If you have a media enquiry please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 971 3300 and ask for Tara Munday or one of the organic team. Thank you.
The Organic Naturally Different campaign has yielded some excellent results which the Organic Trade Board intends to build on. Shortlisted as a finalist for the Grocer’s Best Outdoor Advert 2012, the campaign marks a major step forward in the way organic is positioned. It has already delivered both on recognition and results:
- 80% surveyed said the outdoor ads would be VERY likely to encourage them to buy more organic.
- 73% of London Underground users said the posters were different to other advertising
- 33% awareness – nearly double the industry average of 17%
- 25% uplift in organic fruit and veg sales and 15% uplift in organic milk sales at Tesco during partnership activity (other multiples TBA)
- 28,000 likes on our facebook page with a 19% ‘talking about’ figure at launch and 12% currently (www.facebook.com/organicuk)
Organic Trade Board Statement for ASA Panto Cow Advertising Ruling
Embargoed until 13 July 2011
The Organic Trade Board is pleased that the ASA has acknowledged the high standards to which organic farmers adhere to, but we are very disappointed and surprised at the change in the ruling about our current press campaign. Our aim has been to help consumers understand the many benefits of organic and what it means. In our press advert we had no intention of implying that no other cows have higher welfare standards, but simply to draw attention to the fact that no other farming system in Europe has higher animal welfare standards than organic – a point which the ASA ruling acknowledges.
It appears the ruling is focused on individual cases and we appreciate some conventional farmers have high animal welfare standards. The press advert is about the industry as a whole and organic farmers have (and must adhere to) high standards of animal welfare that are simply not mandatory for all non-organic farmers. We also have a concern that if applied to other cases, this could rule out differentiation of any product such as free-range, if another product may sometimes be sourced from farms which comply with these standards.
We adhered to the approval systems set out by the ASA and ensured the advert was submitted to Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) for approval. Following approval from CAP the ads were submitted to Defra for approval. When the complaint was originally investigated it was not upheld. We are mystified that the ASA Council overruled the advice of its own expert staff and upheld the complaint. We are keen to see the evidence submitted showing that conventional farming has the same animal welfare standards as organic farming.
We accept this decision from the ASA. However, the advert has performed extremely well for us, and the campaign is a three year campaign so we are now pleased to announce the next phase of advertising to take place in 2012. We will be running a Facebook competition to search for a new face for the press advertising campaign. Running throughout the summer, the competition is open to all organic food lovers, who simply need to tell us their reason for loving organic and uploading an image on Facebook.
We will in the meantime re-word the advertisement for future use, and once again seek the advice of CAP before publication. The Why I Love Organic campaign will continue to promote the many benefits of organic farming.
For further information please contact OTBPR@haygarth.co.uk or Tara Munday on 0208 971 3300.
Date of issue: 11 July 2011
About the Organic Trade Board
The Organic Trade Board (OTB) is a trade body run by industry, for industry. It is a not-for-profit organisation made up of over 120 companies who want to share the benefits of organic and change the perception of the organic industry in the UK. For further information, please visit www.organictradeboard.co.uk
The Organic Trade Board has collectively pledged £300,000 per year, which the EU has agreed to match. The total budget for the three year campaign is £1.8m.
- About Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming
The charity Sustain submitted the bid to the EU on behalf of the organic industry and is now responsible for managing the campaign. www.sustainweb.org
- About the Campaign – Why I Love Organic
The campaign will run for a three year period, from January 2011 – October 2013. We want consumers to understand the benefits of organic, what it means and why it is worth paying a little bit extra. It is all about democratising organic and making it more relevant to people’s everyday lives, with the ultimate aim of driving sales.
The campaign consists of a combination of advertising, PR and digital marketing.
Press ads are running across a number of national magazines over a9 month period (in each of the 3 years of the programme.) The ads will feature individuals, each giving their reason for why they love organic, and will highlight the benefits of organic food.
The PR activity is helping to raise awareness and focus on seasonal news stories, real life case studies, competitions, celebrity endorsement and tasty recipe ideas.
A new website (www.whyiloveorganic.co.uk) has also been created that showcases the benefits of organic food, features up to date news and recipe suggestions. The site also provides a forum for consumers to express and share their views and reasons for loving organic, and is complemented by the campaign Facebook and Twitter pages.
Date of issue: 1 July 2010 (embargoed until 2 July 2010)
UK ORGANIC INDUSTRY WINS £2 MILLION BOOST
EU approves funding for promotional campaign
1 July 2010: Sustain today announce that the EU has approved funding for the UK’s first generic promotional campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of organic food and farming, giving a boost of £2 million to the organic industry in the UK over the next three years.
The campaign will kick off later in 2010 for three years and will aim to give consumers a better understanding of the benefits of organic food and farming. The objective of the programme is to reverse the decline in the sales of organic foods and farming, through a high profile media campaign to reignite consumer interest. The campaign will stress the many benefits of organic food and farming and comprise press advertising, a digital campaign and PR.
More than 75 organisations have pledged money to the campaign including leading retailers Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose, as well as big name organic brands such as Green & Black’s, Organix, Rachel’s and Yeo Valley.
Catherine Fookes from Sustain, who co-ordinated the EU bid, commented, “As the proposing body, we are extremely pleased that several years of hard work has paid off. It’s a great achievement which would not have been possible without the support of all our industry pledgors, the Soil Association and the Organic Trade Board. We are delighted that we will have substantial funds to promote the benefits of organic food and farming over the next three years. We would still welcome contributions from companies who have not pledged yet so we can amplify the campaign.”
Huw Bowles, Chairman of the Organic Trade Board comments, “We’ve worked on this bid for several years and it’s a fantastic boost to our industry. It will give us a great chance for growth in all organic sectors so sales start to increase again.”
Matt Peach, Tesco organic brand manager, comments, “As a pledgor, we are really pleased that funding has been secured for this generic campaign. It’s great news for the industry and will allow retailers to help promote the many benefits of organic food, making it easier for people to understand what organic means at the point of purchase. Currently Tesco helps millions of people buy organic every week and we are committed to continuing to provide the best value, quality and range of organic food for these customers.”
- Ends -
For further information please contact:
Alsi Bowden or Juliet Brooke at Haygarth, 0208 971 3300 or OTBPR@haygarth.co.uk.
Notes to editors:
- Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming is the proposing organisation for the EU bid.Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. Sustain represents around 100 national public interest organisations including all the main UK organic organisations, working at international, national, regional and local level.
- The EU bid for match funding is entitled: Organic UK - A promotional and information campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of organic food and farming and to encourage increased frequency of purchase of organic produce in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 2010-2013.The EU publishes successful bids on its press site: http://europa.eu/press_room/index_en.htm
- The pledgors listed below have provided half the funding for the campaign and the EU has agreed to match fund this. The total raised from the UK for the three year campaign was just under £1m (£950,000) and the EU will match fund this amount.Pledgors: 3V Natural Foods Limited , Agrico UK Ltd, Alara, Alastair Sawday Publishing, Alvis Brothers Ltd, Anglo Beef Processors, Bart Spices, Be Organic, Berry Gardens Ltd, Bioselect UK Ltd, Calon Wen Organic Milk Co-op, Capespan, Clearspring, Community Foods Ltd, Daioni, Dale Farm, David Alston (Suffolk) Ltd, Doves Farm Foods, EcoS Consultancy Ltd, Essential Trading Co-operative Ltd, fresh! naturally organic, G’s Marketing, Garden Organic, Green & Black’s, Greenvale AP, Grove Fresh Ltd, Helen Browning’s Organic, Hi Peak Feeds Ltd, Humphrey Feeds Ltd, J S R Services (Blairgowrie) Ltd, James paton & co, James White Drinks Ltd, Kallo Foods Ltd, Langmead Farms Ltd, Langmeads of Flansham, Laverstoke Park Produce, London and Scottish, Manor Fresh Limited, Mark Measures Associates, Mole Valley Farmers Ltd, Natracare, Natural & Organic Products Europe, Noble Foods, Norton Organic Grain Ltd, OF+ Consulting, Oliver’s Wholefood Store, Kew Village, OMSCo, Organic and Natural Business Magazine, Organic Arable, Organic Farm Foods, Organic Farmers & Growers Ltd, Organic Food Federation, Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, Organico Realfoods Ltd, Organix, Pertwood Organic Cereals Co. Ltd. Pip Organic, Planet Organic Ltd, Poupart Ltd, Produce World Ltd, Rachel’s, RDA Organic, Rhug Organic Farm, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, Seeds of Change, Sharpham Park, Shipton Mill Limited, Slade Farm Organics, SOPA, Taste Matters Ltd, Tesco, Tio Ltd, Triodos Bank, United Irish Organics Ltd, URENBIO, Vintage Roots Ltd, Waitrose Ltd, Welsh Black Cattle Society, Yeo Valley
- Key co-ordinating teamCatherine Fookes, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming www.sustainweb.orgFinn Cottle, Soil Association: A membership charity campaigning for planet-friendly organic food and farming. www.soilassociation.org
Huw Bowles: Organic Trade Board: the voice of the organic industry in the UK. The organisation has over 100 members who are key organic companies in the UK. www.organictradeboard.co.uk
Marketing agency: Haygarth and Media buying: John Aylings & Associates (JAA)
- Media SpokespeopleHuw Bowles: Chair of Organic Trade Board and Operations Director, OMSCo
OMSCo - the UK’s largest organic milk co-operative which collects and markets milk from around 500 farms.
Catherine Fookes: Sustain, Co-ordinator of campaign
Two years working on the EU bid, generating industry funding, working on the strategy for the campaign and submitting the application.
Alex Smith: Alara, Director
Alara is one of the UK’s largest muesli producers (producing 70 tonnes a week)
Adam Wakeley: Organic Farm Foods, Joint Managing Director
The largest specialist supplier of organic fresh produce in the UK.
Organic Trade Board Launches New Consumer Website
February 22nd 2010, Press release
The Organic Trade Board has launched a new consumer website, www.whyiloveorganic.co.uk, aimed at providing clear advice for consumers on the benefits of organic products.
The new website will form an anchor for a UK based PR campaign and will become the destination site for both organic supporters and interested consumers. In addition, social media activity with Facebook and Twitter will continually update members on news from the organic industry. Consumers can follow the conversations on www.twitter.com/whyiloveorganic.
www.whyiloveorganic.co.uk will showcase the results of recent research commissioned by the Organic Trade Board, looking into current consumer attitudes in the UK to organic food. The research focuses on key areas of consumer confusion such as elitism, price, taste and well being.
The website will also feature links to key organic bloggers, as well as ‘Unravelling Organic’ and ‘Reasons to Love Organic’ sections. In addition, a ‘News and Updates’ section will regularly be refreshed with content and news from the organic industry, to keep the site relevant and up to date.
Finn Cottle, Trade Consultant at the Soil Association who is working with the Organic Trade Board comments: “The website has an extremely contemporary look and feel and will be a key reference point for anyone interested in organic but especially consumers. The site content will help clarify some of the myths and confusion that currently surround organic food and farming and compliment the many existing websites .”
The Organic Trade Board is made up of a group of key organic companies and organisations including Yeo Valley, Green & Blacks and Rachel’s amongst others (full list of pledgors below). In Autumn, the consortium will launch a major integrated marketing campaign in a bid to grow organic sales by 15% over the next three years. There are now more than 65 pledgors involved in this growing campaign as well as leading retailers Tesco and Waitrose.
Does organic always mean more expensive?
February 2010, Press Release
The Organic Trade Board, a group of key organic companies and organisations, has carried out research to investigate Britain’s attitude towards organic food. As part of the research into the organic consumer’s motivation for purchasing, the Organic Trade Board has also looked into the issue of pricing – does organic really mean more expensive and are people willing to spend more? Do they understand why and do they see the value of organic products?
A recent price comparison shows organic is often cheaper than non-organic products when it comes to staple foods so the misconception that organic means more expensive is certainly not always true. Interestingly, the Organic Trade Board research showed that nearly 68% of women still say that they would buy organic products more often if the prices were lower, which infers that people are assuming that organic is more expensive without being properly informed. Consumers may be basing their knowledge about the price of organic on those areas where there is a definite premium and are making the same assumption across the whole spectrum of organic products.
Yeo Valley Organic British butter, 250g, £1.12
Lurpak butter, slightly unsalted, 250g, £1.38
Sainsbury’s So Organic, wholemeal bread, 800g, 99p
Warburtons, wholemeal bread, 800g, £1.49
Sainsbury’s So Organic eggs x 6, £1.82
Happy Eggs, Free Range egg x 6 £1.56
Rachel’s Organic Milk, 2L, £1.69
Cravendale Milk, 2L, £1.69
Kallo Organic Cornflakes, 375g, £1.39
Kellogg’s Cornflakes, 500g, £1.93
Sainsbury’s So Organic fresh orange juice, 1L, £2.03
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference fresh orange juice, 500ml, £1.52
Clipper Organic Coffee, 200g, £3.99
Nescafe, 200g, £4.00
Clipper Everyday organic tea x 80 teabags, £2.29
Yorkshire Tea x 80 teabags, £2.29
Sainsbury’s So Organic oranges x 4, £1.49
Sainsbury’s oranges x 5, £2.00
Sainsbury’s Medium So Organic Cheddar, 200g, £2.09
Cathedral City, 200g, £1.94
Green & Blacks organic milk chocolate, 100g, £1.79
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate, 230g, £1.79
Sainsbury’s So Organic new potatoes, 750g, £1.29
Sainsbury’s new potatoes, 1kg, £1.39
Sainsbury’s So Organic penne, 500g, 89p
Napolina Bronze Die penne, 500g, £1.04
Source: Sainsbury Online, February 2010
As part of its research, the Organic Trade Board looked into the reasons people are buying more organic products:
1. Naturalness/unprocessed 40%
2. Restricted use of pesticides 34%
3. Better taste 30%
4. Better for my wellbeing 28%
5. Better for the planet 25%
6. More care in farming 24%
7. Kind to animals 22%
8. GM free 18%
9. Encourage wildlife 16%
10. Helping climate change 12%
These factors are clearly becoming more important to consumers as the Organic Trade Board research showed over 50% of consumers said that they buy fruit, vegetables and eggs from organic ranges and over 65% buy their organic produce at supermarkets where costs are likely to be more competitive.
The Organic Trade Board research also showed that there is an appetite from consumers to buy more organic produce with 32% saying they would buy more organic if ranges were available and 25% actually saying that they do want more organic ranges available.
It also seems that current economic conditions have not dampened the market too much with over 50% saying that the credit crunch has not affected their organic shopping habits, indicating that more and more people do think they’re getting value for money when buying organic. An IGD shoppers’ survey in August 2009, asked consumers about their buying habits when it comes to organic and revealed that nearly one in five (19%) of all UK shoppers are remaining loyal and a further one in ten (9%) say they will buy more organic food when they have a bit more money to spend.
All of these statistics show that people are buying organic staples and that price is less of an issue in these areas. However, some organic products are still more expensive simply due to the cost of inputs to production such as feed, and the stringent production and inspection rules the producers are subject to. Bob Kennard, Managing Director of Graig Producers, the organic livestock marketing group, comments:
“For consumers who do not want a wide range of pesticides used routinely in producing their food, who want the animals to be free to roam on pastures, and not be fed routine antibiotics or growth-promoting drugs, they will want to buy organic food, which is an old-fashioned low-input/low-output farming system using modern knowledge and techniques to ensure the very best in animal welfare and crop production.
Because organic farming is less intensive and can have a longer production cycle, organic farmers will often see a reduction in output per acre of their farms compared with their intensive non-organic neighbours. In order to earn a similar profit from their farm as a whole, the organic farmer will generally need to earn more for each tonne of crop or each animal which he produces.”
It seems that there is a positive outlook on the pricing issue around organic and that in some sectors the difference in price will be less marked over time as nitrogen fertilisers increase in price. Meanwhile, consumers need to be encouraged to relook at the price of organics as it can be surprisingly affordable.
The Organic Trade Board has launched a new website www.whyiloveorganic.co.uk aimed at providing clear advice for consumers on the benefits of organic produce. You can also follow The Organic Trade Board on twitter at www.twitter.com/whyiloveorganic.
The Organic Trade Board has a major advertising, digital and PR campaign launching this autumn to promote organic products by focusing on its many benefits with the aim of generating a 15% annual value growth during each of the three years of the campaign. There are now more than 65 pledgors involved in this growing campaign as well as leading retailers Tesco and Waitrose.
The Organic Trade Board survey was undertaken in the last week of December 2009 and the first week of January and questioned over 3000 respondents through onepoll.com.
Regional, gender and age skews:
· Yorkshire, South West and the South East are most concerned about price when making a food purchase, while London and Wales care the least
· While nearly 68% of women say they would buy more organic products if the prices were lower, only 63% of men agree
· Women are more concerned about price when making a food purchase than men
· The 45+ are those who say they are least affected by the recession (63%)
· 4.5% of 16-21 year olds claim to only buy organic products compared to only 1% of over 50s
The OTB is moving!
18th January 2010
The address and contact number for the Organic Trade Board will change with effect from 25th january to:
120-122 Commercial Road
Tel: 01202 586142
The OTB is pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine Fookes
18th January 2010
The Organic Trade Board has appointed Catherine Fookes as part-time Membership Co-ordinator to replace Paula Jones who departs this week. Catherine will be known to many of you as the coordinator of the OrganicUK EU Bid campaign through Sustain. Catherine may be reached at email@example.com.
OrganicUK - pledges for the EU Bid pass initial target
7th December 2009
The organic industry has already surpassed its initial target to raise funds to support a generic marketing campaign. Over 50 different companies and organisations who are involved in driving the sales of organic products, have contributed to the campaign - a sign of the enthusiasm within the industry to work together in driving future growth. Industry-pledged funding has now reached £260K per year for 3 years.
The bidding team have now set a higher target of £300K to encourage more companies to join in. If this target is reached and the funding matched by the EU bid, then this would guarantee a campaign of almost £2m over a 3 year period.
Waitrose, who is one of the leading supermarkets for organic choice, has confirmed a significant pledge to this campaign. It is the only retailer to have supported so far, helping achieve the industry’s objective to run the first ever integrated campaign, which will include press, PR and social media.
Waitrose Brand manager for Organic , Andrea Watson comments ”It is crucial that consumers understand the points of difference around organics and what they are paying for so we were pleased to support this initiative. Funding will provide the tools for marketing and will allow the key organic messages to be communicated, promoting the role of organics to a whole new audience. We are looking forward to seeing the campaign in action. ”
A number of other food companies supplying into multiple retail have also recently pledged to the campaign, including Anglo Beef Processors, Alvis Bros (Lye Cross cheese brand) and Bart Spices.
Contact Finn Cottle on 07825 032960 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Release from the Anti Fraud Initiative
26th October 2009
The Anti-Fraud Initiative (AFI)— an international network of individuals and organizations that cooperate to avoid fraud in the market for organic products — held the first regional workshop on fraud prevention on September 14, in Bologna, Italy. The workshop concluded that cross-border cooperation between European control bodies should be intensified.
Download and comment on the full report here.
The Organic Trade Board responds to the Royal Society’s recent report
20th October 2009
The Royal Society’s recent report highlights that those consumers who choose to avoid foods containing GMO’s may have unwittingly been purchasing GMO’s due to the large amount of animal feeds that include GM ingredients. The Organic Trade Board, representing processors within the organic industry, emphasises that organic standards prohibit the use of GM feeds and ingredients and through its certification and inspection procedures, organic is the best choice for those consumers wishing to avoid GMO’s.
Furthermore, the OTB recognises that whilst there is an increasing group in the non-organic sector which is campaigning for greater use of GMO’s, the organic sector remains committed to continuing to offer consumers an option for foods which are free from GM and have upheld these standards for many years: they do not intend to stand back and let this benefit become diluted in any way. Major organic processors want their consumers to know that they are very capable of tracking products from seed to finished product and that these standards help them to differentiate their products. It is this attention to detail that allows the organic industry to make such claims about sourcing of raw materials.
Paul Moore, Marketing Director at Community Foods, who produce the Crazy Jack range of dried fruit, says “we reject the claims of the Royal Society report that GM foods have contaminated our food chain. Crazy Jack brand credibility is built on the integrity and provenance of our sourcing. We are confident that our systems allow us to assure our customers that our fruit is 100% GM free and we will continue to produce to this standard”.
He continues “the presumption that GM foods are the answer to food problems is completely unfounded and a mischievous manipulation of peoples fears – Our industry in contrast, welcomes the independent findings of a 4 year review of the food chain, sponsored by the United Nation’s and involving more than 400 international scientists which concludes global hunger is a result more of the power and control of the food system rather than growing enough food, contrary to the claims of the GM lobby.”
29th September 2009
The OTB is aware of the recent press coverage regarding a fraudulent organic trader who is to serve a prison sentence for passing off non organic product in retail (The Times and Daily Mirror, 24th Sept ’09). We fully support the response of the Soil Association and believe that tough policing of the organic regulations by the Trading Standards and environmental health officers is vital in upholding integrity within our industry and ensuring consumer trust is kept intact.
We firmly believe that prosecutions of bogus traders should be made public as these are the exceptions within our industry and detract from the highest standards which are so tightly defined. Our customers and consumers have confidence and trust in Organic and it is vital that this trust is not damaged by fraudulent operators or companies who do not uphold the principles which underpin our integrity.
Fantastic response to Go for Growth 2009!
28th September 2009
More than 100 delegates attended the OTB ‘Go For Growth’ conference at Citypoint on 22nd September 2009: it was an extremely positive event where organic producers, processors, certifiers, and retailers came together to adopt the industry’s stretching plan to drive £1b sales growth over the next five years.
There were presentations from Tesco, TNS and OMSCo while the business plan was launched by Finn Cottle who has been working with the OTB as a Trade Consultant over the last four months, gathering views and input to the plan.
Andrea Mulqueen from Tesco shared the action plan for organic produce, re-energising their range, the fixture and the availability of product to stimulate further growth while Ed Garner from TNS gave an engaging ‘whistle stop’ tour of the grocery market, ethical and fair-trade shoppers, and highlighting the habits of organic consumers.
Huw Bowles, COO of OMSCo and the newly elected Chairman of the OTB, raised awareness of the OMSCo success story and showed the ad from their recently launched £1m TV marketing campaign for Organic milk.
The OTB’s support of the EU Bid for Generic marketing funds came across clearly as an essential part of the plan and the audience were asked to consider joining in the support by Adam Wakeley, MD of Organic Farm Foods representing the EU Bid Marketing team.
The afternoon session ended with a lively question and answer session covering a variety of topics from the challenges of developing a generic marketing message to the premium pricing of organic products and the need for greater retailer support to get sales back on track.
Thanks from the OTB to everyone who was involved in making the conference such a success.
IDG reports on the future of Organic
20th August 2009
The IDG have released a report saying that 1 in 5 shoppers are loyal to organic and a further 1 in 10 would buy more organic when they have a bit more money to spend. Click on the link below to download the full press release and/or leave a comment.
OTB update on ‘that’ FSA Report
12th August 2009
FSA Report in a nutshell (organic of course!)
The independent review published by the FSA (Food Standards Agency) concluded that there are no important differences between organic food and normal food in terms of nutrition and additional health benefits.
The review was commissioned by the FSA and conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Researchers at LSHTM reviewed papers from the last 50 years on the subject of nutrition and health benefits, comparing organic food with ordinary food.
The OTB has responded directly to numerous news articles, and has supported the Soil Association in their responses. The latest letter sent by the OTB Chair to the Sunday Times on 12th August says:
‘It is remarkable that one sector of the grocery chain that has displayed consistent growth year on year for 20 years, and is therefore clearly offering the public more than a ‘fad’ or fashion, should attract such misrepresentation from both government and the media, including, unfortunately, Mr Lawson. Organic sales has grown from £20m to £2,000m in the last 10 years and now represent 2% of all grocery sales.
There are many reasons to question the bias of the FSA’s report on organic food - the FSA does not always act in a rational manner with the best interests of the public in mind. Witness their £750,000 spend in 2007 researching the safety of Azo-dye food colourings and the food additive sodium benzoate (all banned in organic foods). The research found that they caused health problems. The FSA did not act on that evidence. Instead, after much pressure, they created a website using food company information about foods that are ‘safe’, rather than publishing information about food that is not safe, based on their own research.
The people who run the companies producing organic products are tough and resilient; the sector will come through this recession with our strength and consumer support intact. Organic companies choose to produce good products in difficult circumstances – with an external certification company auditing their work, working through a known supply chain, without the easy-win yield boosters of growth hormones, fertilisers and pesticides, and without the simple logic of achieving sales by being the lowest cost producer. Despite that, organic companies compete and thrive – because they produce goods that the public wants to buy.’
A selection of positive reports
A selection of other reports
EU Bid for generic Marketing Funds – Support passes £150K mark
30th July 2009
The UK Organic industry is pulling together to build the highest level of financial support for the EU Bid for Generic Marketing funds.
The largest UK Organic companies have been leading the way with their support such that the committed funds surpassed £150K before the Pledging website went live on 3rd August 09.
Organic companies all share the view that consumers need to be helped in their understanding of ‘why to buy Organic’. “A generic campaign is the best way to achieve this and build consumption of Organic products”, says Lizzie Vann, OTB Chair. The recent press coverage may well cause concern among consumers, so it is more important than ever that the right messages are conveyed.
The Organic Trade Board, ‘the voice of the Organic industry’ has been driving the support across industry and alongside Sustain, they will be managing the delivery of this bid supported by lead UK Organic companies. Prior to the EU Bid, there will be a ‘Primer’ campaign to ‘warm up’ the interest within the market at the end of this year.
The Soil Association responds to an FSA report
29th July 2009
The FSA today published the results of a recent study into the nutritional content of organic food vs non organic. Their study was limited in size and scope and the FSA has chosen to report it’s findings negatively for organic, despite finding that nutrients such as protein, flavanoids, zinc and beta-carotene were all more than 10% higher in organic than non-organic foods.
The Soil Association, who were at the unveiling of the report, have called on the FSA to also recognise the strength of a larger study funded by the at a cost of Eu18m, which concluded, in April this year, that organic food provides higher levels beneficial compounds and lower levels of undesirable compounds (such as heavy metals).
Click here for:
The OTB reaches the final stages of it’s ‘Go for Growth’ Business Plan
20th July 2009
The Organic Trade Board (OTB) is finalising its ‘Go for Growth’ Business Plan which will be launched to the Organic industry on 22nd September at a conference in central London. The objective of the plan is to ‘Add £1B to Organic sales by 2015’
The OTB was set up to work as the ‘Voice of the Industry’ and this unique Business Plan will be representative of the current views, issues and challenges which face each sector within the industry. The groundwork has been completed by Finn Cottle, who has been working as a Trade consultant at the OTB for several months, having contacted both branded and retail brand producers for their input to the status of the market and the future outlook.
Cottle comments, “There is a tremendous amount of support to protect and grow Organic sales. Despite the recession, loyal Organic customers are staying loyal and the potential for converting both lapsed and new customers into this market is still huge. With the right holistic, yet simple message which conveys the main attributes of organic within different food and non food categories, consumers will be targeted and reminded of the benefits of buying Organic. The OTB is firmly behind the EU Bid for generic marketing funds and believes that a ‘primer’ campaign is needed in advance of EU funds being awarded. The Organic message needs to be communicated now“ says Cottle.
The Business plan will identify the key streams of work and how each individual company will be able to get involved and actively support the plan, to build future growth.
Any queries, please contact Finn Cottle on 07825 032960 or email email@example.com
Laura Gould of Fresh Produce World interviews OTB’s Trade Consultant, Finn Cottle
The Organic Trade Board (OTB) is in an optimistic frame of mind, making its first senior appointment at the start of this month as part of its plan to double the value of organic trade in five years.
Finn Cottle, previously of Sainsbury’s, Somerfield and the Noble Foods Group, has joined the OTB at a time when many outside observers are predicting its demise due to economic pressures. Her role as consultant to the OTB includes that of establishing the status of organic businesses throughout the UK, and working with them to knock down those barriers that are hampering growth.
So how will this five-year development plan pan out in reality? Cottle tells FPJ: “The organic market has been growing at an extremely healthy rate for many years and, despite the impact of recessionary pressures on all customers, there is still strong demand for organic foods. The wider market has been focusing more predominantly on value messages through retailer advertising, yet there are many customers who are more concerned about the quality, provenance and production methods used in the production of their food. Organic is a hero category for produce, offering consumers a solution – it is the right time to be reiterating this message and building on sales. Organic produce has to make sure it gets a fair share of the opportunity.”
At this stage, Cottle explains, the groundwork is being done to fully understand the current organic customer within the produce fixture. “Have their motivation and purchasing habits changed in any way due to economic pressures?” she asks. “Also, what is happening to the amount of space allocated to organic produce within the fixture and how does this impact the consumer’s choice? Box schemes are now much more prevalent and are driving growth within the produce sector, answering the need for convenience.
“It is too early to predict the long term given the volatility of the economic climate. However, the fundamentals have to be right for products in the fruit and veg category. Pricing differentials between conventional and organic produce need to be considered and the perception of organics as ‘being expensive’ needs to be addressed.”
Recognising changes in consumer behaviour, leading organic food companies are adopting ‘organic- plus’ strategies, according to Organic Monitor. “Such companies are going beyond organic and adopting highly ethical, ecological and sustainable business practices. Increasingly, these companies are marketing their organic products on these values,” says the analyst, which is organising the Sustainable Foods Summit in Amsterdam on June 25-27. This is the first-ever conference to look at the impact of eco-labels such as organic and Fairtrade on sustainability.
“In the UK, some leading organic food brands are positioned on such non-organic attributes,” continues Organic Monitor. “Ethical sourcing is a key strategy for many organic food companies. Other organic food companies are strengthening their environmental credentials by offsetting carbon emissions.
“The global organic products industry faces fresh challenges in 2009. The financial crisis, coupled with changes in consumer behaviour, is affecting organic food sales. Organic Monitor recommends organic food companies meet these challenges by adopting organic-plus strategies.”
But Cottle firmly believes that the key to boosting organic sales at this time is to focus on the basics. “Growth will be dependent on communicating simple and effective messages on the benefits of organic produce – consumers still need to be educated on why to buy organic,” she says. “The value of organic has to be firmly embedded in consumers’ minds – organic as a healthy choice, focused on animal welfare and being kinder to the environment in which we live.
“The market for produce and other primary agricultural products is becoming overcrowded with consumer messages, making it more difficult for all consumers to make choices about what they buy. We will be aiming to be clear on why organic is good for you, animals and the world in which we live… the strategy will be based on simplifying this communication.”
So will organics consumers stick to their choice? Cottle believes they will. “There is no doubt that loyal organics consumers will stay loyal and are doing so,” she says. “However, those consumers who purchased less frequently need to be reminded of organics and the strategy will target these individuals… We are very aware that the right promotional messages will help maintain and grow the organic consumer base. We will be learning from categories where organic is still buoyant. Box schemes are performing well, which could suggest that recessionary pressures are forcing consumers to re-evaluate how and where they purchase their fruit and vegetables.”
For more from Fresh Produce World, go to: www.freshinfo.com
TESCO REPORTS THAT ORGANIC PRODUCE SALES ARE STARTING TO SEE GREEN SHOOTS OF RECOVERY
15th July 2009
UK demand for organic produce is starting to rise again giving growers hope that the recession hit market may be on the way to recovery.
After the credit crunch hit last year organic purchases were among the first food items to be ditched as people sought to save money on their weekly shop.
The downturn prompted efficiencies across the industry which have encouraged sales through lower prices and offers such as £1 and half price deals.
Tesco has seen – since the beginning of the year - encouraging signs that the organic produce market could soon make a full recovery, perhaps even by autumn.
Key organic sales increases include:
• Red onions – up 88 per cent
• Broccoli – up 32 per cent
• Raw beetroot – up 34 per cent
• Watermelon – up 131 per cent
• Blueberries – up 16 per cent
• Asparagus – up 30 per cent
• Gala apples – up 20 per cent
• Cherry tomatoes – up 7 per cent
Said Tesco senior organic produce buyer Andrea Mulqueen: “Since the beginning of the year we have seen demand for organic produce growing on a monthly basis with the decline reversing so much that the market could be back on track by the autumn.
“While we are not out of the forest yet there is still a lot we plan to do to woo back customers such as an Organic Produce week in a fortnight which will have many special offers.”
It’s not just Tesco that is seeing strong signs of a recovery but also major organic growers such as Organic Farm Foods based in Evesham, Worcestershire.
The company, which is the largest specialist supplier of organic fresh produce in the UK, is also confident that the sales are beginning to get back on pre-recession track.
Said Organic Farm Foods joint managing director Adam Wakely: “There are very positive signs out there of a revival and what we are seeing is definitely green shoots stuff.
“Last year was very bleak for organic growers and demand for us was down by five per cent which led us to make significant changes to the business.
“We broadened the business to pack fruit for other companies, were able to bring overheads down and subsequently make savings which allowed us to lower the price of our fruit.”
Results of the OTB Committee Election
1st July 2009
The results of the OTB Committee election are as follows:
We had 5 vacancies. The following were elected:
Bob Kennard of Graig Producers - Meat & Fish
Anna Rosier of Organix – Babyfood
Alex Smith of Alara – Ambient Grocery
Patrick O’Flaherty was returned to represent the drinks sector
Ian Price of Triodos was returned to represent financial matters in the place of Charles Middleton
The new committee will be meeting in early September. At this meeting, the committee will elect a new Chair. The results of this will be announced shortly after that meeting.
Organic Industry Survey 2009 from the Organic Trade Association, USA
1st June 2009
U.S. sales of organic products, including food and non-food, reached $24.6 billion by the end of 2008, growing an impressive 17.1 percent over 2007 sales despite tough economic times, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), which has recently made available its 2009 Organic Industry Survey.
This rate, which would be considered healthy growth in normal times, is all the more impressive with the current state of the global economy. While other sectors are seeing decline, organic agriculture and products provide a bright spot in the U.S. economy
The survey, conducted by Lieberman Research Group on behalf of OTA, measured the growth of U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages as well as non-food categories such as organic fibers, personal care products and pet foods during 2008.
The OTB has bought a copy of the full survey and the Executive Summary can be downloaded from here: OTA’s 2009 Organic Industry Survey
Organic Market Report from the Soil Association
Click here to download the:
Harmonised organic cosmetics standards update
3rd April 2009
The COSMOS-standard as agreed by the working group of European certifying organisations will be published on the COSMOS website http://www.cosmos-standard.org/ on 10th April. Final approval by the certifying organisations will happen by the end of April.
From 1st September 2009, the standards will be in action.
OTB Comment: The process of agreeing COSMOS has been long, but we can look forward to a set of standards that have sound democratic foundations. All of the major European certifiers - Soil Association, Ecocert, BDIH and ICEA and have taken part in the negotiations and consulted with their members.
One of the objectives of the Organic Trade Board is to grow the organic industry and protecting ‘Organic Integrity’ is a key component of that goal. Nowhere is that more relevant than in the organic health and beauty sector where certification of products marked “organic” is entirely voluntary.
Harmonisation of the various European organic cosmetics standards should be an important milestone in bringing legal protection to the organic cosmetics sector at a later date.
Growth in organic sales continues in US
Thanks to William Lana from Greenfibres for spotting this story:
Whilst this story reflects findings in the US, similar murmurings are being heard here in the UK. If you spot any articles that relate to the UK let us know and we will add them to the site.
Report by Simon Wright, Organic and Fair
A packed meeting organised by Nic Lampkin of the Elm Farm Organic Research Centre heard about the experiences of Ireland and the Czech republic in running consumer campaigns aimed at promoting organic food and farming.
The EU has now developed a tool kit containing 32 approved organic slogans plus a selection of images which can be downloaded and used for promotional work free-of-charge. Lorcan Bourke of Bord Bia in Ireland explained how the the Irish Department of Agriculture funded half the campaign, allowing match-funding to obtained from the EU and giving a total budget of 1 million Euros. After consumer research the slogan chosen was ‘ Good For Nature, Good For You’ (see the campaign at www.bordbia.ie/aboutfood/campaigns/Pages/NationalOrganicWeek.aspx ).
Nic is working with Sustain to bid for EU funding along the lines that the Irish achieved, with the support and participation of the Organic Trade Board (OTB). The challenge is going to be funding, as both the Irish and Czech campaigns had the support of their respective governments and so far Defra have shown little interest in supporting a campaign of this type in the UK.