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Organic Groups Create Distrust Over Conventional Foods, Says Report.

Organic and natural products retailers knowingly have engaged in a broad range of fear-based marketing activities disparaging safe and more affordable products to win customers over to more expensive "organic" and "natural" marketed products, according to a recent report by a trio of authors from the Hudson Institute, Life Science Strategies, LLC and The National Center for Pubic Policy Research. The report, Marketing and the Organic Food Industry, says the campaign has extended beyond food marketing to now include everything from cleaning products to mutual funds.

The group details lobbying efforts, the use of tax deduction contributions by retailers to advocacy groups to promote organic marketing, the use of deceptive Internet marketing efforts, and various conflicts of interest mixing for-profit and non-profit activities. The report also says the volume of form letters USDA received on its first draft of a National Organic Program were generated from groups all sharing the same public relations firm, which also represents for-profit organic and natural product companies.

There must be a distinction maintained between practices of organic growers versus those of organic and natural product retailers, say the authors. The organic industry, which claims to be part of the sustainable agriculture equation, is "driving private and USDA-proposed certifying standards and marketing programs to support premium priced market factors that often are in conflict with best sustainable agricultural practices, consumer and farmer interests." According to the authors, the organic industry must balance an increase in consumer demand for organic products while ensuring growth in supply does not reduce premium prices necessary to support the organic production chain. However, the organic industry cannot grow beyond a certain point without addressing a key issue. "Organic producers will be challenged with growing demands associated with increasing populations to increase crop yields and reduce the amount of land under cultivation."
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Comment:Organic Groups Create Distrust Over Conventional Foods, Says Report.
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 2, 2000
Words:301
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