Why a Research and Promotion Check-off program? - Organic Trade Association
Organic Trade Association
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Why a Research and Promotion Check-off program?


In order to distinguish organic in the market place, grow demand, and help the consumer understand all that organic delivers, requires collective resources and coordination beyond those currently available to the industry are required. Increased demand for organic products supports U.S. organic agriculture and rural communities.

  • Major challenges for the organic sector center on consumer confusion about what organic stands for and the distinction between the organic label versus unregulated natural and eco-labels.

    • Most consumers wrongly attribute organic benefits to unregulated natural products.

  • There is growing consumer concern over conventional food production and growing scientific evidence pointing the attributes organic delivers.

    • New research points consumers to the benefits that organic delivers—but does not use the word organic.
      • Presidents Cancer Panel
      • Pesticide and ADHD research
      • Antibiotics in livestock research
    • Massive egg recall causes consumers to question the food system.
  • Sustained resources and coordination are required to break through and help consumers connect the dots about all that organic delivers in terms of benefits.

    • Models for generic promotion in agriculture sectors, such as “Got Milk”, and “The Incredible, Edible, Egg” rely on a 1:50 return on promotional dollars.
    • Assume an industry goal to increase consumer consumption of organic products by 5% per year ($500M per year increase based on $10B consumer level sales)
    • Requires an investment $10M annually in outreach spending. This is the equivalent of 3/100ths of 1 percent of the size of the industry
  • Check-off programs are fair because everyone pays in. Not the few funding the many.
  • The OTA board adopted as a “Bold Step” or strategic objective, that OTA facilitate an industry decision on an organic Research and Promotion Program.
2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012