Thursday, 19 May 2011

Keeping it local

It was at IFE2011 that I first heard the phrase “local is the new organic.” And isn’t it funny how once you’re made aware of something, it seems to follow you around?

I must declare here that I’m not exactly target market for organic products. According to research, the typical organic buyer is concerned about food safety (either their own or that of their family), aware about health and fitness (they exercise, look out for healthy foods), concerned about the environment (they recycle, worry about animal welfare) but they are ready to pay more for convenience (internet shopping, home delivery). I can comfortably tick one of those boxes, two at a push. But even I get the sense the appeal of organic produce is fading.

A report published by the Soil Association this month says sales of organic products fell by 5.9% to £1.73billiion in 2010. Not a huge decline, but perhaps a sign of things to come? Maybe it’s because people have less money to spend on organic produce, but more and more brands seem to pushing messages of provenance and homegrown above organic values.

Even our own client, craft brewer Freedom Brewery, seems to have the same view. Freedom’s range of four hand-crafted lagers includes Freedom Organic and Freedom Organic Dark, both approved by the Soil Association. But despite this it’s the English provenance of their drinks which holds most resonance with customers.

I’m by no means saying that organic is a fad which will be left in the naughties with the likes of Big Brother and the Crazy Frog but if the current trends continue, is there a future for organic produce? I’m here to be proven wrong.


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