Organic September Results

07 November 2012

The aim of our month-long promotion was to boost the market for organic products. And we achieved that, with a healthy 7.7% increase in sales over the previous month, thanks to a variety of promotions by retailers, producers and wholesalers all around the country who got behind Organic September in varied (and imaginative!) ways.

The month kicked off with the annual Soil Association Organic Food Awards providing excellent news coverage: a double-page spread in national Metro newspapers included voucher promotions for Planet Organic, Riverford, and Whitmuir Organics in the Scottish edition. Redemptions were modest but the companies enjoyed the high profile of the extra press attention.

The "Organic, Naturally Different Campaign" led by the Organic Trade Board had its second burst of poster advertising at 65 underground stations across London to coincide with the focus for the month.

At the supermarkets we saw money off brands at Ocado, promotions across the complete Duchy range and the produce range at Tesco, and a variety of till receipt offers at Sainsbury’s, plus web ads placed strategically on their online shopping site to interrupt shoppers and encourage organic choices while they were making their routine purchases. Sainsbury's also reported positive feedback on the organic food served in their colleague restaurants.

Beyond the multiples, Charlie Booth of Infinity Foods in Brighton, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesalers and retailers, reported a "significant increase" in year on year sales for this September - and without any special offers or price promotions: "We’ve been delighted with sales so far."

Recently-sold Abel & Cole group continued to enjoy significant growth in September 2012, and Planet Organic also maintained their "double-digit growth" with stronger than anticipated sales in fresh produce and the successful launch of their first exclusive coffee blend.

Brands used the opportunity to focus on promotions and raise the profile of new and re-launched products. For the Crazy Jack brand, owned by Community Foods, sales rocketed by 30% with new organic listings on Amazon which gave unprecedented attention to organics and the Soil Association.

Press coverage generated by promotional activities over the month reached some 47m readers (a 9-fold increase over the preceding month) with an estimated value of over a million pounds. Coverage included 14 national press features, 33 pieces in key UK regionals, 82 trade, magazine and overseas features as well as influential internet and broadcast coverage.

The Soil Association’s own website was used effectively to drive consumer support, with almost 700 people signing up to a "pledge" to buy more organic during the month and almost 500 people taking part in a shopping availability survey which will be used to highlight to retailers where the gaps exist, with the aim of making organic products more widely available to consumers.

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