Edited Highlights from “Selling Organic: The Next Chapter”

Organic Farmers & Growers / Organic Conferences

Oxford 14th October

Graham Keating, Yeo Valley

  • Current turnover £216m (own-label yoghurt 37%, branded yoghurt 31%, desserts and ice cream 13%, milk, cream + butter 18%)
  • Characterises market as The Good Years (2000-7), The In Between Years (2007-9) and Time To Move On (2009-10)
  • Current offer is accessible organic food, interested in lowering prices new packaging with ‘milk drop’ icon is designed ‘for everyone’
  • Going onto TV (X –Factor) and ad online is part of “brand activation”

Jon Fricker, Haygarth (agency planning Organic Campaign)

  • Organic has a broad user-base but is chosen infrequently. 63% of consumers buy 23% of organic food
  • 8% of consumers buy 55% of organic food – they must be kept on board
  • It is chosen infrequently because most consumers are unwilling to pay the price premium – they don’t think enough about sustainability and are influenced by FSA attacks on organics
  • To increase sales we must offer tangible benefits to people’s lives – “saving the planet” will not work, talking about the supply chain is uninspiring, the ‘greenness’ of a product can be more to do with how it is packaged than how it was grown
  • Campaign will focus on benefits, avoid preaching, avoid doom and gloom
  • By using “layered messages” – organic is a choice worth paying for
  • Messages will be natural food / fewer pesticides, respect and care for animal welfare / fewer antibiotics + natural feed, good fir wildlife / sustainable farming, fantastically tasty food

Huw Bowles, (Organic Trade Board)

  • In 2009 sales of organic food increased in France, Italy and Germany – UK out of step
  • Organic products are cheaper than non-organic branded produycts eg bread, butter, cornflakes, jam, coffee, gin, cordials
  • “Save money – buy organic”

Alain Guilpan (Tesco – Head of Business Unit, Fruit and Veg)

  • Tesco organic own-label currently worth £368m (produce 39%, dairy 22%, meat fish + poultry 12%)
  • British organic produce accounts for 41% of total organic sales
  • Organic customers spend 2.7 times more per visit than non-organic customers
  • 47,000 loyal organic customers who spend more than £5 on organic food per week, accounting for 48% of spend on organic fresh food
  • Why do Tesco customers say they buy organic (October 2009)? It tastes better, less bad stuff/more good stuff (nutrition), romance – next best thing to growing it yourself/buying from farm shop, pesticide free
  • Challenges – sales of organic produce 7% down year-on-year, no consistent position on organic price premium confuses consumers (0% – 250%), customers unclear of organic benefits, not the ‘in thing’ any more, negative FSA feedback, other things more interesting (natural, authentic)
  • Future – dedicated organic produce team at Tesco, address consumer concerns, clear message of organic as a pillar brand, clear price hierarchy for customers, year round availability, long-term commitment to invest in sector

Ed Garner, Kantar

  • Stop using the word organic – no-one understands it (use in supporting role only)
  • Key brands such as Rachel’s have either done so or are doing so (Yeo Valley)
  • Other successful organic brands use the word but all their packaging and marketing cues are about quality eg Green & Black’s

NB More here at