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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) said this week it will introduce a consumer marketing and public relations campaign soon after the start of 2009, that will reach over 25 million consumers during the year.
"This unparalleled effort to educate consumers about the benefits of organic comes at an historic point of change for America," noted OTA executive director Christine Bushway. "Never has there been as much evidence backing the benefits of organic to public and environmental health, as many organic farmers on the land, and as many educational programs preparing a new generation of organic farmers.
"But never in recent years has there been as high a level of consumer spending confusion and concern," Bushway continued. "The role of this campaign is to set the record straight and help consumers make the educated choice."
Among the strategy includes:
--Generating trial and purchase of organic products through the "Go Organic! for Earth Day" retailer program, a new "Go Organic! for Back to School" sales promotion, and the biannual Taste for Life special magazine issues.
--Building organic's cachet among consumers and getting them active in the organic community by launching a fully integrated advertising campaign, relaunching OTA's consumer Web site and e-newsletter "The O'Mama Report" for greater mainstream appeal, and sponsoring consumer events encompassing both intimate in-home consumer parties and large-scale demos.
--Spearheading a major online presence by using second-generation Web tools to correct widely held inaccuracies about organics. Tools include "Organic on the Green: A Blog to feed the organic revolution in campus dining"; a bimonthly Blogwatch tracking organic coverage; OTA Blog, to provide an organic perspective; and upgraded Member Forum technology.
--Delivering information tools to OTA members and increasing the use of those tools, particularly the Manufacturers Market Survey; and rolling out the inaugural Organic Input Almanac to quantify and communicate the environmental benefits of organic.
As of mid-November, Go Organic! for Earth Day had secured commitments from almost 3,400 storefronts nationwide, including Publix, over 10 divisions of Kroger, Roundy's, and Supervalu. The program will be expanded into more stores in the South and West than ever before, according to FMI, including Fry's, Winn-Dixie, and Ralphs. The association's expectation is to line up about 4,000 stores for 2009.
OTA, based in Greenfield, Mass., has 1,700 members including growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, and retailers.