Q&A (L-R) Zahid Karim, Kevin Hancock, Finn Cottle, and Clare McDermott (Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification).jpg

The 2017 Organic Trade Briefing

The 2017 Organic Trade Briefing

This week, we hosted our annual Organic Trade Briefing at Rudolph Steiner House, near Regent's Park in London, discussing the "Changing Face of Organic Retailing" in the current trade climate.

Focusing on customer trends driving sustained growth, the 120 attendees heard how the organic market is expected to exceed £2.2 billion in sales by the year end - up by 6.3%. This represents the highest level of yearly growth yet.

Q&A at a conference

Introduced by Clare McDermott, Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification, the event featured an overview of the retail market delivered by SAC’s Finn Cottle, Trade Development Expert; this was followed by a Q&A where members of the audience were invited to ask questions to a panel of experts on subjects ranging from procurement to customer insights.

Ocado, the fastest growing retailer of organic with over 9% share this year, spoke next at the event, with a talk given by Senior Trading Manager, Kevin Hancock: “Organic at Ocado has grown by 16.2 % in the last twelve months, and long may it continue. We strive to help our suppliers to grow with us and to continue to develop products, allowing our customer base to further enjoy their organic lifestyle.”

Dan Rusga, Marketing Director at Yeo Valley - the UK’s largest organic brand - also discussed why being authentic is so important when it comes to selling organic: “Consumer attitudes are changing, with the importance of quality products and traceability now at the forefront of producer, brand and retailer strategies. Organic September is a key time to put our organic stories front and centre; to share who we are with shoppers, bring awareness of organic to consumers and show retailers that they can count on sales as a result. But organic isn’t a badge. Consumers easily see through inauthenticity. Delivering products that continue to meet consumer needs and values, which match our own, gives us a unique opportunity to keep the organic market growing.” 

The final item on the agenda was a panel discussion on the titular point of “The Changing Face of Organic Retailing.” To kick this off, Jessi Baker, CEO and Founder of Provenance, demonstrated how the start up has recently launched its incredible blockchain technology pilot in conjunction with Soil Association Certification - it gives shoppers the ability to scan packets of Eversfield Organics bacon (on sale in selected As Nature Intended stores), to retrieve the product’s complete supply chain journey, reinforcing transparency and visibility in our foods' provenance.

panel discussion

Others on the panel included Dave Lewis from Community Foods, Karen Newby from Alchemy Super Blends, with a final talk delivered by Carsten Holm from DivCom sharing details of their new venture, the GO! Organic Festival due to launch in 2018.

We'd like to extend a massive thank you to our sponsors: 
DivcomWessanen and Fyffes, and to Rudolph Steiner House for hosting the event. Thank you also to everyone who provided delicious organic refreshments: Planet OrganicWogan CoffeeCommunity FoodsEcotricityClipper TeasRebel KitchenClearspring and Juniper Green Gin - as well as great snacks, we were incredibly lucky to have the team at Wogan Coffee providing freshly made coffees throughout the day, followed by an excellent opportunity to network at the drinks reception after the briefing.