Raley’s Grocers is to Sacramento what apple pie is to America. Given its leadership, it’s more than significant to see the grocer convert so much of its conventional produce to organic.
Megan Burritt, Director of Wellness and Sustainability explains, “We are a customer-centric company, and we strive to offer the very best products that our customers are looking to purchase. Our continued focus on local and organic, and a dedication to those farmers that we work with, supports this value. In that same vein, we are focused on sustainability as a company, and we want to support farming practices that will leave a better planet for future generations. Organics, by definition, leave a slightly softer footprint on the planet and so we seek to partner with farmers who will help us to accomplish that goal.”
What local farms are you purchasing from that are supplying you these organic produce?
“It varies by season and type of produce,” begins Michael Schutt, Raley’s organic produce buyer. “We have many farming neighbors from Durst Farms and Capay Organic in the Capay Valley, to AV Thomas in Livingston, Maywood Farms in Corning, Natural Trading Co in Loomis… And many more.”
How are you merchandising these organic foods?
Schutt replies, “Front & center. Expect to see a beautiful and large assortment of fruits and veggies at the front of every produce department. Also offer a wide array of value-added produce – that’s industry speak for fruits and veggies that are prepared for you – and a complement of hardy fruits and veggies throughout the department for every type of consumer that may be shopping for produce with us.”
Has the price of organic foods come down significantly?
“Organic prices have come down, somewhat, but the answer isn’t quite that simple. As an industry, demand is exceeding supply and prices will likely hold steady until that balance shifts. This means there is some volatility and we can’t predict what might happen in the future. That said, Raley’s is committed to offering local, organic and sustainable produce at fair prices to our customers, no matter what.”
Karen Hansen M.S. Earth Sciences, has been an educator and consultant who is currently an analyst regarding land and other public information records. She lives and works in Sacramento, CA. She has been writing about earth and the environmental sciences for Examiner.com since May of 2010. Find her work in several sections of the publication. You can find her work at SF Solar Energy Examiner, SF Environmental News Examiner and Environmental News Examiner