Private Label Key to Organic Industry Turnaround

January 11, 2010
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According to The Fresh Ideas Group, one of the biggest consumer trends of 2010 is growing demand for "non-precious" organic foods.

According to The Fresh Ideas Group (FIG), Boulder, Colo., one of the biggest consumer trends of 2010 is growing demand for "non-precious" organic foods, defined as organic foods priced within 20 percent of their conventional counterparts.

Sylvia R. Tawes, founder of The Fresh Ideas Group, said only about 30 to 40 percent of organic foods currently meet the group’s definition of non-precious, highlighting one of the main reasons organic sales slipped 0.3 percent in 2009 after posting double-digit gains for several years prior to the recession. But FIG's 2010 Consumer Trends Forecast suggests the organic segment is poised for a turnaround, thanks in no small part to the increasing availability of more affordable private label alternatives.

"Today's consumers want to choose organic products for the environment and for the health of their families, but they need to balance that desire with budgetary realities," Tawes told PL Buyer. "We think non-precious organics, including private label SKUs, are the future for both industry growth and true mainstream consumer acceptance of the benefits of the organic standard."

FIG's other food industry predictions for 2010 include:

  • Supercharged Foods and Calories that Count: "Truly nutritionally charged ingredients will be a mantra for 2010," the report said, adding that counting calories will be less important than assessing the quality of those calories. It also predicted that superfruits such as acai, yumberry and mangosteen will make the jump from beverages to foods, while manufacturers of cereals and snack foods will race to add more fiber and whole grains to their products.

  • Hold the Sugar: Recent attempts to limit sugar consumption by everyone from President Obama to "Renegade Lunch Lady" Chef Ann Cooper have spawned an industrywide movement to reduce the amount of sugar in products aimed at kids of all ages, the forecast said, predicting high-fructose corn syrup could soon meet the same fate as trans fats.

  • Pint-Sized Palates: Kid foodies (or "koodies" as Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert refers to them) are turning up their noses at traditional - albeit not particularly healthful - kid fare such as white bread and hot dogs, forcing manufacturers to kick kid-friendly product development up a notch. "We predict product introductions featuring unusual twists on everyday kids' favorites like gourmet PB&Js, Asian-influenced easy lunches, Mexican-themed snacks and beverages," FIG said.

  • Pragmatic Plates: "Restaurant eaters will continue to trade down from pricey to pragmatic in their dining-out choices, making cheap but hearty ethnic eateries and down-home diners more appealing than fancy white tablecloth dining destinations," the forecast noted. It also predicted an expansion of grab-and-go choices at supermarkets designed to accommodate more frequent in-home dining.
For more information or to read the forecast in its entirety, visit - Denise Leathers

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