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  1. The Marketing Part Jeanine M. Davis Dept of Horticultural Science NC State University

  2. Traditionally, the organic market has been composed mostly of small-scale producers who sold their products directly to consumers or through small, specialized local health food stores and coops.

  3. Since the implementation of the NOP, marketing outlets for organic products have expanded widely. • The majority of organic food is now sold through large supermarkets. • Organic food sales have increased an average of 20% per year and are expected to make up 5% of food sales by next year.

  4. Nationally, large farms tend to rely on advance contracts and high volume retail sales. The largest fresh produce farms are vertically integrated as packer-shippers, paralleling the conventional channels for distribution. Paraphrased from

  5. Exports • Exports are an increasing market for organic food. • For example, “Canada is a major destination for exported US organic product with organic food sales approaching $1 billion.” Quote from

  6. Major Market Channels for Organic Produce • Wholesale-national scale • Wholesale-statewide/regional • Direct sales to mid-sized markets-stores, schools and food service • Direct sales to consumers-tailgate markets, roadside stands • CSAs

  7. National Organic Program • The NOP was developed “to assure consumers that agricultural products marketed as organic meet consistent, uniform standards.” • NOP includes detailed instructions on how retailers must store, label, and display organic.

  8. Use of the Organic Seal • This seal may be used only for raw or processed agricultural products as described in the NOP regulations.


  10. Import and Export Rules • The NOP determines how imported and exported organic products must be defined, regulated and labeled. • The USDA regulates equivalency with other national programs.

  11. • Great section on marketing.

  12. The Organic Consumer • The ‘typical’ organic consumer defies easy characterization. • Most consumers who buy organic products still purchase more non-organic products. • Most consumers know about organic food and buy it on occasion. • The number of consumers who buy mostly organic food is small and who buy organic food exclusively is even smaller.

  13. Who Buys Organic Food? • “Income is a factor—below a certain income, consumers have a diminished ability to pay a premium for organic food even if they are aware of and desire the benefits.” • “Education is more strongly correlated than income, with college educated individuals more likely to purchase organic food than those whose education was completed at the high school level.” • “Women are also more likely to buy organic food than men.”

  14. Sales Growth and Where • “Sales have been growing in the double-digits over the past decade.” • “Despite the small market share, the United States is now the largest market for organic food in the world eclipsing Germany, the previous leader.” • “California is the state that both produces and consumes the greatest amount of organic food of any state in the US.”

  15. Market Segments • “Fresh fruits and vegetables are consistently the most often purchased organic products.” • “Consumers are willing to pay a much greater premium for food primarily consumed by infants and young children.” • “Milk, meat, and cereal products are experiencing rapid growth.”

  16. Pricing


  18. Local/Organic Food Locators

  19. Search for “lettuce” in zip code “28739”

  20. Tailgate Markets Images from ASAP, Buncombe Co. Extension and N. Asheville Tailgate Market websites

  21. Farmers’ Markets Jeanine and Michael Tracey’s “Flicker”

  22. CSA

  23. Sell From the Farm

  24. Coops Potatoes: Rose Finn Apple Fingerlings, 10 lb, $30, Watauga River Farm Russian Banana Fingerlings, 10 lb, $30, Zydeco Moon Yukon Gold, 25 lb, $32.50 Watauga River 50 lb, $50 Winter Squash: Acorn, 18 lb, $20.00, Rose Mt & Zydeco Moon 35 lb, $38.00, Rose Mt & Zydeco Moon Butternut, 18 lb, $20.00, Watauga River & Rose Mt 35 lb, $38.00, Watauga River & Rose Mt Sweet Dumpling, 18 lb, $20.00 Rocking S Farm 35 lb, $38.00 Rocking S Farm Pie Pumpkins, 18 lb, $20.00 Rocking S Farm 35 lb, $38.00 Rocking S Farm

  25. Restaurants

  26. Local Stores • Whole Foods • Earthfare • Greenlife • All the natural food coops • Fresh Market • Why not more of the large supermarket chains?

  27. Major Processors • Amy’s Organics • Hain Celestials • Lindey Mills • Braswell Foods • Wizard’s Cauldron • Gerber • Earth’s Best

  28. Acknowledgements This presentation address general organic production practices. It is to be to use in planning and conducting organic horticulture trainings. The presentation is part of project funded by a Southern SARE PDP titled “Building Organic Agriculture Extension Training Capacity in the Southeast” Project Collaborators • Elena Garcia, University of Arkansas CESHeather Friedrich, University of ArkansasObadiah Njue, University of Arkansas at Pine BluffJeanine Davis, North Carolina State UniversityGeoff Zehnder, Clemson UniversityCharles Mitchell, Auburn UniversityRufina Ward, Alabama A&M UniversityKen Ward, Alabama A&M UniversityKaren Wynne, Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network