Two in three Canadians (66 per cent) are spending at least some of their weekly grocery budget on organic items, up a staggering 10 points from 56 per cent in 2016. This is according to a September 2017 report from the Canada Organic Trade Association.
And with that increased spending comes the challenge of staying on top of research and trends related to organics.
“Information these days is delivered and digested in quick takeaways and bullet points,” says Kate McMurray, outreach coordinator at The Big Carrot in Toronto. “It’s important to open up the conversation with consumers beyond ‘how does organics impact me’ to the value of the broader organic system that is providing positive economic, social, nutritional and environmental impact.”
At The Big Carrot, a number of different initiatives are undertaken to prepare staff for these conversations. A team of nutritionists provide customer service. Staff play active roles in industry organizations such as the Canada Organic Trade Association, CBAN, the Non-GMO Project, and the Organic Council of Ontario. Initiatives such as Nature’s Finest Fund and Retail Organic Certification are a priority.
All of these activities ensure staff training, constant learning and knowledge transfer are a priority at The Big Carrot.
As part of their industry involvement priorities, The Big Carrot will once again play a key role in the Guelph Organic Conference. A Platinum Patron of the event, The Big Carrot will be exhibiting, and Kate will present “Current & Relevant Organic Research” – a free workshop on Sunday, January 28.
Kate’s workshop will be one of 43 program offerings covering topics from organic crop and livestock production to organic gardening. “This is a dynamic, leading event in the Canadian organic sector,” says Tomas Nimmo, conference manager. “Our conference offers excellent opportunities to network and learn about different features of the organic value chain. We draw a diverse audience including farmers, grain traders, manufacturers and many others.”
The free trade show Jan 27 and 28 will showcase over 150 exhibitors, including Pfenning’s Organic Farm, Booch Organic Kombucha, GoBio and Harmony Organic Dairy. Many exhibitors will be offering samples to attendees.
“Not only do we stay connected through industry involvement, but we then have these networks as resources,” adds Kate. “Part of our brand and success is the trust customers place in us, and by being involved in various initiatives, including the conference, we have been successful as an organization.”
To learn more about the Guelph Organic Conference (Jan 25 to 28), visit www.guelphorganicconf.ca.
For more information about The Big Carrot visit wwww.thebigcarrot.ca