To start with I am mainly a bio food buyer. Since I remember myself we always had an honest food at home. Tomatoes that smell like tomatoes. Cucumbers that is fresh and juicy. We also had a garden so I know how to take a good care of these plants. And so on. Of course, during a student years there were times when I paid less attention to food but always could recognise a real stuff from speedy imitations. Now life in a city occasionally is an obstacle for an easy access to authentic products.
In a nutshell: fresh, honest and real food is absolutely vital.
A business numbers show that people have realised the importance of eating well and bio-farming products are one of the fastest growing categories. I am sure that food lovers have seen a documentary Food Inc and read Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. As businesses want to capitalize on the idyllic picture of organic farming massive challenges are ahead to keep up with good intentions.
Industry has grown, so does the communication – from packaging to point of sales materials and to advocacy of neighbourhood organic farmers’ markets in life-style magazines. We are invited to rediscover basics and enjoy a community feeling and a pleasure of personal communication. Personally, on certain occasions I have found a personal communication and “back to origins” approach is so inefficient and is on the edge of annoyance. For example, the farmer I am buying most of my weekly food for last 4 years (with small intervals) only this year started to use an electrical scale. Also, a calculator is a new introduction. Previously everything was summed up by mind using a pencil and a piece of paper. I am not suggesting he has to turn his enterprise into a supermarket. Just there are few more efficiency opportunities to move from “back to basics” to “lovely and smooth” experience. All in all I truly believe community and farmers markets are valuable. They celebrate many things that make future optimistic.
Meantime, the communication of organic products (in different categories: from food to cosmetics) is getting very homogenous. Sure, it’s about honest product. Sure, it’s about authenticity. But look, everything is pretty much the same. It’s balanced. Colour coding is predictable. Tone of voice is almost identical. I suggest there is very little differentiation.
The thing is that most brands (of different categories, that also includes markets) talk to pretty much the same people. First, the ones who are already well aware organic products and have their buy-in. Second, brands assume organic means mature, balanced and tranquil mindset and that this is a full stop and nothing beyond.
The good news are that gradual change is on the way that hopefully will move the industry. While ago on Twitter I can a cross British farm named Yeo Valley Organic (@yeovalley). First, I found their tweets are surprisingly thoughtfully decent that is rare for corporate accounts. Secondly, the brand made a fantastic appearance by premiering their new TV ad on Saturday 9th October 2010. By now it is already well spread across social networks.
I am thrilled of this work. It is amazing – they keep the soul of organic farming, the beauty of countryside but give a new twist and appeal. It is definitely differentiating. It breaks a status quo of category rules. It not only turns farm products hip and urban but also celebrates the work of farm people behind products. Furthermore, it is a big step forward to make good organic food tasty in the group that is attached to sugar sodas and fatty burgers.
A new dimension of bio-farming marketing is not only about differentiating a particular farm or brand. It is much bigger. It is about making world healthier and happier. It is also about solving issues that Jamie Oliver brought up by winning his TED prize. It is also about Michele Obama’s cause “Let’s move”. Well, it’s big. It is a call for a true partnership among farmers, educators, speakers, rap artists, food lovers, businesses and many more.