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Albert’s Organics takes specialty items mainstream

“While we do carry many items that would qualify as specialty, we have found ourselves in many ways avoiding that label for those products,” said Simcha Weinstein, director of marketing for Albert’s Organics headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA. The company is a full-service organic produce wholesale distributor that carries a complete line of fresh organic produce.

“The term ‘specialty’ tends to depict items that are more expensive, often viewed by shoppers as ‘non-staple’ items that, perhaps, can be used on very special occasions,” Mr. Weinstein continued. “We have tried to reduce that concept of items as being specialty, and rather we try to take those items and ‘normalize’ them.”

Mr. Weinstein added that Albert’s Organics tries to help its retail customers promote and sell the items to their customers by promoting the products that should be consumed every day. He noted that a specialty item is categorized as one that is used only occasionally, not regularly.

“Our aim is to try to help shoppers to see that many of the items that they perceive as specialty do not have to be in that category at all,” he said. “In fact, they can easily be a part of their regular produce shopping experience — they simply need to know how to use them and what they taste like.”

Mr. Weinstein referred to red leaf lettuce as an example of how a specialty item can evolve into the mainstream. He said that in the mid-1970s it was considered specialty, but over time, as shoppers came to try the item and enjoy the flavor, color and tenderness of the lettuce, it became a regular staple item.

“This is our goal with the specialty selections we offer,” he said. “Our best opportunity to sell them, and sell them successfully, is to let go of the idea that they are specialty items and work more on how to ‘normalize’ them, how to bring them into the mainstream. The key to making this happen is to sample these items, and to make sure everyone is educated about the product, understands exactly how to use it and how to eat it. To this end, at Albert’s we create signage for retailers that helps their shoppers understand these specialty items and helps to demystify how they are used and what they taste like.”

Albert’s Organics is a full-service distributor of organic produce with nationwide distribution. The company carries over 350 organic fruit and vegetable items in virtually every category.