Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Organic produce production, sales down

The other night in the grocery store, I heard no less that a half a dozen people on their cell phones talking to other people (at home?) asking whether to buy this that based on price. And the differences were usually well less than a dollar. Sometimes, I watched them put down both options and walk away.

Times are tough. The recession/depression has people watching every dollar. And one area especially hard hit is organic produce and organic food products.

Michael Smith, blogger at Green (Living) Review, was discussing the fact that sales of organic produce and other organic foods are dropping. Many farmers, he reports, are returning to "cheaper" standard production methods. Consumers, when faced with two cans of beans or bunches of grapes, are opting for the "regular" version over the double-the-price organic one.

It's not that we don't want organics. We all know they're healthier. But we just can't pay the premiums growers and retailers are demanding for that often ambiguous organic label.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile will remember that I spent a few posts talking about this very issue. Green companies pricing themselves right out of the marketplace. I was talking about t-shirts, notebooks and baby blankets, but the concept is the same.

If the current economic trend continues, will organic food continue to grace our supermarket shelves in large quantities? Will producers and marketers see the writing on the wall (or on the balance sheet) and work to bring prices in line? Or are the days of organics everywhere numbered?

(Image from Tree Hugger)