18 May 2020
5th European Agroforestry Conference

Nuoro, Sardinia. Call for abstracts

21 September 2020
Organic World Congress 2020

20th Organic World Congress in France, September 2020

12 February 2020
Global organic area continues to grow

Over 71.5 million hectares of farmland are organic

30 January 2020
Soil analysis in organic farming and growing

EIP Soils Technical Guide No.1

21 January 2020
Organic Research Centre starts 40th year at new headquarters

ORC is now operational from Trent Lodge in Cirencester.

Developing the organic market and engaging with consumers

(Jointly organised with Sustain/Organic Trade Board)

Chair: Huw Bowles (Organic Trade Board/OMSCo)

Finn Cottle (Soil Association): An overview of developments and trends in the organic market
Finn has worked within the food industry for 25 years, with major experience of marketing, business development and buying within two of the UKs' largest supermarkets and a major food manaufacturer. More recently she has specialised within the organic industry, working for both the Organic Trade Board and now the Soil Association as a Trade Consultant. bringing a different perspective to development within the organic market. OVer the last 18 months, Finn has been working with Soil Association certified businesses and organisations, advising on the market and opportunities for future growth

Sophie Daranyi (Haygarth): An overview of the promotion campaign approach and content
Sophie Daranyi is CEO of marketing agency Haygarth. Over the past 22 years Sophie has worked on a wide range of brands including Nescafe and Hovis as well as heading up teams such as Rachel’s, Premier Foods and Dairy Crest whilst at Haygarth. She has much generic/product campaign experience gained on working on campaigns such as Wines of South Arica and currently the Organic Trade Board. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Catherine Fookes (Sustain): Opportunities for producers to engage with/be supported by the campaign
Catherine is currently managing the Organic Promotion Campaign “Why I love Organic” on behalf of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, and the organic industry. She is also Membership Coordinator of the Organic Trade Board. Previously she managed the Organic Targets Bill campaign for Sustain which resulted in greater financial support for organic farmers in the UK. She has also worked as Campaigns Manager at the Soil Association and ActionAid.
Opportunities for producers to engage with/be supported by the campaign

Discussion with producer panel: Dairy: Richard Smith (Daylesford Organic Farm), Meat: Peter Davies (Slade Farm Organics), Arable: John Pawsey (David Alston (Suffolk) Ltd; Horticulture: Alan Schofield (Growing with Nature)

Session Summary -
Finn Cottle presented the most up to date info on the market that was available which was to the end of December 2010. She showed that the declines in 2007 - 09 have now stabilised over the past 9 to 12 months and are a good springboard to launch what is to come. Latest sales trends show that the downward trends are very small (-1%) which is the healthiest it has been for 2.5 years. Some sectors are winners and others losers. Baby food is the star and is still growing (+14%). Other areas i.e. alcohol also up. Fresh and chilled produce have seen an increase for the first time in 2 years. The main organic sales are in dairy and this continues to be the case and has been relatively resilient in the past 12 months and anecdotal evidence suggests that it has done better than this. Fruit and vegetables not well reflected as the data was only collected from supermarkets thus missing the fact that they are sold also through other outlets i.e. box schemes, farm shops. Those doing well are the well established everyday organic categories i.e. tea, butter. Other categories are more disappointing such as fruit, poultry, eggs are at the bottom. There are issues around price here with the step up in price between organic and non-organic being so much that the consumer chooses not to buy. There are some very committed organic shoppers: 8% account for 55% of all sales, whereas 61% account of less frequent buyers only account for 12% of organic purchases. This second group are ripe for targeting as are already buying and could buy more. Loyalty to organics is pretty good as more than 25% are medium or above loyal. With the supermarkets Waitrose are the only major to have grown organic this year. This was before relaunch of Duchy Originals too. They are punching above their weight on organics compared to other supermarkets. Morrisons are growing their range of organics. For the future this flat trend not expected to go into free fall. The purchasers that are currently buying are probably here for the long haul. There will be some growth in different product groups and the marketing spend going up. Retailers are focusing on premium food again which is a good sign for organics and the media more favourable again.

Sophie Daranyi (Haygarth) introduced the new generic marketing campaign “Why I Love Organic”. She explained that it was a 3 year campaign co- funded by the industry and the EU. It is focussing on increasing sales year on year. Targeting an increase in frequency of sales and democratise organics. The campaign does not want to alienate the loyal buyers but to bring more organic buyers on board. If the infrequent buyers could add just one or two more items we will give the increase desired. What has been found and is being addressed by the campaign is that there is a disconnect between the organic values and what people understand by organics. The price issue is a major one but is a perception in many cases and the campaign aims to change this. The campaign will have a combination of channels. It will focus on broad messages as why people buy organic may be different for each item. The 3 strands of the campaign are Press, PR and digital (www.whyiloveorganic.co.uk).

Catherine Fookes(Sustain and organic trade board) highlighted the promotion fund and the need for the organic sector as a whole and individually to amplify the campaign through their own business: direct to customers if direct selling or to consumers if advertising. The campaign needs grass roots input to provide content (examples of why people buy organic and why they should) such as case studies, recipes and news stories. Suggestions for spreading the word included the use of the digital banners on advertising and as email footers. Producers were encouraged to access the marketing toolkit and to provide contacts for organic promotion.

Discussion with producer panel: Dairy: Richard Smith (Daylesford Organic Farm), Meat: Peter Davies (Slade Farm Organics), Arable: John Pawsey (David Alston (Suffolk) Ltd); Horticulture: Alan Schofield (Growing with Nature).
Key issues:

  • Alan suggested that smaller producers have been wary of the campaign because of links to the bigger organic businesses. He sees (after the presentations) that it can benefit all producers.
  • Supportive of the campaign and can see how it can add value to the everyday contact produces have with their customers.
  • How do we get value for money from advertising? What is done to monitor returns on investment? Website hits and sales - quantitative. Qualitative monitoring with groups to see if message is getting through. Have done some benchmarking already and the over-riding reason why people buy it is that they think it is better for them.
  • All adverts are tested with customers before they are launched. What was liked about the examples of adverts is asking people to do something for more than themselves (or shows them thinking about others as opposed to themselves). It is a theme that will run through the campaign.
  • Why picked pictures of males when aimed at women? Came out best on research. The next ones do have women.
  • The perception that organic is a lower standard than free range needs to be addressed. This would be a good case study so if businesses have information then get in touch with Haygarth.
  • These 4 key messages (great tasting good, better for nature, better animal welfare, more natural food) have been agreed with the advertising standards agency. If anyone can use these or signpost it would be good. Personal statements on the website do not fall under the ASA and do not need to be backed up.
  • Need to work to endorse organic as a great way forward. Should not be negative about others but positive about our own systems and why they should they enjoy it.
  • Need to get over the attitude by other farmers that organic is a second class form of agriculture. How can this be done?
  • Campaign is good for big shops etc but have you done anything for smaller retailers? The campaign kits are available to all. Not designed in any shape or form to be just at multiple retailers. Smaller independent shops and box schemes can use the material in their own magazines and display the material in store. Flexibility of independents is so much better the multiples who cannot put information at point of sale as too complicated. What we want them to do is to stock a wide range of organics.
  • Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury are putting money into the campaign. Sainsbury have put a link on their website but will not use someone else’ advert in their stores.
  • Website seen as very useful resource.
  • Open farm Sunday should be used to further the message.
  • Productive meeting with Defra last week how came out with positive statements. Sec of state speaking at Soil Association conference and we are trying to get some positive statements on the campaign or at least neutral.
  • Defra could go organic for a day as part of the campaign!

Back to Conference Home