High costs of production and lack of consumer support has prevented many major poultry companies from looking at the organic sector as a mainstream opportunity.
But now Perdue Farms are next month (Oct) launching a range of products through its Simply Smart brand, which it claims will break the price barrier consumers face with organics.
The company will be providing frozen and fully-cooked breaded chicken products at prices to sell for approximately half – or less – of the average of what consumers can typically expect to pay for competitive organic products from other brands.
Eric Christianson, chief marketing officer for Perdue, said consumer choice was important but people should never have to choose between serving quality organic food to their families or settling for a product solely based on price.
“For convenient, high quality, organic fully cooked chicken, Perdue now offer consumers an option that meets their demand without sacrificing their needs.”
Perdue believe the organic market is a growing one in the United States, citing statistics from the Organic Trade Association, which claims that organic food in the US totalled nearly $50bn in 2017, accounting for more than 5% of total food sales.
This compares to just $3.4bn when organic food sales were first recorded in 1997.
Organic broiler chickens in the US saw a 78% increase in 2016 with a total of $750m in sales out of a total of $25.9bn
“The growth in organic continues to outpace the rest of the food market, so this is clearly something that consumers want,” said Christianson.
Interest among the US’s largest poultry companies in the organic sector is growing. Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest meat company, bought speciality chicken producer Tecumseh Poultry LLC earlier this year and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp has a new organic facility in North Carolina.
Memo Diriker, a professor of economics and director of the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University, told USA Today that “a majority of consumers prefer organic chicken, but the price differential has been a problem for a significant number of households.”
Diriker added that Perdue’s move to make organic chicken more affordable was good not just for the consumer but for the overall poultry industry.