Do your customers think “organic” is just a code word for expensive, or that organic food is only for the elite?
They may have heard of the flawed but widely publicized Stanford University study that concluded that organic food was no healthier than conventional food. This alone probably served as a convenient excuse to check “organic food” off their shopping list.
The average consumer never digs deeper to read the many studies that countered these findings, including Charles Benbrook, PhD, a professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, who cited government data that pointed out a full 94 percent reduction in health risks for people who eat organic food.
Here are three splendid ways to sell organic food to skeptical customers.
1. It’s the pesticides—stupid. The Stanford study defined “healthy” as having more nutrients, and concluded that while organic food does contain more nutrients, the somewhat higher levels don’t warrant the higher prices.
Action point: Discuss or demonstrate that the reason most people buy organic food is for what it does not contain: toxins, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Why not add a little infographic sign to your produce section, listing all the pesticides customers are avoiding by buying organic?
2. Show the chemical “body burden.” We may be able to excrete small doses of occasional toxins, but the accumulated buildup of pesticide exposure over many years leads to a chemical "body burden" that can weaken the immune system.
Action point: Instead of the traditional food pyramid, why not create a graphic of the pesticide pyramid, showing the many toxins heaped high, from many sources, contributing to a chemical body burden?
3. Help moms and families feed their kids well. Cord blood in newborns now shows up to 200 or more chemicals—a frightening thought for pregnant women and parents. These chemicals have never been tested on fetuses (no parent would ever allow it)—yet our unborn babies are our guinea pigs. Babies and kids are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure because their immune systems are not yet developed, and their bodies and brains are growing rapidly.
Pregnancy and parenthood are often turning points. New moms become conscious of the impact of what they pass on to the child in the womb, through breastfeeding and when they begin preparing food for their babies.
Action point: You might not want to frighten your customers, but a small dose of healthy fear can provide the impetus to add more organic foods to their shopping carts.
Consider a kid-friendly display of organic snacks to sample, and an info pamphlet on why organic is better for babies and a discount coupon to take. Make it easy for busy moms by bundling a few items with an easy recipe or make up some organic snack packs for school lunches.
Parents and families who go to health food stores for their groceries want to do the right thing but may be confused or swayed by mainstream media. Take the time to educate them by answering their questions.
Encourage them to buy more organic food by making it enticing and easy to find, and offering some specials or discounts to get started. Once people start eating more organics, they are likely to continue—benefiting them, you and our environment.