This is a bit of sequel to the blog I wrote earlier called “I’ve discovered Organic Gold!” If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend you read it before going any further. It elaborates on WHY the organic label is the gold standard of labels and food. In this piece, I want to address the HOW. We’ve done an adequate job (despite ourselves) of growing the organic category, but we are still only 4.2% of the food dollars and 2% of agriculture in the US. After 25 years, only a 4.2% market share, that’s worse than the Congressional rating! It leads me to ask. How can we move forward to create more organic gold?
First I reference New Hope Medias’ “Get inside the heads of a few happy-go-lucky shoppers,” which narrows in on consumers who choose their food because it’s delicious and nutritious. These consumers represent a growing faction that prioritizes taste and living life to the fullest. The study found this consumer segment, which is relatively healthy, is satisfied with current brand choices and avoids natural and organic foods because of taste perceptions! Now wait a minute. Who got the idea organic isn’t delicious? How do we better tell our delicious story? I think we need a better narrative for organic.
Over the past 25 years, we have been focused on getting it right and keeping it that way. We have been telling the same story about regulations and materials, sometimes arguing histrionically with each other over the details. Our organic message can seem a bit, above-it-all, mostly humorless, sometimes elitist and delivered with the tone of a stern dietitian. Some people in my Midwest family grumble they can’t afford organic foods and they feel its highbrow of me to suggest the majority of people eat organic. Besides isn’t there always an organic scandal afoot? The perception is that organic is more of a political movement than a food choice. How good does politics really taste? They just can’t understand how eating that organic carrot is going to help the rivers or the soil… or make them happy. They bombast me with, “I don’t live in a commune in Santa Cruz. I don’t wear tie-dye. I can’t spell Birkenstock and I don’t eat granola!”
I believe the organic industry needs to let go of the technical messages about all things we don’t do. We don’t pollute rivers, we don’t allow irradiation and we don’t use sewage sludge… Eww, now that’s an appetizing message! As one of my commenters, Dennis Weaver, wrote, “Budweiser® doesn’t show you their hops. They just take you to somewhere they know you just WANT to be. Organics INSIST’s on proving up the value of its hops via PowerPoint, and then never ends up taking anyone anywhere.”
It’s time we put some FUN into the organic good food narrative! Organic is food that’s hip, relevant and tasty. Organic food is seductive and that’s hard to ignore. Let’s tell the consumer organic is food is delicious, make them happy and feels cool. That’s what they want! Organic food, after all, is the only true food left for us to thrive on. Let’s tell people how delicious, affordable and sexy organic food is.
As my friend Dennis said, “Organics should just let shoppers be happy BUYERS. No strings attached. Don’t involve them in politics or the issue of the moment. Just ask them to SPEND their money on OUR Organic Good Food for their own GOOD HEALTH & HAPPINESS … and nothing else. Just let them ENJOY their Organic Good Food Choices.
How will you join in re-telling our story?