Organic holidays for egg farmers wont confuse shoppers, says Soil Association

Jamie%20OliverOrganic certification body The Soil Association has denied it risks confusing consumers if proposals to allow egg producers to take an “organic holiday” in the face of falling sales go ahead.

It is attempting to hammer out a deal with members that would allow recession-hit egg farmers to temporarily opt out of organic egg supply to cope with consumers trading down to free-range non-organic ranges, and rising organic chicken feed prices.

The move follows claims that year-on-year sales of organic eggs have fallen by between 13% and 18%, while the cost of organic feed is almost double that of non-organic.

Under the proposals, on which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have been approached, farmers could remove eggs’ organic status, while other produce from their farms would remain organic. The status could be reintroduced quickly if sales begin to rise again.

It is understood that sales of other ethical food products have not been as badly affected. The RSPCA claims that sales of its Freedom Food accredited range, which guarantees minimum animal welfare standards, are soaring after a sustained spotlight on meat production by celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver (pictured) and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.

According to the charity, the major supermarket chains have boosted their supplies of Freedom Food-accredited pork ahead of Channel 4’s screening of Jamie Oliver’s pig welfare exposÈ Jamie Saves Our Bacon on Thursday (January 29).

Oliver and the RSPCA, which is currently running a “Rooting for Pigs” campaign to improve welfare and origin labelling on pork products, hope the show will produce a similar change in shopping habits sparked by a campaign on chicken last year. Over 70% of consumers say they bought chicken that had enjoyed a better life following the programme, Jamie’s Fowl Dinners.

RSPCA Freedom Food marketing controller John Akehurst says: “Supermarkets are making sure they don’t have empty shelves like ≠last time, when they were caught out by the ‘Oliver effect’.”

Akehurst says pork producers scrabbled to get the RSPCA label last summer after they learned the Oliver programme had gone into production. Sainsbury’s has launched a money-off promotion on its accredited meat ranges this week to cope with the “expected uplift” in demand for its Freedom Food pork range.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here