What you can say about benefits when selling organic food – new statements

19 September 2013

The Soil Association is issuing a new report containing positive statements in support of organic food and farming having sought guidance from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Copy Advice Team.

The statements, all evidence based and available to anyone selling organic products, help demonstrate the many positive benefits of organic food and farming and why shoppers should choose organic.

Speaking about the new statements at the Soil Association’s annual trade briefing on 19 September, Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association said:
“For the first time we now have an unprecedented range of rigorously researched statements which we’ve sought advice on through the CAP Copy Advice team. The Soil Association has worked for many years to get to this point and I am delighted that we can now share these new statements - which clearly demonstrate the compelling reasons for consumers to choose organic – with organic food producers.”
“We’ve worked hard to develop our evidence base, some of which are supported by government data. For example it’s great to be able to say with confidence that ‘The UK government has said that organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide and fewer dangerous wastes.’”

The report is being published at the same time as new data from Nielsen - also announced at the Trade Briefing - showing that the organic sector continues to grow at a rate around 1% over a 12 week period to 17 August 2013.

Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification Ltd said:
“I’m delighted to share this report with our licensees. With the market in recovery, the Soil Association believes this is a crucial moment for everyone in the organic movement to come together with a clear call to consumers – organic is food you can trust, better for the environment and animal welfare.”

Find out more: https://www.soilassociation.org/trade/marketingsupport/advertisingclaims


For press enquiries please contact:

Tom DePass – Communications and Marketing Manager – 0117 314 5122 tdepass@soilassociation.org
Emma Rose – Marketing Officer – 0117 714 2414 erose@soilassociation.org

Notes to editors
1. Advertisers should always check the actual copy of their marketing statements with Copy Advice and include the link to the Copy Advice website, which is in our report.

2. While the Copy Advice Team gives guidance to advertisers about what is likely to be acceptable to the ASA, their advice does not bind the ASA.

3. Advertisers always need to hold the evidence to support any statements they make, and that the evidence for all of the statements in our report will be available free of charge to Soil Association licensees on application.

4. The Copy Advice Team has advised that, subject to an advertiser holding the appropriate evidence, the following claims are likely to be acceptable under the Advertising Code:

• The European Commission states that organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines excellent environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources, the application of high animal welfare standards and a production method in line with the preference of certain consumers for products produced using mainly natural substances and processes. Organic production delivers public goods contributing to the protection of the environment and animal welfare, as well as to rural development.

• No system of farming has higher animal welfare standards than farms working to Soil Association organic standards

• Animals are reared without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or wormers, animal feed is GM-free and poultry is always free-range

• Organic standards prohibit GM crops and ingredients, hydrogenated fats and controversial additives like aspartame, tartrazine and MSG

• Organic farming works with nature, using crop rotations and clover to build fertility in the soil

• Organic farming releases less greenhouse gases per hectare than non-organic farming - choosing organic, local and seasonal food can significantly reduce your carbon footprint

• Organic farming creates a healthy living soil

• Organic farming is more drought resistant and therefore more resilient to the impacts of climate change

• Organic farming is better for the long term health of the soil, and organic farms have healthier soils

• Organic agriculture can help fight against climate change by sequestering carbon in soils champions biodiversity

• Organic means working more with nature, not against it

• Soil Association organic avoids most chemical sprays, promotes biodiversity

• Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies - overall plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms, and there are 30% more species

• Genetically modified crops and ingredients are banned under European Union and international organic standards

• Organic animals are reared without the routine use of drugs

• The UK government has said that organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide and fewer dangerous wastes

5. The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. To find out more visit www.soilassociation.org

Join to help us stop the use of neonicotinoids and save our living landscapes

Donate to help us create healthy farmland and countryside without pesticides