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Can organics get its act together?

Date Published: 21/07/2009

If you’ve read further back in this blog you’ll have seen us being very pleased about the success of our Organic Cereals 2009 event this month.

The key to that success was delivering a focused agenda that dealt with the honest practicalities of venturing into organic arable. People came to find out facts and informed opinion and we were determined that’s what they would leave with. And they did.

OF&G CEO Richard Jacobs with Annette Bertram (left) and Alison Lidbetter
OF&G CEO, Richard Jacobs, with Annette Bertram (left) and Alison Lidbetter of Organic Conferences Ltd.

So now we’re shifting that focused approach across to the act of selling, and communicating about, organic food. We’ve announced our involvement in a new one-day conference titled ‘Selling Organics: What’s the Story?’.

OF&G has teamed-up with Organic Conferences Ltd to pull together key people in the organic sector who will share their knowledge and insight of what it takes to create and promote an organic brand. But it’s not just about individual brand marketing. Our speakers will be taking a close look at what the organic sector needs to do to explain itself to its consumers.

The message has come across loud and clear in recent months that promoting the clear benefits of organic food is not something the sector has done well. Even Sainsburys boss, Justin King, has felt moved to comment on this. Initiatives are beginning to emerge to try and address the problem, but it’s going to take a change in thinking and approach from everyone to help shoppers realise why they should buy organic food. It seems that, at the moment, many are confused about why they would buy organic, or do so for perhaps one headline reason that may be personal to them.

Some will buy free-range eggs because they think that’s better for chickens than organic, without knowing that free-ranging is a core and essential part of the organic regulation. It is this kind of misconception we need to address.

So, on October 8, at London’s Southbank University, we will be joined by no less than: Craig Sams, founder of Green & Blacks;  Steve Clarke, marketing director at Rachel’s; Dom Lane, associate director of Bray Leino PR, which is working on a number of promotional projects around organics; Lawrence Woodward, director of Organic Research Centre – Elm Farm; plus fascinating academic research into branding and consumer perception presented by Professor Andrew Fearne and Dr Matt Reed.

It’s going to be an excellent day and the places are strictly limited to around 200, with bookings already being taken. If you’d like to come along please visit the Organic Conferences website to find out more and secure your place. There are also comments from our CEO here. It’s going to be a fascinating day.