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Albert’s Organics promoting Chilean, Peruvian organic products

Wholesale distributor Albert’s Organics, headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA, is a full-service organic produce wholesale distributor that carries a complete line of organic fresh produce.

“Currently we are promoting organic blueberries from Chile and organic mangoes from Peru,” Simcha Weinstein, director of marketing, told The Produce News. “Of course we are also promoting winter time citrus, but then we often will work on getting our customers excited about the non-seasonal items that come from the southlands and offer a bit of a taste of summer during the cold winter season.”

Since its founding in 1982, Albert’s has delivered a full line of organic produce — around 350 items — ranging from cactus leaves to broccoli, and everything in between. It sources produce from all over the world in order to have a complete selection year round. Its produce is distributed across the nation to all segments of the food industry.

“When we began in 1982, the majority of our customers were natural foods stores,” said Mr. Weinstein. “At that time they were the primary avenue for selling organic and natural foods. Today, we have a nice balance in our customer base of natural food stores, chain supermarkets, restaurants and foodservice groups, as well as industrial operations. We were the first certified organic distributor with nationwide coverage.”

Albert’s dedicated national procurement team sources all of its products nationally and internationally. It outfits entire produce departments with complete selections of organic fresh produce.

“With eight distribution centers in the United States, we also place a strong emphasis on locally and regionally grown foods, and our buyers at each division do an excellent job of working with the growers that are local to their areas,” Mr. Weinstein added.

He said that signs indicate that organic produce continues to grow in demand, even with the sluggish economy.

“The good news is that in 2010 the organic industry grew at a rate of nearly eight percent, increasing to over $28.6 billion in sales,” he said. “During this year the total U.S. food sales grew by only one percent, so it seems that relative to the baseline standard, organic sales are doing quite well. Organic fruits and vegetables actually experienced the most growth and now account for nearly 12 percent of all U.S. produce sales. The total organic fruit and vegetable sales were at nearly $10.6 billion, up nearly 12 percent from 2009. These numbers are significant, and they show that while our economic recovery is a bit sluggish, people are not only continuing to purchase organic foods, but they are increasing their organic choices. And clearly, new shoppers of organic foods are coming on board.”

The local movement, Mr. Weinstein added, will most likely continue to be strong moving forward. He noted that in general, shoppers of organic foods prefer that the products they buy will leave as small a carbon footprint as possible, and locally grown adheres to that principal. Albert’s advantage is in its eight distribution points in the nation, enabling it to source from eight local and regional areas.