The inaugural Inside Organic Summit was hosted virtually on August 23 and featured industry experts that spoke on what’s working in the world of organic and how education can reduce consumer confusion about the organic supply chain.
The organic industry is surpassing $63 billion in sales and continues to grow. As transparency about products becomes more important to consumers, the integrity of organic messaging will continue to resonate with consumer values. Social media is taking precedence as a primary outlet for advertising to the shifting demographics of consumers. During the summit, a few noteworthy companies shared what they are doing for the organic movement.
Brands showcasing how organic plays a positive role in regulating food systems
Several speakers spoke during this summit to share information and encourage awareness around what is shaping the organic marketplace. Some companies included Theo Chocolate, Teatulia, Charlotte’s Web, Farmer Focus and organic ingredient supplier Ciranda, as well as a few natural product retailers, Thrive Market and Whole Foods Market.
Natural product industry experts included: Stephanie Jerger, vice president of the Organic Trade Association and the founder of OTA’s Jedi Council and initiatives, Matt Dillion, chief sustainability officer of Farmer Focus and Angie Jagiello, director of education and insights for the Organic Trade Association.
Here are some interesting takeaways from the forum, from observing presenters:
- Organic is continuously paired with other certifications such as fair trade, which has become a baseline standard alongside other certifications for many brands.
- Some of the top web searched categories for organic include baby food and plant-based water, such as coconut water.
- There is a growing need for more specific communications to consumers about product transparency in the manufacturing and sourcing process.
- How healthy soil fosters resilience for the food system by creating stable food security, purified water quality, biodiversity, antibiotic and product discovery and increased carbon in the soil for climate change mitigation.
- Organic Voices is setting an example for awareness around organic with its social media campaign involving content called “World’s Most Skippable Ad” that urged consumers to skip the chemicals and go with organic.
Other content featured during the Inside Organic Summit included information about trends in organic sales presented by NielsenIQ, SPINS and the Organic Trade Association.
NielsenIQ highlighted the fact that more and more consumers are willing to pay for organic products that are premium, sustainable and socially responsible with supply chain transparency.
Other observations showed how consumers are pursuing clean-label food and beauty products without artificial colors or flavors. Furthermore, there is a substantial shift towards supporting nutritious food.
Additionally, SPINS shared additional shopping data points regarding natural and organic trends and how inflation has impacted consumer shopping habits.
Lastly, consumers are more interested in purchasing organic, private label brands. Americans are interested in improving security by reducing spending, exploring different retailers and purchasing products on sale.
For its part, The Organic Trade Association shared valuable information about organic standards, including a resource guide called the Organic Wheel of Sustainability. The organization also gave J.E.D.I. updates, which included an announcement of its diversity toolkit, a resource library that will be available in the fall of 2022 and will include speakers, contractors, influencers, coalition partners and digital and print media. Here are some other takeaways from the OTA:
- There are common goals and differences between organic and regenerative, with organic involving a whole system approach for farming and food production to ensure that certified products are grown, processed and handled according to rigorous environmental, health and animal welfare standards.
- The need for consumer awareness around USDA Organic with its value as the only environmental label in the United States that legally requires third-party certification from farm to finished product.
- The ways that organic practices encourage biodiversity, improve soil health and protect natural resources.
- How organic agriculture protects families and farmers because it significantly lowers the environmental and dietary exposure to toxic pesticides.
Overall, the Inside Organic Summit provided detail about the growing interest in organic and its positive impact on all types of grocery stores, both conventional and natural. Organic practices are critical to creating products from a transparent and sustainable supply chain. Every consumer choosing to purchase organic has the potential to help contribute to the betterment of the people, the planet and business.