Is organic the best way to start the day?

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

9% of breakfast cereals launched in the UK in 2014 carried an organic claim, compared to 4% in 2013: Mintel research
9% of breakfast cereals launched in the UK in 2014 carried an organic claim, compared to 4% in 2013: Mintel research

Related tags Breakfast Organic food Organic certification Uk Soil association

Organic breakfast products are an easy and affordable way to dip a toe in organic, the Soil Association says.

The Soil Association and industry association the Organic Trade Board (OTB) have teamed up to launch ‘Wake Up To Organic’, a nationwide UK campaign that will see independent stores offering free organic breakfasts next week.

Commenting on the event, which came as part of its wider ‘Naturally Different’ campaign, the Soil Association’s trade relations manager Lee Holdstock said: “Breakfast is an easy and affordable way for consumers to give organic a try and it allows for a wide range of delicious products to be displayed and enjoyed.”

Catherine Fookes, OTB campaign manager, echoed this and said the event was an accessible way for people to “give organic a go”​.

"It's simple quick, easy and thrifty. Also breakfast is such an important part of the day and we want to help the nation have a healthy, organic breakfast. Many people skip breakfast and our Wake up to Organic day will help them remember how fantastic breakfast can be,"​ she told us. 

Asked why breakfast might be the meal to tempt shoppers to organic, Steve Osborn, principal food and drink consultant at the Aurora Ceres Partnership, said: "In the first instance breakfast is often spoken of as the ‘most important meal of the day’  so to be able to start the day with the best and healthiest intentions is always attractive to the consumer."

Champions of breakfast  

The Soil Association’s 2015 Organic Market Report​ showed sales of all organic products increased by 4% in the UK, which translated to an extra £1.4m (€1.92m) a week spent on organic products. Within this breakfast foods were all up including yoghurt (14%), eggs (16%), cereals (4%) and milk (3%).

This was translating into NPD too. Mintel data showed 9% of breakfast cereals launched in the UK in 2014 carried an organic claim, compared to 4% in 2013.

Osborn said cereals and grains were familiar agricultural ingredients for consumers so it was easy for them to see the relevance of the organic message within this category.  

He added that breakfast was the meal that consumers had the most control over in the day, as they ate it at home and in a typically habitual way.  "It is the same box of cereal  they consume over a week or two for example, the consumption of that product then becomes behavioural rather than impulsive."

The challenge, he said, was for organic food firms to offer products that fitted with increasingly busy schedules, like porridge pots, breakfast bars and breakfast drinks. 

Thrifty and plentiful

Both the Wake Up To Organic campaign and the wider Naturally Different focused on the importance of retail channels.

According to an OTB report on UK organic consumer behaviour released in March, availability was something holding people back from buying organic. About 50% of consumers would consider buying more organic food and drink if it were available. 

The report, A Fresh Look at the Organic Consumer’​, ​also found UK organic shoppers were more promotion-driven than general shoppers, with 86% consistently looking out for special offers vs. 69% of the general population. 

This was also the focus for its upcoming #ThriftyOrganic Challenge, which aimed to show shoppers eating organic could be easy and cheap.

The Naturally Different campaign was funded 50-50 by the organic industry and the EU. The total budget for three-year campaign is £1.4m (€1.92m) of which the OTB pledged £270,000 (€370,551) per year.

The OTB represented around 120 companies, many of which were retailers or manufacturers selling breakfast products and ingredients. 

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