SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Price Chopper here has announced the addition of more than 1,000 new natural and organic products in its 115 stores, including new lines of organic meats, cheeses and deli items, as well as an expanded selection of organic produce.
“We've been planning this expansion and commitment to natural and organic foods for a little over a year, and we've been rolling product out for the last three months,” explained Mona Golub, spokeswoman, Price Chopper.
Every department has added new natural and organic products, with some products making Price Chopper the exclusive retailer to offer the brand.
For example, the meat department has expanded Price Chopper's upscale “Central Market Classics” brand with the addition of Central Market Classics All Natural Beef, supplied by Certified Angus Beef.
“Because they produce so little of their all-natural variety, we are their only full chain retail partner, which is pretty exciting to us,” Golub told SN.
Also added to the meat department is Alison's All Natural Chicken, an air-chilled brand processed in a Certified Humane Raised and Handled plant.
In the deli department, Price Chopper has added Thumann's All Natural Oven Roasted Gourmet Turkey Breast, Chicken Breast, Black Angus Top Round and Black Forest Brand Ham. Thumann's animals are fed 100% vegetarian diets and the products contain no antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, allergens, artificial ingredients, preservatives, nitrites/nitrates, fillers, binders or MSG.
“It's the first deli meat ever to be certified gluten-free as well, which I thought was interesting,” Golub said.
Price Chopper is now also the exclusive purveyor of the Wisconsin Organics brand, which includes organic mild and sharp cheddars, pepper and Monterey jacks, white Colby, mozzarella, wedge and crumbled bleu cheeses, and feta. These cheeses will be merchandised in Price Chopper's international cheese departments, according to Golub.
Following up on their February announcement that all of Price Chopper's private-label milk is free of artificial growth hormones, the company will also be launching its own organic milk, under the Price Chopper Naturals brand. The company will continue to offer several other organic dairy brands as well, according to Golub.
In the produce department, the selection of organic fruits and vegetables has been expanded, bringing the total number of organic fruits and vegetables available up to 125, and in the bakery department, an assortment of unique organic breads and new all-natural desserts have been added as well.
Dozens of new all-natural products and an expanded variety of wild-caught products have been added in the seafood department. All-natural products include products made from shrimp, shucked oysters, clams and mussels, assorted scallops, smoked fish and shellfish, salmon burgers, seasoning rubs, sushi, chowders and bisques. The many varieties of wild-caught species include flounder, bluefish, halibut, mahi mahi, mako, monkfish, lobster and crab.
“Each of our category managers reached out within their categories to ensure that we had presentations made on all of the finest natural and organic products available, and we went from there,” Golub said. In most cases, space was made by pulling underperforming items.
“There certainly is a balancing effort that goes on constantly in our business, in terms of being able to evolve variety and to provide what consumers are asking for,” said Golub. “In order to make room for new items, old items that didn't cut the mustard have to go.”
Not only are food departments adding natural and organic items, but Price Chopper's Central Market Florist has added eco-friendly signature collection bouquets that involve minimal use of pesticides while providing fair pay, health care, housing and education to farm workers who grow and harvest the flowers in Columbia, South America.
“Certainly the whole concept [of natural and organic] extends far beyond edible product itself,” Golub told SN. “So the idea to provide eco-friendly bouquets to our customers in addition to everything else was a natural fit.”
Price Chopper has been hearing from its consumers that they want not only more natural and organic selections, but also more information and educational outreach to understand more about the nutritional benefits of the products, according to Golub.
The company's “Healthy U” information center has been in development for the past 2 years and offers consumers recipe ideas that use fresh produce, meat and seafood. It also includes space for informational brochures and pamphlets that are either developed by Price Chopper or provided by industry partners.
“It's a four-sided kiosk that always offers 48 healthy recipes, and it's totally inclusive of perishable departments,” Golub told SN.
“The point is, we've made a major commitment to the categories of natural and organic foods, and it's important that we're able to speak to that.”