Like most other conventional retailers, the recent recession flattened sales of Price Chopper's natural and organic foods. But overall the category is a strong performer: The chain has enjoyed sales growth of 80% since organic choices were updated and relaunched in March 2007. That's when Price Chopper launched a lifestyle merchandising strategy that boosted SKU counts, expanded private label and — most importantly — integrated natural and organic products in each aisle.
“We went from ‘OK’ in organic — produce, for instance — to having more than 200 organic items that are available for our produce managers to put out,” said Jon Strom, vice president of floral and lifestyle merchandising. “And we do a good job of merchandising organic, using sections within the aisle, set off by blades and shelving or the tag itself.”
Integration is changing the way customers see natural and organic by making it less mysterious and easier to find, said Strom.
“In two or three weeks, there will be an organic peach on our cover, which was probably unheard of before,” he said. “The price gap is getting closer and that makes it more accessible to everyone.”