Consumers have never before had such a wide array of organic food and products to choose from. Sales of organic products are increasing at or near double digits annually. But despite these successes, research reveals significant consumer confusion about organic benefits. We've all seen the misleading headlines: organic can't feed the world; it's not worth the cost. Most often, these confusions are fueled by myths that downplay the health, social and economic benefits of organic food and fiber. Now it's time to present the facts.
Rising above this sea of misinformation, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and dozens of organic brands and industry thought leaders are joining forces and uniting online Sept. 1–30 for “Organic Myth-Busting Month,” a 30-day #OrganicFestival on social media aimed at correcting long-held misconceptions about organic.
Whether busting myths that organic isn’t affordable or correcting the misconception that science can’t prove the organic benefit, OTA and dozens of strategic partners are taking to social channels each day during “Organic Month” to tear down organic myths by replacing th
em with research-supported facts, engaging dialogue and opportunities to get questions answered. And, we are presenting these organic truths as well-designed graphics, ideal for sharing across social channels.
Leveraging the #OrganicFestival hashtag, this massive social media gathering—expected to reach millions of consumers across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn by month’s end—encourages individuals nationwide to help bust the myths and spread the facts by offering member prizes to people who engage with myth-busting posts by sharing on their own channels—thereby flooding social media with real truths aimed at drowning out falsehoods.
“Organic Myth-Busting Month” also includes five Twitter Parties, featuring industry thought leaders as co-hosts for hour-long Twitter chats to foster online, two-way conversations between top organic experts and consumers. In addition, OTA is holding myth-busting activities at special September events, including Natural Products Expo East.
Weekly Themes Built Around Common Misconceptions
To bring focus to the information-packed festival, OTA each week in September focuses on a key area of misconception often spread about organic, deconstructing a related myth each day of that week:
Week #1 (Sept. 1-5): Organic Labeling, addressing the certification process, the integrity of the USDA label and the differences between organic vs. other unregulated claims such as “natural”
Week #2 (Sept. 6-12): Organic Health, busting myths that organic isn't better for you, sharing fresh research on organic's health benefits
Week #3 (Sept. 13-19): Organic Value, revealing the costs behind organic, demonstrating organic is affordable for all – including budget-conscious consumers—and proving organic truly is worth it
Week #4 (Sept. 20-26): Organic Production, illustrating how organic can feed the world, outlining local and small vs. large-scale organic farming, highlighting environmental benefits
- Week #5 (Sept. 27-30): Organic Beyond Food, celebrating the lesser-known silos of organic, sharing why organic fiber, home and personal care products are better for your skin and health, revealing the differences between organic and conventional textile production.
OTA has provided its members and select online influencers all campaign materials, including scheduled posts, graphics and other content, to share throughout their networks to amplify the messages at the same time. OTA introduced this successful strategy in September 2014 with its first social media festival: “Organic-Palooza,” a 10-day campaign aimed at celebrating organic food and fiber, which garnered 109 million consumer impressions and featured 100 members taking part.
As in last year's campaign, with multiple brands and organizations sharing the same information on their respective channels each day, we can greatly extend our outreach and influence. This year, by tripling the festival’s length and sharpening its focus, we will reach even more individuals with a powerful, timely and important message.
Together, by engaging with consumers, media and influencers with a consistent and clear voice, we can change misconceptions, and bring audiences ‘on the fence’ about organic into the fold. WF
Laura Batcha is the CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association.
If you would like to participate, contact Kelly Taveras, OTA’s Digital Communications Manager [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Published on WholeFoods Magazine, 8/20/15