Posted At: April 20, 2011 1:46 PM
by Christine Kapurch
Recent disasters from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the nuclear crisis in Japan show the damage humans are capable of committing to the environment. These calamities remind the public to focus more on being environmentally conscious. The easiest way to do this begins with the way we nourish our bodies.
Throughout the country, more and more organic brands are popping up in local grocery stores. As the numbers for organic sales continue to rise, the need to further promote these brands continues. Several public relations firms dedicate their practice solely to the advancement of green initiatives and organic foods. These firms perform a hands-on approach and remain very exclusive to the products they promote.
So what is it that constitutes something as organic? Don’t let the labels fool you — in order for a product to be legitimate the package must include the organic USDAcertifying agent. The USDA enacted the Organic Rule in 2002, which set a list of national regulations for organic food products:
100% Organic — the product must contain only organically produced material
Organic — the product must contain at least 95 percent of organically produced ingredients
Made with Organic Ingredients — the product must contain at least 70 percent of organic ingredients
These agencies and their campaigns are unique in that educating the public is what motivates them.
Jen Marshall, senior account executive of Fresh Ideas Group, said, “The end product is to educate the client. We focus on being real, and we can’t pitch something if we don’t 100 percent believe in it.”
The focus on education is what allows consumers to continue purchasing these brands. The more aware they are of the benefits of green initiatives the more likely they are to continue to purchase them.
Timothy M. Bayley, CNC, BS, MS, president and CEO of Bayley’s Organics, MedWrite International and MW Institute, said, “The current consistent supply of organics has been in response to the growing demand by consumers. The gap between the cost of organics and traditional food is narrowing and this will be one of the biggest drivers to attracting new consumers.”
Grocery stores like Whole Foods that focus on healthier choices make organic options more readily available. The company’s website posts numerous recipes along with tips for “going green.” Its marketing strategy is to appeal to all consumers from the bachelor to the soccer mom and to educate them on the green lifestyle.
Bayley said, “Retailers can further leverage and deepen their relationship with shoppers through programs ranging from Wii Fit exhibitions on site to light cooking demonstrations and product tasting.
This constant theme of education allows for consumers to make informed decisions and take responsibility in their own way.
Tom Pirovano, the director of Industry Insights, said, “Consumers in the U.S. might be trimming the fat from their budgets and diets, but contrary to predictions, they continue to demonstrate a healthy appetite for foods featuring health and wellness claims” (as cited by Bayley during his Platform interview).
Communications companies, such as Fig and MedWrite International, work to keep organics mainstream and approachable for consumers.
Marshall said, “Their audience ranges from the media to consumers to retailers . . . it’s important to relay the message in a approachable manner.”
The constant health-related stories in the news have also impacted this interest in organics. This focus comes as an advantage to further promoting green initiatives. Consumers can read about the importance of this movement every day. It is then the job of PR companies to further endorse these brands and educate the consumers on their numerous options.
Bayley said, “With no shortage of news stories on child obesity, families will continue to seek out brands and retailers offering health alternatives.”
The longevity of these products relies on the continued support and education from PR firms. The interactive marketing techniques, as mentioned by Bayley, allow for consumers to ease into the transition of organic purchases by taking a test drive first. Companies like Whole Foods offer plenty of sample stations within their stores along with easy-to-follow recipes. This hands-on approach is what sets organic food campaigns apart and has aided in the recent influx of sales. It takes the confusion out of organic foods and makes the products more approachable.
USDA Organic logo from www.USDA.gov