While curiosity is bringing more customers to consider organic meat, the majority of supermarkets are still building the segment slowly.
Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for Publix Super Markets, characterizes the organic meat segment as “still a small market with slow growth,” noting sales are somewhat insignificant for this category. As such, Publix offers little space to its organic meat products currently.
But that could be changing soon thanks to new regulations that are expected to drum up more interest and business.
At the beginning of the year, the USDA published the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) Rule, one of the largest-ever reforms of the organic food industry. Once it goes into effect on March 20, it will give the organic food industry a year to comply with the wide-ranging changes. These reforms will help to increase oversight and bolster the integrity of the USDA organic seal.
Furthermore, the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards was published last year, which further addresses animal welfare and improves the lives of millions of livestock.
“These reforms aim to protect the integrity and bolster consumer and producer confidence in organic food,” said Elizabeth Figueredo, quality and regulatory lead at Quality Assurance International, an NSF organic company and leading provider of organic certification. “However, it also means many operators, such as supermarkets, will need to comply by the deadline or risk penalties.”
The popularity of organic meat is expected to continue further with these rules which strengthen the requirements for animal welfare.
“This further improves consumer confidence in the organic seal, as these actions align better with consumer expectations,” Figueredo said. “By bolstering oversight and the integrity of organic supply chains, these reforms should stop potential food fraud and bad actors infiltrating supply chains, levelling the playing field for all organic sellers and producers.”