trend is how this increase in production
is creating new merchandising and promotion
opportunities for retailers. In the past, organic
pricing was high and supplies were tight. This
made it difficult for retailers to get behind
these products and build sales plans. That has
changed this year and we are seeing double-digit sales and volume increases with our Daisy
Girl Organics retail partners.
How can retailers maximize organic
This year, retailers are aggressively using organics to build basket size by transitioning conventional apple buyers up to organic apples.
Nationally, organic apples carry an average price
of $2.33 per pound versus a price of $1.63 for
conventional apples, a premium of 70-cents per
pound for organics. Every time an apple consumer shifts from conventional to organics, the
retailer wins with a larger transaction.
We know from the success of our top-selling
Daisy Girl Organics brand that when consumers make the shift from conventional to organic,
they usually purchase the organic version of the
apple variety they currently buy. Supermarkets
can best leverage the organic opportunity by
initially focusing sales programs on the most
popular core varieties like Gala, Red Delicious,
Golden Delicious and Granny.
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