The organic opportunity

Sales and consumer awareness benefit from Organic September

The Soil Association’s biggest annual celebration of organic, Organic September, reached nearly 30 million people through its digital channels.

Linking up with celebrity chefs, Anna Jones, John Quilter and Tom Hunt, the Soil Association was able to further engage with potential organic customers and share the reasons why more people are buying organic.

Independent retail is driving the organic market – this year the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report showed growth of 7.5% in organic sales through independent channels and it is the first time for a while that the share of organic sales through supermarkets was pushed below 70%.

Digital media is now a huge part of any successful business and should not be overlooked by independents looking to engage with their community and generate more sales.

We want to share our expertise and experience in merchandising, marketing and social media to help more businesses sell more organic,” says Lee Holdstock, SA trade relations manager. "We also want to find out from the retailers what works and how we can support organic sales growth even further."

Soil Association Certification offers an array of supporting materials and advice for independent retailers, all available through the website: bit.ly/IndieSupport

Organic triumph at Archie Browns

The winner of our Wessanen UK Organic September competition was Archie Browns in Cornwall – that means more than £750 of Clipper and Kallo stock is winging its way to the Penzance store.

Here are some of the ways in which the two-branch independent made the most of Organic September:

  • A window display displaying the huge range of organic products
  • PoS set up by organic suppliers, including beauty products
  • An organic beauty week during Organic September
  • Huge signs everywhere and regular reminders to staff to celebrate Organic September
  • Hand-picked local organic veg bag specials for customers
  • Special organic supplement displays by Pukka and Viridian in the supplement room
  • Daily sampling of organic food prepared by the Archie Browns chef
  • Local organic veg farm Slight Hill set up a stall to talk to customers about the benefits of organic as they entered the shop

“Our customers are very discerning and want organic produce,” says manager Caroline Perkins. “Some have even said that going organic has improved their health.”

Runner-up was The Natural Way in Braintree, Essex, where a free organic breakfast every Wednesday during September hit the spot with customers. “Our staff and customers love the idea of eating and drinking together,” says owner Richard Sambridge. “A great opportunity to set the world to rights and discuss how we could all be more organic and healthier.”

Soil Association Marketing Support

TRAINING. Free one-hour training sessions cover what organic is, who the consumer is, how you know it really is organic and outline key organic benefits for the consumer.

VISUAL MERCHANDISING. An organic visual merchandising guide gives clear instructions on displaying products effectively and how to communicate the selling points through displays.

POINT-OF-SALE KITS. Including clearly messaged shelf edge barkers and open/ closed signage, these visually appealing materials clearly communicate the benefits of organic.

ORGANIC INDIE E-NEWS. A bi-monthly update on opportunities, events, further support and key trade issues important to retailers of organic goods.

Read more articles from our latest issue...