Bruce Klein, director of marketing for Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., located in South Hackensack, NJ, told The Produce News that the company’s accounts, especially the more upscale retailers, are remaining strongly committed to organics.
“In general, consumers are looking for certain organic items,” he said. “If organic prices stay close to that of conventional, and the product looks as good as conventional on grocers’ shelves, the organic line will continue to grow.”
Maurice A. Auerbach’s organic line consists of 30-pound bulk garlic. Mr. Klein said supplies are currently from Argentina, but the company also handles the item from Mexico and from California, depending on the season.
“We continue to offer our eight-ounce clamshell of organic whole clove garlic,” said Mr. Klein. “And we have added a four-ounce mesh bag of organic whole clove in response to requests from some accounts that felt that the eight-ounce pack was too large.”
The company has added a new organic item to its line. The peeled product comes in a six-ounce vacuum-packed bag with six individual sections that are also vacuum-packed.
“We introduced this new item at the New York Produce Show in November, and started selling it in February,” said Mr. Klein. “It gives consumers recipe size portions, and it has a longer shelf life under proper refrigeration. A few of our accounts have taken the product so far, and we expect it to be well received.”
Maurice A. Auerbach has offered a six-ounce jar or organic garlic cloves in the past, but the product doesn’t last as long as the vacuum-packed product. Mr. Klein said the product looks better and consumers like the idea that they can use what they need. The product can also be frozen.
“Our organic shallots, which are whole shallots, come in a six-ounce clamshell,” said Mr. Klein. “And we continue to be the Northeast distributor for Mori-Nu tofu. The tofu is aseptically packaged and does not need refrigeration until it’s opened. Most retailers display the item with other tofus, but it’s a perfect item to be featured in other areas of the store.”
Mr. Klein said that the tight garlic market in the past year has helped the organic segment.
“The market has been tight and organic product is available, so there is less disparity between conventional and organic prices,” said Mr. Klein. “The result has been stronger organic sales.”