This project started in 2005 and has been moving forward slowly and successfully. It started with general research papers aiming to understand the organic food market and now, it moved to a more complex and exhaustive research project. It has two main components: an applied component to keep track of the market realities, and an academic component to foster research in the marketing of organic food field.
The project assesses the organic market structure and seeks to understand how it impacts local production, retail sales as well as consumer purchasing behaviour. The market potential for organic food products is assessed at the following levels: producers, intermediaries, and consumers. Hence, this project aims at identifying and analyzing factors related to the demand and supply sides that create and diversify market opportunities; understand and determine the relationship between OF distribution channels and institutional strategies; and consumers’ trust orientations and variations. Hence, consumers’ understanding and confidence in the production, certification, distribution processes and food mileage will also be researched.
The project’s objectives are achieved by suggesting a new organic food marketing model, such as: (i) adapting to structural changes and capturing emerging opportunities in the marketplace; (ii) creating strategic alliances between farmers markets, local retailers, and consumers; and, (iii) developing policy and managing outcomes that influence strategies to be used to market organic products in Ontario.
In addition, this project wants to be a catalyst to stimulate change and new ways of doing busines, and is based on the market realities of the province of Ontario. It aims to seize new market realities and suggest strategies that adapt to structural change and capture emerging opportunities in the marketplace. Lastly, it will enhance self-reliance in organic agri-food production in Ontario; and foster greater cooperation among farmers/producers in developing new ways of marketing their products, strategic alliances with country and farmers markets, local, regional, and national businesses, and partnerships with local universities to provide research marketing leadership.
Based on the leading researchers’ expertise in consumer behaviour and sustainable marketing, the expected outcomes are enhanced knowledge and building a sustainable marketing model for the organic food system in Ontario. This model is self-sustained in that it matches supply and demand opportunities and challenges.