SKOKIE, Ill. -- Topco Associates, the retailer-owned cooperative based here, is adding three stockkeeping units of certified organic milk to its Full Circle natural and organic line, recognizing organic dairy's status as a gateway to a wider array of organic product use, said Chuck Harris, director of program management.
The 4-year-old line comprises about 230 stockkeeping units, more than 80% of them organic. It represents 40 categories across frozen, dry grocery, dairy, meat and produce, Harris said. Topco's owner-members include Wegmans, Harris Teeter and Giant Eagle.
Much of store-brand organics' growth has been in the realm of Center Store, but milk seems a ripe opportunity, given consumers' familiarity with both its private-label and organic versions. While sales of organic milk in all channels grew 21.8% to $190.3 million this year through August over the comparable year-ago period, only 8% of organic milk is private label. The category is attracting more attention however, with national retailers Kroger and Safeway already selling their own organic milk, and others considering the idea, said Clark Driftmier, senior vice president of marketing for Aurora Organic Dairy, Boulder, Colo., which specializes in the segment.