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Road to Riches; Marketing Organic Products

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  1. Road to Riches; Marketing Organic Products

  2. Why should I consider growing Organic for Farmers Markets? • Organic market segment fastest growing 15 to 21% / year, rest ~ 3% • Tiny > 3% market, EU ~ 35% market • Demand exceeding supply, imports by $200 million

  3. Organic vs Conventional • Organic food sales in U.S. grew to $16.7 billion in 2006 • Growth rate was 21% • Total food sales ~ $600 billion

  4. Organic Sales and Growth by Category • Organic fruits and vegetables $6.7 billion, 39% total • Growth rate was 24% in 2006 • Projected to reach $8 billion when 2007 figures reported

  5. What makes produce “organic” • USDA Certification regulations 2002 • Grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, 36 mo wash out period. Animals - outside • Grown according to Organic Plan • Audited by 3rd party

  6. How we did the study • Developed 10 questions, 4 demographics • English and Spanish • 3 student interviewers • Table, University Banner, clip boards, souvenir cups • Offered to read as needed

  7. Study: 3 farmers markets NW Arkansas, summer 2007

  8. What did we Learn? • > 300 respondents • Most, > 60% had graduated from college, 10% professional or PhD • Compared to10% of AR population at large graduated from college

  9. What were the differences among consumers at the three markets ? • In addition to the volume of sales, Fayetteville had the highest % PhD’s and professional degrees • Eureka Springs the greatest % BS grads • Springdale had greatest % High School or GED’s

  10. Who shops at NW Arkansas Farmers Markets? • Older 41% > 56 years. Older • >89% were white, Hispanic 3+% Asian 3-% • 63% female • 60% BS degree or higher.

  11. Do Current Farmers Market Customers Buy ORGANIC? • 77% said at least once or 2x per month • 39% said they been buying it for 7 years or more • 77% buy organic fruits and vegetables. Poultry – 3% • 42% said they are buying organic at Farmers Markets. 20% re health food store

  12. Perceptions and Beliefs; Organic vs Conventional • 80% said they would buy more organic if priced similar to conventional • 70% said “organic” is different than “natural” • 72% said organic foods were “more safe” than conventional. 23% said “as safe”.

  13. Why Consumers Buy Organics • Free from chemicals 36.4% • Better Nutritional Quality 16.1% • Better Taste 12.8% • Environmentally friendly 10.1% • Other 3.3% • Fewer Harmful Bacteria 2.0%

  14. What do white, well educated women want in the produce they buy? • Support for local agriculture • Convenient/ atmosphere • Lowest concern for price • Support for organic • Brown, 2002, review markets1940 – 2000 • # 1) Quality of offerings, 87% rated good to excellent, 98.5% much better quality than retail • #2) Direct contact with grower/farmer

  15. What Concerns Consumers about Conventional Food? • A) Pesticides 45% • B) Negative Environmental Impact 9.8% • C) Genetic Modification (GMOs) 9.2% • Circled all answers 7.8% • D) Nutritional Value 7.5% • E) Harmful Bacteria 6.2% • F) Other 3.6%

  16. Shop at Farmers Markets because “I Believe most strongly in” • Support Local Farmers 42% • Fresher Produce 24% • Better Quality than Retail Stores 9.8% • Farmers Market Foods are Safer 4.2% • Support Fair Trade 1.3% • Other 1.3%

  17. Conclusions • Customers at NWA farmers markets are well educated, females with money • More than ¾ of these customers are frequent organic food buyers • The organic food they purchase (prefer) most is fresh fruits and vegetables • Less than ½ of those customers are purchasing a majority of their organics at farmers markets • The market for ORGAINC is there but is it worth it?

  18. OK. Not Certified Organic • Creative Genius Artisan re beef in NE Grass- fed Natural • What do customers want? (hot topics) Know the farmer – trust, keep money local, Anti – (Big ) Business Care of Environment NO to pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, YES to animal welfare, outdoors, fresh, natural

  19. Artisan • Artisan – a person manually skilled in making a particular product. Artisan farming is farming in harmony with livestock, land and nature.

  20. Natural – Grass-fed • Texas longhorn – tell the grass fed story, the way nature intended • Many grass-fed • Comments re no hormones, antibiotics • All Natural

  21. Marketing • Marketing – younger shoppers (Xers) – product must have a story – romanitize it. • Don’t have to agree. Just give them what they want and don’t argue. • You don’t have to grow – get someone else do it.

  22. Organic Workshop • May 13- 14. Mt Sequoyah Conference and Retreat Center • May 15-16. Winrock Rockefeller Institute, Morrillton • Will cover organic horticultural production. • Contact; Heather Friedrich; 479/575-2798 • heatherf@uark.edu

  23. Questions ?