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Horizon Organic boosts sales, expands infant nutritional products


Leading organic milk supplier Horizon Organic announced today that it has reached a milestone of $200 million in sales on a trailing 12 month basis as of April 2003. The company said it saw a 24 per cent sales increase in the US for the first quarter of 2003.

Horizon Organic has unveiled a number of developments in recent weeks, targeting infants. In May it said it will launch the first and only USDA certified organic infant formula, being introduced first on the west coast this fall. At the same time, the firm will also roll out its new yogurt products, including a prebiotic-enriched organic yogurt for infants and toddlers.

"As the leader in the organic industry, Horizon Organic is committed to the health and well-being of children by offering delicious organic foods parents can feel good about feeding their kids," said Gwen Scherer, director of marketing for Horizon Organic.

Organic dairy products are experiencing the highest growth rate in the organic food and beverage category, increasing nearly 60 per cent over the past 5 years, according to Datamonitor statistics. Horizon Organic was the first to launch organic single-serve milk and most recently, organic infant formula. The company enters the formula category with a significant competitive advantage as the only current producer of USDA certified organic lactose, an essential ingredient in milk-based infant formula.

Horizon Organic Infant Formula with Iron is said to meet all of the FDA requirements for complete infant nutrition for full-term, healthy infants. It is produced without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides, and contains certified organic fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, plus 27 essential vitamins and minerals needed by babies in their first 12 months.

Chuck Marcy, president and CEO of Horizon Organic, said of the formula, "when a parent chooses to use formula, they'll feel good knowing there's now a healthy, organic choice that provides a strong nutritional foundation for their infant's growth and development".Horizon Organic Whole Milk Baby Yogurt, designed for children from one to three years old, is enhanced with NutraFlora soluble fiber and prebiotic to aid digestion and improve calcium absorption. The toddlers' product, Horizon Organic Yo-Yo yogurt cups also contain NutraFlora.

Chuck Marcy CEO of Horizon Organic said: "The continued growth of Horizon Organic over the last year is testament to the increasing consumer demand for organic products." He added that the impressive growth, in contrast to the modest growth realized in the conventional food industry, was fueled in large part by the broadening acceptance of organic foods by both retailers and consumers, as well as innovations from the company.

The company now distributes products in the club store channel and Starbucks, and has seen strong sales in both conventional and mass merchandiser formats. Horizon Organic retail distribution has increased more than 10 per cent in the past year.

The new kids' line of yogurts, which also includes products for teenagers, will be on the shelves of supermarkets, natural food stores and specialty retailers nationwide in fall 2003. Horizon Organic Infant Formula with Iron will be launching first in California, Washington and Oregon at natural food stores, specialty retailers and select supermarkets.