Consumer interest in locally-based food continues to grow along with the worry about the safety of the supply chain. This trend may explain the rising sales of certified products. Both conventional grocers and natural food stores can boost sales even higher by promoting items that carry the Fair Trade, Whole Grains Council and non-GRM project verified labels.
In 2010, sales of certified products experienced double digit increases. The sales growth occurred in both the conventional and the natural food store channels. The total market for these products broke out as follows last year:
- Fair trade: $360.6 million
- Whole Grains Council certified $744.97 million
- Non-GMO project verified $472.52 million
Of these 3 categories, Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs for PCC Natural Markets, says that “[Non-GMO Project Verified] is growing faster than any other label, and retailers would be foolish not to pay attention to it.” This food category can be considered a ‘partner’ to organic. To qualify for the label, manufacturers are involved in a process that requires “traceability, segregation and testing of high-risk ingredients.”
However, the Fair Trade label category also shows steady growth. This label is all about standards for land stewardship, ‘living wages for farmers’ and no genetically modified ingredients. Katie Barrow, from Fair Trade USA, says awareness now stands at 34% and as shoppers learn what the label means, there is an 80% conversion rate.
Retailers can differentiate themselves by carrying and promoting certified products. They can also increase sales by marketing the benefits of the products to consumers who might not know the differences between the various certifications.[Source: Clute, Mitchell. Sales of third party-certified products explode. Natural Foods Merchandiser. Newhope360.com. 20 May 2011. Web. 19 Jun. 2011]