Sales of organic food are not falling. Let's just say growth is slowing.
The distinction is critical to organic food supporters, who have witnessed skyrocketing category growth wither in the onslaught of the recession. Sales of UPC-coded, branded organic products grew by roughly 14% last year, down from their all-time high of 22% in 2006, according to research firm Mintel — and the outlook for 2009 indicates a further drop, as the poor economy causes shoppers to re-examine purchases of higher-priced speciality products.
To offset the declines, manufacturers, advocacy groups and the Organic Trade Association itself are launching a variety of retail and consumer promotions that minimize the price difference, and instead highlight the environmental and community values embodied by the organic lifestyle.
“OTA's massive new marketing campaign will heighten awareness, enthusiasm and active support for organic products, and will help ensure that organic sales continue to grow,” said Laura Batcha, the trade group's marketing director.
Organic Valley, LaFarge, Wis., is set to introduce the “Organic Rising” campaign this month with coupons and other purchase incentives for breakfast-related foods. (The family farm cooperative operates a social networking website devoted to the initiative, at www.OrganicRising.com.) Additionally, the research-oriented Organic Center has been hosting a series of public awareness events in major cities.