Demand for Organic food is falling

I was at a Heart of England Fine Foods event last night about product pricing – more interesting than it sounds. The discussion turned to the plight of the organic brand in the downturn.




Most of the market research shows that people are eating out less and buying quality food to cook and eat/entertain at home. HEFF have some great research on this sort of thing.

These market conditions ought to be helping organic but seem not to be. The demand for local and artisan produce is still rising despite the recession.

Could the problem be the umbrella market placement of the “Organic” brand? Organic food now covers everything from well produced commodities to high-end artisan food. However, it is not specific to any one point in the market. So if Mrs. Blogs is buying a roast chicken for the family suddenly organic is too expensive but if its a rib of beef for the dinner party then organic on its own is not enough of a story. It’s the same with the RSPCA freedom foods now. I recently read about a pig farmer with a great welfare friendly system rearing 16,000 porkers a year. Great production system but it’s hardly artisan food.

As I blogged here it comes down the the amount of choice people have about quality local food. The Internet is bringing down the barriers to finding that choice and now the local farmer with the rare breed beef has more credibility than any label.

Ultimately it will be the quality that drives the sale not the sticker on package.



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