The 2007 EU regulation on organic foods (834/2007) provided for a new, common organic logo to appear on pre-packaged organic food sold in the EU, on a mandatory basis if it originates from the EU and on a voluntary basis if from outside. It was originally planned that the logo would start appearing on products this year.
However the common logo that was drawn up was withdrawn in April 2008, after it was pointed out that it resembled the logo of Aldi supermarket. Moreover, it used the word ‘Bio’ – a term that is not associated with organics in the English language. The European Commission officially postponed its implementation in October.
Today, however, the Commission has today kicked off a new competition to come up with a symbol that will have universal appeal in all member states, open exclusively to EU citizens who are registered at an institution of higher education for art or design, based in the EU.
Michael Mann, EU spokesperson for agriculture and rural development, told FoodNavigator.com that the Commission decided to throw the new design open to students, rather than commissioning a design agency, because “it would be a more lively and dynamic way to get people involved”.
The competition itself will have great public visibility, and the public will be asked to vote on the shortlist at the end. Such an open and transparent process will also help raise awareness of organic food and of the logo itself, even before it starts appearing on packs.
Mann said: “Commissioning an agency would cost a fortune and we may not get the result we want.”
Students have until 25th June 2009 to send their entries, and the first prize winner will receive €6000. First and second runners up will receive €3,500 and €2,500 respectively.
The brief is to come up with “an eye-catching and original logo that captures the diverse aspects of organic farming and production”.
The panel of judges, drawn from design institutions, organic agencies and market experts, will also be evaluating the designs for “their universal appeal, their comprehensibility without the use of words, their clarity of presentation, and their timeliness”.
More information on the contest, and instructions for uploading artwork, are available at www.ec.europa.eu/organic-logo.