Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 33

in 1996," Burns explained. "We insisted on third-party organic meat
certification long before federal organic standards were established. We
were the first in the industry to ban animal by-products from our cattle's
diet. The key to establishing a strong organic program is always moving
toward higher standards."

Organic Poultry

PHOTOS: PERDUE FARMS

While organic is still a small percentage of overall US chicken production, chicken represents most of the total organic animal protein in the
US, and is the main driver of continued growth in the category year
over year.
In fact, a recent market research study projects the global organic
chicken market size will grow by $7.54 billion between 2019-2023.
Gudjon Olafsson, vice president of marketing for Perdue Farms,
Salisbury, Maryland, said the demand for organic products has grown
steadily over the last several years, largely driven by millennial shoppers.
"As the number one producer of USDA Organic chicken in the United
States, we're also seeing the even younger generations-Gen Z, for
example-influence their parents' shopping habits and purchase decisions," Olafsson said. "As animal welfare, personal health and sustainability continue to be increasingly important to consumers, we expect
to see growth of the organic poultry market continue."
Perdue Farms' organic chicken products go beyond minimum label
requirements in an effort to meet consumer expectations for environmental sustainability and higher levels of animal care.
"Our organic certification process covers not only the end product,
but every step of the process and supply chain, all the way to market,"
Olafsson said. "That includes organic, non-GMO grains for feed, certified organic farms that raise our chickens, and certified organic harvest
and processing operations, all complying with the USDA's National
Organic Program and Organic Standards Board."
Corwin Heatwole, CEO of Shenandoah Valley Organic, Harrisonburg,
Va., believes organic farming is the future of the poultry industry and
key to preserving generational family farms.
"Consumer demand for organic foods continues to grow and so does
protein. Partnering with family farmers to grow organic keeps their farm
in demand and competitive," Heatwole said. "And with our farmer-focus
business model, they own their chickens, have freedom to raise their
birds as they see fit, and are paid fairly for raising a high-quality flock."
He added that the key to a strong organic program is, undoubtedly,
committed growers.
"Finding and supporting growers that have genuine care and concern
for the animals is our number one priority," Heatwole said. "Without
them we cannot survive. When our farmers convert to organic, they are
making a long-term investment in the future of their farm that requires
daily commitment. From walking the birds, checking feed and water
every day, to creating environments for the birds to thrive, we rely on
our farmers to raise healthy high-quality birds."

Stamp of Approval
Consumers view the organic seal as validation of the purity of their food,
from ingredient sourcing to processing to getting the item on the shelf.
"Retailers and suppliers are focused on meeting the evolving needs
of consumers and providing discerning shoppers with their desired

MARKETING
MATTERS
According to the "Power of Meat 2019," report, 76% of
consumers feel that supermarkets have a responsibility to
sell meat and poultry with good animal welfare standards.
There is a lot of confusion and deception on what that
means, and it's up to retailers to champion the explanation
of organic meat and poultry benefits.
"We use Oregon Tilth to verify all of our claims and standards," Burns said. "I also think supermarkets could make
sure they are growing with the category and ensure they
have the cooler space dedicated to a variety of protein
options and claims."
Heatwole noted that often retailers are reluctant to move
their assortment to organic, so consumers who want to purchase organic are limited to a few key items, and they miss
out on the variety and convenience commodity meats offer.
"Increasing the assortment beyond key items is crucial, so
consumers can use organic for all occasions, not just center
of the plate at dinner time," he said.
As part of Perdue Farms' commitment to transparency, the
company believes in educating consumers so they can make
informed choices about what is best for themselves and their
families.
"Likewise, our retail partners make great effort to help shoppers be informed at shelf," Olafsson said. "Product labels
can sometimes be confusing to people who might not know
the difference between all of the options in the store, and
retailers and brands alike should continue to make sure they
are helping to objectively educate people about the products
they make and sell."
Carrion believes training and education about organic is very
important, as most people outside of the organic industry
still have a hard time comprehending the differences and
benefits and therefore the rationale for the cost difference
organic typically entails.
"When asking those behind the meat counter, butchers
will often tell an unknowing customer the baseline for what
natural means, but that only scrapes the surface of what it
means to be organic," she said. "The marketing of organic
beef often excludes the fact that the cattle were not raised
in the United States. Less than 20% of grass-fed beef sold in
the US is raised here. Truly highlighting American grass-fed,
grass-finished beef would go a long way to differentiating the
importance of supporting our US ranchers."
APRIL 2020 - 33

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Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020

Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 2
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 3
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 4
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 5
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 6
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 7
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 8
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 9
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 10
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 11
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 12
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 13
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Supermarket Perimeter - April 2020 - 18
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