【DE】How do organic brands and associations position themselves for the future?

Together with futurologist Max Thinius, the trade fair duo from BIOFACH, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, and VIVANESS, international trade fair for natural cosmetics, look to the future of the nutrition and health industry. On the occasion of the current developments in purchasing behavior and brand loyalty, the opportunities associated with continuous digitization are examined. How do organic brands and associations position themselves for the future?




Futurologist Max Thinius: In the future, consumers will have more sovereignty over their own data and be able to control their own algorithm. // © Max Thinius



The current situation and first question marks

A constant, fundamentally positive attitude towards organic food is currently offset by a sharply noticeable decline in the purchase of organic branded goods for the first time. Acceptance for higher costs of sustainable products has halved within a year (2021: acceptance among 67 percent of respondents, 2022 at 30 percent)[1]. In view of the rising energy and living costs, it is not surprising that people want to save on shopping. But the question arises: How high is loyalty to organic brands and how will shopping behavior develop in the future?


The basis for brand loyalty are essentially two factors:

On the one hand, brand loyalty arises through habit and a level of security needs. Because a positive brand experience creates trust. When buying again, a lower risk is taken than when reaching an unknown product. This always allows people to resort to organic, knows Kathrin Jäckel, Managing Director of Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN) e.V.: “Our brand may be based less on a label, a color or a dimaging claim – but on a basic understanding of qualities. This is what, in my personal experience, also binds people to organic.”


On the other hand, the emotional positioning of the brand plays a major role. Anyone who can identify with a clear opinion of a brand accepts fewer alternatives within a category.


Emotions and digital communication

This is where the different communication strategies of brands come into play. In the age of digitality, an emotional relationship between brand and consumer can be built up and intensified via various channels. “It has become as complex as possible, more diverse,” emphasizes Kathrin Jäckel. Futurologist Max Thinius predicts: “In the future, however, consumers will again have more influence on what is proposed to them, for example, in the news feed. Each person will have more sovereignty over their own data and will be able to control their own algorithm.” Especially in order to reach the young target group, the digital possibilities of brand loyalty should therefore be determined and used. “Digitality does not mean that in the future the refrigerator will determine what should be purchased. Decision-making authority will remain with ourselves. But decision-making can be supported by means of data,” explains Max Thinius.


The provider side can also take advantage of the opportunities of digitization and collect and analyze more data. In this way, differentiated statements could be made about the current declines in the organic sector. Jörg Reuter, Head of Food Campus Berlin / Managing Director Artprojekt Nature & Nutrition GmbH, recently demanded this: “The industry has never analyzed why the market behaves in this way and proactively drawn conclusions from it. This makes the current awakening in the third year of multiple crises all the more bitter.”


Digitalization creates two great potentials for the organic industry: to gain a higher, data-based understanding of consumers and to be able to derive well-founded developments from it and to be preventively positioned towards future challenges.



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