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OTA Responds to Alliance for Food and Farming

On Monday, July 25, 2016 Food Safety News republished an OpEd from the Alliance for Food and Farming describing a “messaging evolution” that painted an incomplete picture of the Organic Trade Association’s advice to retailers.

When Organic Trade Association’s CEO, Laura Batcha, provided the keynote address at the Organic Produce Summit on July 14th, she began with an assertion that produce – and other fresh departments – is driving growth at mainstream retailers. Organic fruits and vegetables have enjoyed robust growth rates, including 16% growth in 2015, compared with 4% dollar growth in conventional produce. She went on to state that in order to assure continued growth of organic produce, retailers should not shy away from differentiating their organic offerings. Consumers have made it clear that they crave transparency, and the premium commanded by organic products demands we be willing to speak about the differences in the organic agricultural system. Batcha noted that positive messages about what organic means are the most resonant with mainstream shoppers. Examples of these types of messages include the fact that organic is the most highly regulated agricultural production system, that organic agriculture uses methods that preserve the environment and avoids most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.