The Soil Association, the body which certifies organic food and produce in the UK, is launching what it describes as “the biggest UK-wide celebration of all things organic, bringing together organic producers, processors, businesses and retailers”.
Through a high-impact marketing, press and social media campaign, “Organic September” aims to encourage consumers to choose organic products as part of their regular shopping mix.
The organic market is in strong growth, up 4% to £1.86bn in 2014 [Soil Association Organic report, Jan 2015]. The Association says this is is significant whilst food prices and food spending remain low; in the 52 weeks to 23rd May, organic sales grew by +2.9% versus non organic at -1.4% according to data from Nielsen. Within this certain sectors led the way; eggs grew +13.5%, poultry by +12.3%, fruit at +11.1%, tea, + 16.7% and cereals at +6.7%.
Overall, the strongest market growth was through online shopping and box schemes (11.7%) and independent retailers (5.7%).
Clare McDermott, business development director at the Soil Association, said: “Organic September is making a real difference to organic sales and it’s great that all the organic industry comes together to support this. Last year we saw an uplift in organic sales of 4% in just September. This year, with a brand new design, exciting logo and interactive digital campaign, Organic September will be even more successful making sure buying and using organic is front of mind for consumers and we are targeting a sales increase of 6% based on data from Nielsen from 2014. We want to make sure all organic food and farming are featured and have built in a weekly category focus to encourage consumers to make a small change, so that it’s easier for them to use and choose organic products each day.”
To spread the message the Soil Association is providing free Organic September marketing materials, logos to use on products alongside a whole pack of support and advice for independent retailers on selling organic.
An interactive “Organic30″ list throughout the month will encourage consumers to “Organic their September” by making small changes. An easy to follow calendar will be available from the Soil Association website to keep track of each small change.
All areas of the industry can engage and the Soil Association is tying everything together with new digital hub, for communication between consumers, retailers and producers to help share real stories about how organic can make a difference.
Mike Kilcourse, commercial director at specialist wholesaler Tree of Life, said: “Interest in organic foods has been growing steadily in 2015. Sentiment among our retail customers is positive. Last year marketing and promotional activities in all sectors helped grow sales above the yearly average. The Soil Association’s campaigns, especially the month long promotion, go a long way to help raise awareness. That coupled with new products and innovations from brands means we’re supplying customers with greater choice and helping supply meet consumer demand.”
For more information about Organic September visit: http://www.soilassociation.org/organicseptember