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.
Simcha Weinstein, director of marketing for the company, told The Produce News that it has had a good first half to two-thirds of the year.
“I think the combination of the slight uptick in the economy coupled with just a familiarity with its current state is driving the upswing,” he said. “Even though it may not be strong, once people adapt to a situation, it becomes the norm and things tend to settle down a bit. I certainly see that with organic foods.”
Mr. Weinstein added that eating organic food is a lifestyle choice that involves a commitment to eating a certain way. People don’t automatically abandon that lifestyle choice easily, even if it means spending more of their disposable income on their groceries.
“For many of these shoppers, it’s not just food they’re buying at the register, it’s also a healthier life choice, and it means a cleaner environment,” he said. “For many of these shoppers, even though they may spend a little more at the register, they view it as an investment as much as they view it as an expense.”
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 the current economic state has pretty much impacted every business in the country to some degree.
“When unemployment is high, it means you have fewer people able to buy goods and services,” he explained. “Even those whose jobs and financial situations are secure tend to pull back a little simply as a natural response, even though they are technically not directly impacted by the economy. With that said, the good news for the organic industry is that it continues to grow. It has slowed down from its trajectory during 2000-2008, where it was putting up double-digit growth numbers, but it still showed growth even in 2010.”
He said that the impact the economy is having on the organic industry is slow growth rather than loss of sales.
“We would all like to still be seeing those double-digit growth numbers, but in these times, any kind of growth feels pretty good and could be considered a strong performance,” he said. “It seems that people aren’t really backing off from their organic purchases. But for shoppers who are new to organic foods, they probably feel it’s not the ideal time to jump in.”