What a great event. I spent the last few days connecting with old friends and making new ones. The Organic Summit turned out to be a truly special gathering of the organic industry core constituents.
Modeled after the NBJ/Newport Summit, the Organic Summit~Rs mission was ~SRenewing the Organic Conversation~T and it was certainly successful.
Most of the attendees were organic ~SPassionates~T as I call them ~V longtime organic industry advocates, farmers, entrepreneurs and academics. Representatives from Target and Safeway (both with their own private label organic lines) were brave enough to attend and contributed to the conversation. More attendees from Wall Street, mainstream CPG companies and food ingredient multinationals were certainly needed to fully round out the conversation, but the conference organizers have much to be proud of for their first effort.
To learn more about the Organic Summit, check out the following links.
The Boulder Daily Camera covers the Organic Summit
The Organic Consumers Association reviews the Organic Summit
To learn more about the NBJ/Newport summit, check out the following links.
NPICenter's profile of the NBJ/Newport Summit
Upon reflection, I started thinking about the Top 5 things that I feel the Organic Community should start thinking about. I've listed them below. They are just thoughts, so please digest and let me know what you think in the comments section.
- No matter how far the Organic foods movement has come ~V years of development, approval of organic standards, current debate on the future of organic ~V the organic foods industry just sat down at the world food table. The future of the organic industry could and should be long and prosperous, but in 50 years, I'll bet that the organic industry looks back at today's infighting, shakes it~Rs head and wonders, ""What were we so shook up about??""
- 20% annual growth will make people crazy. We saw it happen in the dietary supplement industry in the mid and late 1990s. It brings in the less than ethical capitalists and the core must be vigilant to defend the integrity of organic products, but a unified voice is the only solution.
- A market correction will occur and we should all be ready. Very few, if any, markets continue on the 20%+ growth path for long. NBJ is already reporting a slide in sales growth to 14%. Though the industry still adds new sales of $2 billion in 2007, growth rates will decline and thus investor interest in organics will slow.
- Public dissention within the ranks is embarrassing. Can't we all just get along? The organic industry must unify to protect it's integrity. Compromise must drive collective messaging and PR. Without it, consumer confusion will translate to lower sales at the shelf.
- Consumers control the value of the term ""organic"". The organic industry should prepare for the rise of the terms: local, bioavailable, carbon neutral, etc. If public dissention degrades consumer trust, consumers will continue on the food evolution to the next categorization that they identify with.