Different by Nature, Organic by Choice – 12:10 pm, Prof. Franco Torelli of the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore: “Consumer perception and the need to communicate the distinctiveness of organic meat”

At 12.10 Prof. Franco Torelli of the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore will close our conference at the Theatre of the Earth, in the Biodiversity Park, with a report on: “The perception of the consumer and the need to communicate the distinctiveness of organic meat”.

The demand for organic products is growing worldwide: this trend, with different intensities, appears in both emerging countries and in those countries which, historically, have already embraced this philosophy.

Specifically, in the more developed countries there is a growing desire for an informed and health conscious nutrition. Purchasing behaviors are becoming ethically correct and environmentally friendly. Even non-eco-friendly companies are initiating (and putting on display) proposals to protect the environment.

In Italy, growth is hampered, but not cancelled, by prudence in spending. The Italian consumer outlines a profile of the organic product that is often confused within a wider context. For example, the concepts of “organic”, “short distribution chain” and “locally grown” tend to overlap and are used interchangeably.

Some organic sectors seem to have higher demands than others: for example the demand for organic fruit and vegetables is increasing, while the organic meat trend is less dynamic.

The main advantages that the consumer attributes to organic meat are taste (authentic, intense), the guarantee regarding animal feed, the positive environmental effects.

In reference to the introduction of organic products other than fruit and vegetables, many consumers’ first thought runs to meat, followed by bread and dairy products. One barrier, however, is the difficulty in finding certain types of meat in the organic version. Furthermore, the meat is perceived as more price-sensitive, in comparison with the price of other organic products, because the increase in absolute terms can be substantial.

Above all, the more information is available, the more attention the consumer pays to organic produce. Communication today has many tools, on-line and off line. Information must be clear and simple, easily assimilated and incisive.

Communication must act on two levels: rational and emotional. The former gives information, and trasmits qualitative and nutritional values. The latter tells the story of a product, and conveys symbolic values.

Awareness must be supported by institutions as well. The value of organic production lies not only in the product itself, but also in the method and in the environmental foresight.

Ethical and health concerns, protection of the environment, rebuilding of the relationship between consumers and the farming world: these values will all be increasingly expendable. The cooperative has what it takes in this regard: it represents a territory, the agricultural world and its producers.