There’s an opportunity for poultry producers to put chicken and turkey in the sweet spot of one of the fastest-growing categories of the supermarket perimeter, itself the growth section for grocers. Not just fresh poultry, but fresh and local poultry.

Consumers are serious about health and wellness and it shows in their purchases of foods in categories like natural, organic and fresh. Not every poultry producer will market natural and organic chicken and turkey in 100 percent of their product lines – let alone locally produced poultry – but more companies are adding such fast-growing categories to their traditional product lines.

As David Schoeder, The Food Partners, said in a recent Food Institute webinar, the three biggest factors motivating customers to buy natural and organic products are avoiding chemicals, the perception of higher quality and watching out for their family’s health.

Noting that consumers are demanding local more often than organic, he cited Food Marketing Institute research showing the popularity of "locally grown" continues to soar, with 61 percent of shoppers wanting their grocery store to stock more local items. He also pointed to data from A.T. Kearney that shows shoppers associate “local” with “fresh” – which they cite as the most important attribute in the food they buy.

Local and fresh are primary drivers in shopper purchasing, and 75 percent of retailers say consumer wellness and family health is a strategy they use to build a competitive advantage. One study, in fact, showed consumers believe their food retailer is their trusted ally to help them achieve their health and wellness goals, with 45 percent of shoppers saying their grocery store is working to help them stay healthy.

It may not be feasible for every chicken and turkey company to market locally-produced poultry, but more producers are offering products relevant to these consumers. Grocers are siding with consumers in their demands by expanding perimeter sections to highlight fresh and local products. Successful poultry producers are finding ways to show consumers that they, too, are allies in helping them achieve their health and wellness goals.