Industry News | November 17, 2008

Organic Leader to Set the Record Straight

In hopes of setting the record straight about organic products, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is launching an aggressive marketing campaign to educate consumers and correct industry inaccuracies.

The campaign will include a new advertising campaign, an improved consumer Web site and e-newsletter, and a new blog covering organic dining trends on college campuses.

In a statement released by the company, OTA executive director Christine Bushway says the organization has seen a rise in consumer confusion and concern surrounding organic products in recent years. In an effort to continue the success of the $23.6 billion organic industry, the 1,700-member organization is hoping to reach as many as 25 million people in 2009 alone with the new campaign.

While consumer misconceptions about organics are widespread, it’s the price premium that might be the biggest obstacle for the organization. The economy is weighing heavy on consumers’ minds and industry research firms like Mintel and The Hartman Group expect organic growth to slow as a result.

"Across the board, Americans are spending less and 'organic versus traditional' is a decision many people are thinking about carefully," says Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst at Mintel, in a statement.

Barbara Haumann, a spokeswoman for the OTA, says the group’s efforts have nothing to do with recent reports. “For many years the OTA has realized that consumers need to better understand what organic is,” she says. “The targeted marketing campaign has been on our radar screen for about five years, maybe back to 2002.”

--Blair Chancey

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