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Supermarkets that Went 'Organic for Earth Day' Grew Sales

MINNEAPOLIS -- Retailers saw significant sales hikes in organic products as a result of participating in the April 2005 "Go Organic! for Earth Day" campaign, according to data released yesterday by the Natural Marketing Institute.

The month-long campaign, held in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22), was a collaborative project of the Organic Trade Association, Earth Day Network, and MusicMatters.

The retailers in the program included Kroger, Publix Super Markets, Wild Oats Markets, H-E-B Grocery Co., Giant Eagle; and Roundy's Rainbow Foods, Copps Food Centers, and Pick 'N Save operations. Analyses of sales data from participating grocery store chains confirmed that volume of organic products during the campaign were, on average, 25 percent higher than reported during April 2004.

Other retail banners in the largest-ever national promotion for organic products included King Soopers, City Market, Cub Foods, Dillons, Ingles Market, Smith's, Henry's Marketplace, Sun Harvest Markets, Marsh Supermarkets, and Fry's. Independent retailers and cooperatives across the country also participated. In total, 20 U.S. supermarket chains joined forces with more than 45 organic food brands to drive mainstream consumer awareness, in-store traffic, and sales for organic products.

"The 'Go Organic! for Earth Day' campaign had a positive impact in our stores," said Jesse Singerman, director of natural and organic foods for Roundy's. "We had record natural and organic department sales. I believe the campaign helped us educate our customers and store associates about the benefits of organic."

Specialty and natural category analyst David Atkins of Giant Eagle noted, "'Go Organic!' provided a unique opportunity to educate our customers on the breadth of our organic product offerings. The campaign and its engaging point of sale materials, numerous coupon offers, and unique sampling opportunities offered us a convenient setting to gain some critical customer awareness and drive sales from new and existing organic customers."

NMI reported that nearly six in 10 consumers who were aware of the "Go Organic! for Earth Day" campaign said they purchased organic products as a result. "Over six million American adults noted that 'Go Organic!' influenced them to buy organic products during April," said Steve French, president of NMI. "Considering that the campaign was featured in less than 10 percent of all grocery stores, this represents impressive results."

"Everyone involved in 'Go Organic!' -- from suppliers to grocers to environmentalists -- are excited about the impact the campaign had on America's awareness of organic products," noted Michael Martin, president of Organic and Natural Experience (ONE), a division of MusicMatters, the Minneapolis company coordinating the campaign.

Major organics manufacturers Horizon Organic Dairy, Nature's Path Foods, Silk, Stonyfield Farm, and Seeds of Change were lead participants in "Go Organic! for Earth Day."
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