Promotion is the weak link
PROMOTION of organic produce is fundamentally flawed and will remain a weak link in the supply chain as UK production fails to meet demand.
That message came from Somerset organic milk processor and cheese manufacturer John Alvis, who said production needed to increase dramatically before industry could start to promote organic produce effectively through major retailers.
"To satisfy the market wed need to see a 20-fold increase in the number of organic producers," said Mr Alvis. "At the moment, retailers want the product, but cannot obtain sufficient supplies to see it placed in the prime marketing slots – at eye level – on the supermarket shelf."
Milk Marques organic salesman Keith Britton predicted a four-fold increase in production to 100m litres/year over the next few years, however, he added demand would continue to outstrip supply by about 20% in the UK inviting competition form abroad.
Currently handling 4m litres of organic milk/year, Mr Britton said increased production would reduce key supply chain costs such as transport which may safeguard premiums. "However, the current premium of 9p/litre must be expected to fall over time."
Answering questions from producers on whether premium should be used for promotion, Mr Alvis said: "What would be the point? We cant satisfy consumer demand at present production levels, so why create more demand?"