New UK Organic industry body formed to spearhead revival of sector

The Organic Trade Board has been rebranded as UK Organic, in a bid to put forward a plan “to serve as the sector’s marketing agency, to drive a unified message and create renewed consumer interest”.

Chaired by Yeo Valley director Adrian Carne, the revamp of the industry body was prompted by the “urgent need for a fresh approach to secure a healthy future for all organically certified producers, processors, and products”.

The organisation will also support consumers to access products grown organically.

“Organic farming represents the gold standard for sustainable agriculture,” said Carne. “It is the only certified agricultural system that offers quantifiable climate and biodiversity outcomes. It is legally binding and globally recognised.”

However, Carne said inadequate funding and a fragmented landscape has meant the organic sector had not “been able to capitalise on the key benefits of the organic food in the shopper’s mind”.

He added that the numerous sustainable farming initiatives on the crowded marketplace risked confusing consumers further.

“This realisation necessitates a transformative approach to developing a clear strategy for organic development, and the founding of UKO signifies this necessary change in mindset,” he said. “With a clear vision, alternative funding, and inclusive approach, UKO is poised to lead the charge towards a sustainable and thriving organic industry.”

UKO will set out to simplify messaging, raise awareness and create demand for certified organic products, including non-food items.

The organisation aims to deliver strategic consumer activation and communication programmes to support consumers in making informed purchasing decisions.

Operational costs will be funded through external stakeholders, including philanthropic organisations and government bodies, rather than membership fees.

Former members of the OTB and organisations who are interested in a more active role can become affiliate supporters for a fee.

It comes as Soil Association Certification warned more could be done to boost UK organic production despite a 2% increase in value sales across the category in 2023.