Arla has announced changes to its line of branded organic milk, launched last year, in order to boost sales.
The company’s organic farm milk will now be marketed as organic free-range milk as part of a campaign to ‘communicate the free-range nature of organic cows’.
Arla claimed its farmer owners provide around 700 million litres of organic milk each year and that cows which produce the organic free-range milk are outdoors for an average of 200 days a year.
Earlier this year, Arla launched a £4 million campaign in the UK to support its newly released organic milk.
However, a commercial which claimed organic milk was ‘good for the land’ and ‘a more sustainable future’ was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as it was considered ‘misleading’.
The ASA said: “We did not consider [Arla] had substantiated that organic milk production had an overall positive impact on the environment, taking into account its full life cycle.”
Analysis: ‘A desperate workaround for Arla’
Cynics will say that this is a desperate workaround for Arla, after last month’s ASA ruling. The advertising watchdog said the group had not proven its own claims about organic dairy. ‘It’s good for the land’ and ‘helps support a sustainable future’, Arla said. Not on your evidence, was the ASA’s response.
Having been rapped for its advertising, Arla has now removed any references to organic milk being ‘good for the land’ from the front-and-centre of its packaging. The phrase ‘good for you’ – another bone of contention that featured on the old labels – has also gone.
The changes reflect a shift in consumer perceptions towards organic produce: shoppers no longer think organic food is healthier, though there was little evidence to suggest it ever was. With these latest developments, they risk being put off the environmental and ecological arguments for organic dairy, too.
That’s why Arla – and other companies besides – are moving their attention to the ethical side of their products: free range and Fairtrade. If the industry continues to move in this direction, other companies might have to rethink the way they market organic products.
The company’s rebranding is part of a £5 million marketing campaign to grow the organic dairy category in the UK.
Organic milk production in the UK jumped by 4.4% in 2016, in contrast to the standard milk category, which fell by 1.9% during the same period.
The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative said that one in four UK households now purchase organic milk.
Arla Foods UK managing director Tomas Pietrangeli said: “We believe there is significant headroom to grow the organic milk category and make organic milk more accessible to our consumers.
“Our new advertising campaign, emphasising the free-range claim, will help people to further understand the benefits of organic, encouraging them to trade up from standard fresh milk to organic.”
The TV advertising coincides with increased distribution for the brand, which is now sold in supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
The range comes in semi-skimmed and whole milk variants in two litre bottles, with a recommended retail price of £1.75.
Source: Food Bev