Within the last few years, organic foods have moved firmly out of their position as niche products and into the mainstream. No longer are these products just for consumers who frequent natural food stores. With big box stores like Wal-Mart now stocking a full selection of both national brand and private label organic foods and beverages, consumers are buying more organic products than ever, with over half of all consumers purchasing at least some organic foods each year and over a quarter purchasing organic beverages.
Food and beverage manufacturers release over 1,000 new organic products annually. To compete as a seller of foods and beverages, you need to stay on top of the trend and stock a good selection of organic items for your customers.
As you’re choosing which food and beverage manufacturers from which to buy, keep the following in mind:
- US food manufacturers must follow the USDA guidelines to be marked as such, but import products are certified by their home country’s standards. US food and beverage manufacturers must also have their product certified as organic by a third-party certifying agent.
- Though major US food manufacturers like Kraft Foods and Nestle USA offer organic products, brands that are purely organic may offer more cache.
- Organic products are more expensive than conventional products. Because of their new awareness of what “organic” means, consumers will pay more for organic than conventional, so you'll recoup your additional spending for organic.
Understand what you're getting when you choose organicBefore you expand your offerings into the organic market, you should understand the USDA labeling practices for US food manufacturers. Without this knowledge, you may end up with products much lower in organic ingredients than you'd hope.
USDA for an overview of labeling practices that food manufacturing companies must follow. You can also review a food manufacturer directory of accredited organic certifying agents by state on their website, as well.
Stay on top of organic trends in food manufacturingYou need to know the market to best serve your customers. Knowing what products food and beverage manufacturers will be releasing helps you do this.
Keep in touch with organic suppliers and food manufacturing trendsBuild a network of suppliers and distributors. Determine which food and beverage manufacturers' products you want to stock.
- Expand into organic lines one product type at a time. This way, you can test out the food manufacturers you think your customers will be drawn to. It's easier to phase out one product type than to remove a number of them from your shelves.
- Many food and beverage manufacturers that supply organic foods label their non-organic foods as "natural." This label has no legal meaning and isn't related to the organic status of the product.