New body will focus on marketing and creating renewed consumer interest

Organic sales have seen volumes decline

Organic sales have seen volumes decline

Newly formed industry body UK Organic (UKO) has set out its ambition to unite the supply chain and re-energise the organic sector, arresting the current volume decline in the sector.

UK Organic - formerly Organic Trade Board / OTB - has been established as a Community Interest Company - and at its first annual conference it put forward a plan to serve as the sector’s marketing agency, to drive a unified message and create renewed consumer interest.

The move has been prompted by what it described as an urgent need for a fresh approach to secure a healthy future for all organically certified producers, processors and products. The organisation will also support consumers to access products grown without harmful chemicals, promoting health and sustainability for all.

UKO chair Adrian Carne said he believed the launch marked a pivotal moment. “Organic farming represents the gold standard for sustainable agriculture. It is the only certified agricultural system that offers quantifiable climate and biodiversity outcomes. It is legally binding and globally recognised,” he said.

“Inadequate funding and a fragmented landscape have meant, however, that the organic sector has not been able to capitalise on the key benefits of organic food in the shopper’s mind. While numerous sustainable farming initiatives are competing in a crowded space and risk confusing consumers further.

“This realisation necessitates a transformative approach to developing a clear strategy for organic development, and the founding of UKO signifies this necessary change in mindset. With a clear vision, alternative funding, and inclusive approach, UKO is poised to lead the charge towards a sustainable and thriving organic industry.”

Simplified messaging

As a consumer association, UKO will set out to simplify messaging, raise awareness, and create demand for certified organic products, including textiles, cosmetics, and other non-food items. It aims to deliver strategic consumer activation and communication programmes to support consumers in making informed purchasing decisions.

Operational costs will not rely on membership fees. Instead, UKO will seek funding from external stakeholders, including philanthropic foundations and government bodies that have aligned interests to consolidate organic’s renewed efforts.

UKO has invited certified producers, processors, brands, distributors, retailers, and all interested parties to join as Fellow Supporters, stressing it is taking “an inclusive approach and at no cost”. 

Former members of the OTB and organisations who are interested in a more active role have the opportunity to become Affiliate Supporters for a minimal fee.