Rachel’s says organic rebrand not symbolic for industry

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic milk Milk

The re-branding of a leading UK dairy company by dropping the word organic from its name has caused a media storm this week, though one national trade group suggests similar industry-wide action is unlikely.

Rachel’s Organic, which is to drop the latter term from its name in the coming months, says it remain fully committed on delivering products it claims are free of synthetic additives and also having a shorter name.

Some manufacturers in markets like the UK have stressed certain difficulties in meeting production requirements and supply needs amidst the economic downturn.

Just a name?

Besides these potential challenges though, UK-based trade group, the Soil Association, said that the branding was seemingly a one event off in the current market with no other manufacturing looking to drop organic from their names. A spokesperson for the group stressed that the decision by such a prominent national producer to cut the word organic from its name was not therefore reflective of a mass exodus of producers from the industry.

The trade group said that it was continuing to work with the industry to play up possible benefits of organic products, looking at areas such as health and animal welfare benefits to help maintain demand.


Despite now just being sold as Rachel’s, the manufacturer downplayed fears about the viability of organic dairy products in the economic downturn, saying that all its packaging would still prominently play up its commitments to the segment.

“We have been astonished by the attention this small change has attracted,”​ stated group spokesperson Steve Clarke.

“In part it is because there is currently a perceived downturn in sales of organic produce elsewhere but this was not the reason for the logo tweak, which has been in the pipeline for several months since the autumn.”

Across Rachel’s packaging, the manufacturer claimed that the term ‘organic’ would still be highly visible and that it was responding to consumer research conducted last summer that found preference for a simpler brand name.

“Rachel’s organic yogurts have in fact seen an 18.3 per cent - year on year - increase in sales for the first quarter of 2009 so we are seeing fantastic growth,”​ stated Clarke.

Market concerns

The UK organic market as a whole has faced some difficulties in recent months in areas like supply.

Back in January. Huw Bowles, finance and operations director for the UK-based Organic Milk Cooperative (OMSCo), told DairyReporter.com that rising commodity costs were resulting in reduced production of liquid organic milk as farmers opt out of the segment.

"The increased feed costs are leading some organic farmers and even those considering converting to organic milk production to question the economic sense of such a transfer,"​ he said.

The comments followed the publication of a report by the UK's Milk Development Council (MDC) that found some industry players were calling for imports of organic milk from other European producers to be stepped up in order to bolster supply amidst growing demand for organic dairy goods.

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