SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Soy milk, tortilla chips and frozen veggie burgers are the first items to roll out in a new private-label organic line at Price Chopper Supermarkets here.
About 20 products are slated to be available by the end of the year, Regina Tator, the chain's private-label category manager, told SN. Peanut butter, cereal, salsa, ketchup and pasta could be among them, Tator said.
"We saw the [organic] category growing, and decided there was opportunity for us to get involved," Tator said. "It made sense." The line is marketed under the Price Chopper brand. At present, the retailer doesn't plan to expand it to Central Market Classics, its upscale private label.
To distinguish the organic selections from regular Price Chopper-brand products, packaging features a leaf logo. During a visit to a Price Chopper store in Poughkeepsie, SN spotted the frozen veggie burgers integrated in the frozen foods aisle with other veggie burger brands. Packaging was green with a leaf in the upper left-hand corner. The word organic was written in script on the lower front of the box.
Items in the line contain varying levels of organic ingredients. The soy milk, for instance, carries the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new organic seal, according to Tator. The seal can be used for products that contain 95% or more organic ingredients.
"We will use the [USDA] seal when we have an option to," Tator said.
Most Price Chopper stores are merchandising the selections in a designated organic section, although some are integrating items within their respective categories.
"It depends on the store layout," Tator noted.
Tator could not provide exact figures, but said selections are less expensive than the national brands. The retailer is using temporary price reductions and online coupons at www.pricechopper.com to keep prices even lower. A 21-ounce bag of tortilla chips was recently on sale for $2.99, while a 32-ounce container of soy milk sells for $1.49.
"It's definitely a savings over the branded counterparts," Tator said.
Along with TPRs and online coupons, Price Chopper is promoting the line with in-store sampling and other communications.
The chain is one of a growing number of retailers that have made the foray into private-label organics.
Among other launches, Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., introduced its own organic groceries earlier this year. Selections include salad dressings, peanut butter, salsa, maple syrup and pasta sauce.
Also, Kroger Co., Cincinnati, carries the USDA Organic seal on select products included in its new Naturally Preferred private label.