ment. She has also owned and operated an organic herbal product business.
Now the two are working together to bring the organic message to the
masses. Bushway and Batcha took some time to chat with Organic Processing
about their marketing strategy and more.
OP: You mentioned that there is a lot of confusion among consumers today about
organic and that the role of this campaign is to set the record straight and help
consumers make the educated choice. What specific things do you plan to address?
Bushway: Well, there’s an upside and a downside to the confusion. We wouldn’t
have consumer confusion if we didn’t have so much interest in organic. Two-thirds of American consumers buy organic products at least occasionally and
“The biggest message I can pass on is that you
absolutely must educate the consum”er.”
they are demanding more from their product choices. We have a much more
educated consumer who really wants information and we in the organic industry need to provide it.
The fact is that there are still many consumers who don’t know what “
organic” really means. In the 2008 Hartman Group study, The Many Faces of Organic, consumers were asked: “When selecting foods and beverages to purchase,
how important are the following labels and phrases to you?” In the ranking,
USDA Organic comes in ninth in terms of importance, but six out of the eight
attributes that were ranked higher—such as no hormones, no harmful pesticides, processed naturally and no synthetic fertilizers—are all part of the foundation of the organic regulation. Clearly, there is still much more education
that needs to be done.
Another message consumers need to hear more about is the integrity of the
organic standards. We need to make sure that the consumer understands the
standards and how they’re applied in the production of the food. Organic is
the most regulated food supply out there. These regulations ensure the integrity of our products and consumers need to be aware of this.
at that point in time, the product had
been really battered in the media and
consumption had been consistently
dropping. It was a basic commodity
and producers felt the demand would
always be there, but then the cholesterol issue raised its head. For a long
time, there was a very simple—but decidedly flawed—preception that if you
simply eliminated eggs from your diet,
you eliminated heart disease.
So the industry had to fund research and educate the consumer
about its findings. And over time, just
as organic is evolving, the message
evolved, the consumer became more
educated and the message was fundamentally cleared up. The biggest impact for coronary artery disease was
saturated fat in the diet, not cholesterol from eggs. We even saw the
American Heart Association come
around on that. Now you have an egg
industry where consumption has been
rising and people have a much better
understanding. This fits very nicely
with organic because as the consumer
becomes better educated and understands the benefits of organic products, they will be a better consumer.
OP: You’ve said this is going to be a fully
integrated advertising and marketing
campaign. Can you tell us about what this
Batcha: As Christine said, the primary purpose of this campaign is to address
the question, “What is organic?” What does it mean and why can I trust it? So
it’s about building consumer confidence in organic products. That’s the primary communication objective, and then we have secondary objectives that
focus on the environmental benefits of organic. Specifically, we’re focusing on
communicating those environmental benefits in a way that is compelling on a
personal level, so that our communication isn’t academic in nature or too theoretical, but instead is motivating to the individual.
OP: Christine, you were key in the Incredible, Edible Egg campaign which helped repo-
sition eggs as part of a healthy diet. Are there lessons that you learned during that cam-
paign that you can use to help make this campaign successful?
Bushway: The biggest message I can pass on is that you absolutely must educate
the consumer. I was brought on at the very beginning of the egg campaign and
Batcha: We have multiple components
of the campaign. Consistent across all
the components would be the communication objectives—focusing on the
meaning of organic, why consumers
can trust it and making the benefits
compelling to each individual. We’ll
have a focused consumer public relations and advertising campaign
around these objectives. We also have
cooperatively branded marketing programs. As an extension of our “Go Organic for Earth Day” retail campaign
in the spring, we’ll be launching a fall