Reasons to love the Organic Trade Board

Have you seen  Eddie the painter and decorator talk about why he loves organic?

Launched in January, ads are running on the back page of women’s magazines including Heat, OK!, Hello!, Waitrose Food Illustrated and Tesco magazine, to get the message across: organic is for everybody.

It’s all the brainchild of the Organic Trade Board.

Catherine Fookes, campaign manager of the food and farming charity, Sustain and the Organic Trade Board, kicked off the session at the Soil Association conference, explaining the genesis of the campaign.

Worth £2 million over two years – £1m from organic companies and match-funded by European Union (EU) – the campaign aims to drive sales 15% year-on-year over three years.

Germany, France and Italy have had 24 of these kind of EU match-funded campaigns in total. This is the UK’s first.

First met in 2008, Sustain put the EU bid together with major pledges from nine companies including Rachel’s Organics, Alara, Green & Black’s, Yeo Valley, Organix, Rasanco and Community Foods.

Once the bid was successful, the tender was put out to advertising agencies. Haygarth won the brief. Its CEO, Sophie Daranyi, explains the job was two-fold:

1) Protect and retain the 8% who make up the 55% spend

2) And reach out to the 79% who spend 24%

Sophie Daranyi says: There is a disconnect between people who care about animal welfare, biodiversity and health – yet organics is at the bottom of their list.

What struck us: there are lots of reasons to buy organic.

Advertising campaigns are notoriously expensive, so this joint one makes it very accessible, says Paul Moore of Community Foods, one of the founder pledge companies.

“I don’t have a large budget to advertise. I can’t afford to go into Hello!

But the Organic Trade Board makes it possible. Let’s make the most of it, urges Paul Moore.

“You don’t often get the opportunity to join in these campaigns – it is now up to us as brand owners, retailers etc to do the bit we can to magnify this message.

“I don’t see our market is in decline. Our industry ticks all the boxes on all fronts. All we have to focus on is how to expand the market.”

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Haygarth has done the work. It’s so well-coordinated – it’s a dream.

Eddie does not distract from the Crazy Jack / Community Farm branding, says Paul Moore.

His message: Put aside partisan problems. Don’t worry about working with your competitors. We will all gain.

Organic beauty companies have pledged to this campaign even though this is about organic food and drink – because this campaign will raise awareness about the benefits of organic generally.

All the messages have been approved by the Advertising Standards Agency who can jump on organic’s claims (but not the ones made by junk food companies fume fume).

What I like to about this campaign is the messages are clear and easy-to-understand.

What do you think?

5 responses to “Reasons to love the Organic Trade Board

  1. I try to buy organic food and support it fully – it’s how food ‘should’ be, but I’m sure I once read that Britain wouldn’t be able to sustain us all if the whole nation were to buy organic. There’s not enough farmland or space.

    I may be over-simplifying the argument, and yes, let’s carry on promoting ‘Organic’ but I wonder what would happen if the campaign was too successful?

    Anyone more of an expert than me care to comment?


  2. There is enough agricultural land in the world for every person to have 2 acres. That’s more than enough isn’t it?


  3. That is a lovely stat, Sophie.

    Sounds enough to me.


  4. I helped setup a UK directory of Real Food businesses in which we have many organic producers!
    We are at present adding Real Food businesses to our guide for free, we might charge a small annual fee at some time in the future but for now it is completely free and of course people can opt out at any time.
    We ask Real Food businesses to write a bit about themselves and upload a few photos so that we can build a page on our site that promotes that business and enables people to discover them.
    Pleae help us to promote this site by checking it out yourself and also passing on the word to your friends:


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