Organic Trade Board unveils its €10 million plan for sector regrowth


The Organic Trade Board (OTB) has announced a three-year plan to expand the organic industry after securing over €10m in EU funding in January.

At the OTB’s 1 March event, the first since winning €10.4m funding from the EU Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), talks were given on a range of organic issues including lessons from Danish experts on the growth of their own industry and on the successes and failures of the OTB’s 2016 campaign.

OTB chief executive Paul Moore announced new targets with the funding, which took over six years to obtain.

The group, which represent 70% of the British organic trade sector, said it aims to grow organic’s share of the market by 1% before the end of 2017, and then by a further 1% every year for as long as possible.

Currently organic makes up only 1.4% of the British food industry, whilst Denmark’s organic sector now accounts for 10% of its own.

Speaking to FoodNavigator, Moore said:

“The strap of the new campaign is ‘Organic: feed your happy’ and the idea of this is to bring new consumers into the market. What we are seeing is a growing consumer base for organic which is increasingly younger – we’ve seen that 65% of all new consumers coming into the market have come in since the recession and many of them are in their 20s or people with young families. There are three issues to availability – physical availability – what is on the shelf; visible availability – where to find it, and thirdly mental availability – there’s a feeling that organic ‘isn’t for you’ and we want to redress that. Instead of an accusatory, finger wagging method we want to make organic products normal healthy food.

“We’re hoping to engage with high street retailers and work with them on in store visibility and availability, and to work with local bloggers and celebrity chefs around the country to bring organic back into the public eye.”

Moore added that a number of initiatives and campaigns were being considered and would be unveiled throughout the year at a minimum of four regional events, each detailing what the OTB would be doing in that particular region.

“France would be our nearest target – their consumption pattern is twice what ours is” added Moore. Currently French consumers average €62.20 per capita for organic products whereas British average only €30.33.

The award funds were intended to help regrow Britain’s sector, which underwent a serious downturn during the 2008 financial crisis, with sales of organic foods falling by up to 22.7%. In Denmark however, the sector grew by 18% in the second half of 2016 alone and currently accounts for 10% of the country’s food sales.

OTB, which will receive 70% of the funds, will work together with Organic Denmark to learn from the success in Denmark and help effectively boost marketing of organic products in both countries.

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