Opinion

The secret to success with organics

05 October 2020

Stefanie-Katzman-268x300

This article first appeared in Produce Business magazine

What’s the secret to making your Organics Department a success? Partnering with a wholesaler on a  terminal market.

Now before you start telling people how you read this crazy statement about terminal markets, let me explain and then you can be the judge of just how crazy it is.

Organics have made tremendous strides over the past two decades. We first saw organic produce sections pop up in supermarkets as they slowly started to squeeze out some shelf space, then gradually take up more and more real estate, all the way through to today, when there are entire designated stores whose offerings are solely made up of organic products. Over the years, pricing has come down a little, options for items and brands have expanded, and consumers have been extremely receptive and shown an increased interest. Organics are undoubtedly a growing trend.

So, what is the key to driving the growth of organics? I like to sum up the recipe for success in five words: Delivering a great customer experience! Just like any item you are trying to sell, if the consumers don’t enjoy it, then they are not going to come back and buy it again. This is no different with organics.

Consumers want to try new things; they want to eat healthy, and they want to eat organic. But they need our help to get the high-quality products, helpful information and great customer experience that drive usage occasions and convert them to repeat customers. This is where your terminal market wholesale partner will help you shine.

At S. Katzman Produce, we recognized the potential of the organic sector early on and identified it as a market segment we wanted to prioritize as we anticipated the evolving needs of our retail customers, their consumers and the industry as a whole. One of our first steps was getting our Organic Handler Certification, so we could assure our customers and their consumers that everything organic they get from Katzman is fully organic, without compromise, from farm to fork.

When it comes to organics, we understand the importance of equipping our customers with the right tools so they can provide consumers with a great customer experience that will drive purchase and continued sales. For example, having a reliable fresh daily supply of organic produce is a critical part of delivering a great customer experience. So is providing a wide variety of options, because if consumers like to buy organic, odds are they like to buy all things organic.

But this can be challenging for retailers due to quantity and volume requirements, freshness and availability, and pricing.

Your terminal market wholesalers can be the resource to help you manage your inventory so you only need to buy a day or two ahead. We can build you mixed pallet orders. If you can only sell five cases a day, then we can get you those five cases and help you build up that customer following to 10, then 20, and so on. We can help you attain a higher volume price point from the grower. We can handle a straight load of organics without a problem because we are then going to break up that load and deliver it to many customers, while passing along the volume savings so you can keep costs low.

Terminal market wholesalers don’t just support retailers; we assist organic growers, too. We help growers sell product so they can focus on what they love and what they do best: growing high quality products that deliver the best customer experience possible. In essence, because of their support from terminal markets wholesalers, they can reach all the potential customers out there in the best and most efficient way possible. Getting a little less crazy now, huh?

With anything new – and in our industry, I would say organics are a newer trend – being able to understand the product is crucial for driving a positive customer experience, affinity for the product and repeat purchase. Consumers may wonder what organic is, why they should buy it, or how to select good quality. Our retail customers need to be equipped to tell them what time of year a product produces best or tastes best, what new items are out there, and how to store them. When selling, our retail customers need to know what a good price is and which consumers are going to want the product.

Terminal market wholesalers have this information readily available on the tips of our tongues because we spend our entire day talking to growers around the world and customers of all shapes and sizes.

We also bring our retail customer feedback back to the grower so they get insight into consumer likes and dislikes. We are constantly getting information from all throughout the supply chain. When I mentioned logistics before, I wasn’t just talking about produce; we move information too. Talk about the ultimate sampling pool – there’s nothing crazy about that!

So whether you are a grower or retailer trying to increase demand for your organic product line, teaming up with a wholesaler on a terminal market is an essential piece of the puzzle in order to be successful. We are here to support you, be an extension of your coolers, be a resource for information, and to be your logistical agent, your buying agent, and your marketer – all in one.

So now I’ll leave you with this final question: after hearing all of opportunities a wholesaler on a terminal market brings to the table, wouldn’t you agree that NOT partnering up with one is just plain crazy?

Stefanie Katzman is executive vice president of S. Katzman Produce Inc., Katzman Berry Corp., Sharkey’s Trucking Inc. and co-owner of MamaMia Produce and Bad Apple in New York. She works alongside her father, Stephen Katzman who is president and owner of the businesses, continuing to lead the amazing team of about 370 employees that make up the Katzman staff today.

Produce Business UK welcomes letters to the editor and other input from the industry. If you wish to respond to an article on Produce Business UK or join the conversation on any industry issue, please send your thoughts to [email protected]

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