Across the New Jersey industry, suppliers like Jeff Danner, general manager for Eastern Propak, LLC, in Glassboro, have seen both locally grown and organic products gain market share.
Danner attributes the steady climb of organics to “the groundswell ‘healthy eating’ shift in this country,” while he attributes locally grown’s enduring popularity to lower consumer cost.
Bill Nardelli Jr., secretary and treasurer for grower-shipper Nardelli Brothers, Inc., Cedarville, BB #:101204 is also impressed by the local movement’s strength and resilience.
New Jerseyans, he finds, will choose local over organic.
“Typically, when we see local available, consumers are a little less worried if it’s organic or not,” he said. “They’re happy to see their local grower getting stuff on the shelves, so they trend a little away from organic.”
During the winter months, though, it’s a different story. When local items aren’t readily available, organic sales at area retailers rise.
Bob Von Rohr, director of marketing for Sunny Valley International, Inc., BB #:126304 Glassboro, agrees and credits the climb to increased production, driven in particular by millennial shoppers.
Managing member Ryan Flaim of R&R Flaim Next Generation Produce, LLC BB #:206204 in Vineland, said his company’s organic program is expanding at a healthy clip, growing by 10 percent each year for the past few years.
Equally exciting to Flaim is the emphasis on sustainability. “People are more conscious of buying local produce; they want to know where it comes from and that it was responsibly grown.”
This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.