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Organic agent to ferret out US supply

By Sarah Hills , 27-Jun-2008

An organics company that links growers and food manufacturers has announced plans to expand its product range as it prepares to open new offices in 'carrot country'.

Organic Alliance said the market for organic goods is growing dramatically, despite a "chilling economy" and it plans to become a leading provider of USDA certified organic crops to food manufacturers and processors.

 

 

 

The company's main products are tomatoes, onions, garlic and avocados. However when it opens its new sales and marketing office in Bakersfield, California, this summer there are plans to take advantage of the local produce.

 

 

 

Bill Gallagher, a spokesman for Organic Alliance, which is based in Texas, said that the largest supply of organic carrots in the world is in California. And there is also a large supply of organic mushrooms in the US which they plan to access.

 

 

 

He said: "Our main source of produce right now is Mexico but when our offices open in August we will be sourcing all over the US.

 

 

"Our business is really to act as agents for long-term contracts between the growers and the processors and manufacturers but we do have plans for supplying grocery and restaurants.

 

 

"Supply is tight and it takes people like us to ferret out the goods."

 

 

Gallagher said Organic Alliance is a public company that has been going for four years. Its customers are large multi-national food processors and manufacturers that are concentrated in North America and Canada.

 

 

 

He predicted that by the end of the year, companies such as Unilever and Costco would be included in its customer base.

 

 

 

But Gallagher said: "The US has been slow in bringing new (organic) products to the grocery stores because they can't tie up long-term supplies. That is our long-term objective to make sure they can have long-term supply of the ingredients they need.

 

 

"It is the supply side that is difficult but the market is growing dramatically."

 

 

Amarjit Sahota, director or Organic Monitor, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that over the last few years the organic market has grown by about 20 per cent each year in the US with large multi-nationals coming onboard.

 

 

 

The main areas are fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy, along with beverages such as tea coffee and juices and organic soya milk.

 

 

 

Growers have been switching to organic produce but despite this there has been a shortage of organic ingredients and organic foods. Meanwhile prices have remained high.

 

 

 

Sahota said: "The biggest issue in the US is that production there is not keeping pace with demand.

 

 

"We are seeing more and more supply of organic foods and ingredients coming from Latin America and from other regions.

 

 

"Even though consumers would prefer to buy locally produced organic foods it is just not possible."

 

 

As a result supermarket chains, as well as food manufacturers, are looking for long-term contracts.

 

 

 

Sahota said: "They don't just want to buy here and now, they want to buy over a continuous period of three to five years or even longer.

 

 

"Organic production has increased quite a lot but prices have remained and we are going to see them going up more and more."

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