The UK organic food sector’s bid for EU funding to support an industry-wide marketing campaign needs more financial backing from the country’s suppliers, a conference was told yesterday (22 September).

Around GBP170,000 (US$279,365) has so far been raised for the OrganicUK campaign and its organisers are looking for the EU to provide so-called match funding and pledge GBP1 for every GBP1 raised in the UK.

However, Adam Wakeley, joint MD of Organic Farm Foods, urged more UK suppliers to support the campaign, which the sector will use in a bid to boost slowing sales in the country.

“The only way we can do it is to all pull together,” Wakeley told a conference organised by UK sector body the Organic Trade Board (OTB).

The OTB will launch its own marketing campaign by January next year and the OrganicUK team hope that campaign will help in the run-up to its three-year push, which, if the bid for EU cash succeeds, could start by the summer of next year.

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The OrganicUK campaign has received financial backing from the likes of Cadbury-owned Green & Black’s, children’s food maker Organix and dairy groups Rachel’s Organic and Yeo Valley.

The OrganicUK campaign, which is being co-ordinated by Sustain, is targeting UK sector support of around GBP500,000. Wakeley revealed organisers were in talks with an unnamed UK retailer to also provide support.

EU cash for similar campaigns has been awarded to other members states, including France, although Wakeley said that French organic food makers had had government support.

“The French have had nine successful EU bids. We are the first country to raise the money through private placements.”

In May, organic food makers in the US won support from the Obama administration, which plans to encourage production through US$50m of public money.