With the rise of the ethical consumer, supermarkets have to close the gap between the educated and aware buyer, and the traditional image of the multinational retailer as grasping and amoral. Therefore they need to accentuate their positive roles in, for example the support of local farmers, whilst still maintaining their stance on value for money. They also need to attract others who may not consider buying organic foods in order to keep down costs and close the circle in the relationship between grower/ manufacturer, seller (supermarket) and the consumer.
The question of ethical marketing and provision of organic foods is something that has troubled supermarkets in the past, and they do not seem to have learned from these mistakes (Supermarkets accused over organic foods The Guardian 5/11/06 and Soil Association Supermarket Survey Soil Association.org and Behind the Veggie Label rspca.org.uk)
Investigations into their organic and other specialist foods seem to demonstrate that supermarkets have understood the packaging of ethical products, but missed the essential ingredients. In the future, supermarkets will have the opportunity to use the growing trend to produce better marketing strategies using the knowledge now available to them.
With conflict between the two par...
ely if these questions are not addressed, the supermarket's marketing strategies need to adapt and develop in order to bring the organic community into the marketplace. If, as seems likely, the demand for organic and ethical products continues to increase, supermarkets will have to provide themselves with a better image. Marketing could be the key to a better position in the eyes of natural activists.
Organics began as a small ethical movement, mainly concentrating upon local supply-and-demand, and around consumer worries about multinational business, agriculture, the environment and damage to traditional values.
One of the features of this market was a focus on small, co-operative producers, and local availability. Though organic food markets have now become big business, for the activists ethical issues remain important, and still affect the purchasing choices that these consumers make.
As well as these campaigners, who are known as 'true naturals' "highly committed, activist consumers" (The changing face of Organic Foods PCCnaturalmarkets.com pg. 3.)there is also a second growth market, who has been dubbed 'health seekers' by Michael Pollen (Ibid pg 3).These consumers:
Buy organic foods for the perceived health benefits. They
buy supplements, work out and drink wine, yet are still
looking for foods they're familiar with. (Ibid)
It could be argued that, aside from the issue of environmental awareness, the biggest cause of growth in the organic food market is the influx of these consumers, who, while looking for a healthier lifestyle, while still wanting the same quality and range of products. This kind of consumer had lead to the development of 'organic TV dinners' (ibid) and organic snack foods. While the true naturals are about 10% of the (US)