Focused message on organics needed to convince consumers says new research
New research for Organic Food & Drink, a new Market Assessment from market intelligence provider Key Note reveals that there are two key challenges facing the successful promotion of organic food and drink to a wider audience.
These are, firstly, consumers' doubts about the genuine organic nature of products; and secondly, confusion over the prime benefits of selecting the organic options, which are generally more expensive than non-organic ones.
Messages in favour of purchasing organic versions range from health, taste, quality and nutrition to the environment, animal welfare and sustainability. Key Note argues that there is a declared need to focus on one or two attributes only, in order to simplify choice for existing and potential customers. Encouragingly, almost half (47.7%) of all respondents to Key Note's survey agreed that they would buy more organic produce if they were more convinced that it was healthier, or that organic farming was better for the environment. However, 30.3% of all respondents agreed that they were confused about the most important benefits of organic food and drink, and 26% said that they had become less convinced about their benefits during the past 12 months. This illustrates a need for organic producers and retailers to convey a focused message.
The recession, which has significantly affected consumer spending in the high street since mid-2008, resulted in marginal growth of just 0.3% by value in the organic food and drink market in 2008, and an increase of only 1.1% in 2009. Only 10.3% of all respondents agreed that they were regular purchasers of organic foods or drinks (buying them at least once a month). There is a high level of non-purchasing of these products, with 60.5% of respondents seldom or never purchasing organic foods or drinks.
The difficult economic situation appears to have threatened the market further, with 19.6% of all respondents agreeing that they had noticed shops stocking fewer organic products since the credit crunch. There was attrition among those consumers who were regular or occasional purchasers - 34.2% of these agreed that they had bought less organic produce since the start of the economic downturn.
After an average annual growth rate of around 25% for organic food and drink, growth amounted to only 1.1% in 2009, according to Key Note estimates. Consequently, future growth predictions have been reduced substantially, although the benefits that organic products are claimed to offer are expected to support increasing growth again over the next 5 years (to 2014). Key Note's research indicates, however, that these benefits need to be communicated in a resolute and direct message in order to persuade consumers of their authenticity. 30.8% of all respondents to the survey agreed that they would like more information in promotions for organic products.
Source: Key Note
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