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Dairy firm drops ‘organic’ from name

Date Published: 22/04/2009

Slightly strange one this. Dairy company Rachel’s Organic has announced it is dropping the ‘organic’ from its labels.

It has been suggested that a reason for doing this might be because some people associate ‘organic’ with ‘expensive’, though Rachel’s have been at pains to say that’s not why it has made the move and we have no cause to dispute that.

If this makes a difference to Rachel’s, then that’s good. But in some ways it seems a negative move to shy away from labeling as organic. It isn’t more expensive, though organic food often costs more. There’s a big difference there, in that organic food represents the real cost of food production, without the costs of cleaning up water courses and depleting natural resources.

Having the word organic on your labels or not doesn’t change your price point. If shoppers are looking for cheaper, they will find it regardless, having turned away from a brand they consider expensive, but without pausing to consider that they are moving away from supporting organic farming (whether their reasons for buying in the first place are selfish or altruistic).

The playing field is always going to shift over time, but right now the organic sector is working to clarify its messages. Having long-standing brands softening those messages won’t help.

Everyone not in organic seems hell-bent on talking it down at the moment (just see the list of related negative articles on the Telegraph page), but really, it’s not that bad. Yes, there are people in certain sectors who are struggling, but the overall picture is positive.

We’ve said that very publicly and we’ll keep saying it, because it’s true.