Waitrose is bringing the stories behind its organic producers to life by launching an organic marketing initiative to support the Soil Association's Organic Month this September. Waitrose Organic Kitchen will feature content created by gardening expert and established Waitrose ambassador, Alan Titchmarsh, who will be joined by broadcaster Ellie Harrison. Together, they will explore organic food and how it's grown to help customers understand the origins of their organic products.
As part of Waitrose Organic Kitchen, Ellie Harrison will write a weekly column over four weeks in Waitrose Weekend, the supermarket's newspaper, starting with the September 8 issue. Ellie's columns will focus on the work of organic farms and their produce as well as cooking with organic ingredients. She will also introduce features with four Waitrose Duchy Organic producers who are providing products as diverse as tea, lemon curd, eggs and quinoa.
Inviting people to share in a behind-the-scenes look at the world of organic produce, Alan Titchmarsh has interviewed grower Joe Rolfe, who manages the 500-acre organic farm, Taylorgrown, in Kings Lynn in Norfolk, and supplies organic broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to Waitrose. The film will be available online for Waitrose TV later in the month and, together with a profile of organic apple and pear grower, Nick Moor, who owns the 165-acre Nichol Farm in Teynham in Kent, will give an insight into the day-to-day practicalities of organic farming.
Waitrose Editor-in-Chief, Ollie Rice, said: “We're delighted to have such respected experts involved in our campaign. We're looking forward to sharing the stories behind the growers who work with organic produce every day and are incredibly passionate about what they do. As the Soil Association's Organic Supermarket of the Year, organic food and drink is a hugely important part of the range we offer our customers and September will be an exciting month, packed full of inspirational activities.”
Alan Titchmarsh said: “There's an immense amount of skill and passion involved in growing organic produce and I'm so pleased to play a part in helping people understand not only where our food comes from but also just how it's grown.”
Ellie Harrison comments: “The daily ritual of cooking for family and friends is something I find incredibly gratifying. Where that food is from matters. So transforming the fantastic ingredients from these dedicated producers into dishes to share is something I have relished being a part of.”
Waitrose pioneered the sale of organic food in supermarkets in 1983 and continues to lead the field with one of the largest organic ranges in the UK: Waitrose Duchy Organic. Sales of all organic products at the retailer are up 4.6% so far this year.
Organic fruit, vegetables and salads remain Waitrose customers' favourite organic buys. In particular, organic blueberries are proving popular with sales up 39% this year.
Carrots are the grocer's top-selling organic vegetable but shoppers are increasingly going green with broccoli and spinach becoming the pick of the organic crop, with sales of the latter up by 16% on last year.
Sales of the supermarket's award-winning range of organic cheeses have jumped by 11% in 2016, with bestselling line, Waitrose Duchy Organic Mature Cheddar - winner of the Soil Association's Best Organic Cheese award – increasing sales by 38% during the year.
Waitrose has also sold enough organic eggs this year so far to stretch from London to Birmingham if they were all lined up.