Mr McLaren believes the onus is on the industry to provide consumers with clear certainty on which products are certified organic, and he is eager to see unification behind a single symbol which would streamline the buying process for customers seeking out ‘trust marks’ on labels.
Research from the Australian Organic Market Report 2021 gave urgency to the issue, with data highlighting 79 per cent of organic buyers surveyed said a ‘trust mark’ would have a ‘strong’ or ‘moderate’ influence on their buying decision.
The report also identified a worrying trend of consumers believing they have previously been misled by false organic labelling. In fact, the report found 31 per cent of shoppers who purchased an organic product in the past year believe they have previously been deceived.
“There is a lot of misleading packaging around organic products, so it is important to have one recognised logo to make it easier for consumers to identify what is legitimate,” Mr McLaren said.
Jalna Dairy Foods, which owns and manages its own organic dairy farming operation at Koyuga, Victoria, produces 2.5 million litres of organic milk for its certified range, and has made use of organic and biodynamic farming methods for more than 20 years.
The practices simultaneously nurture the environment and place animal welfare at the forefront. The business is committed to caring for the health of its soil, which helps produce nutrient-rich hay and grass for the cows.
Jalna Dairy Foods Farm Manager, Melinda Smith, said cows in their herd, comprising of predominately Holstein Friesian milkers, benefited from the sustainable practices and were happy and healthy.
“We don’t use any synthetic chemicals or fertilisers, and we try to grow all of our crops and grain ourselves,” Ms Smith said.
“As the whole process is certified organic, we get cleaner, better-tasting milk, and our cows tend to live longer than conventional cows.”
Looking to the future, Mr McLaren was optimistic about the direction of the organic sector and believed The Bud would be key in gaining the trust of new customers.
“We supply a clean, healthy product made from 100 per cent Australian milk, and The Bud ensures our customers know we have been held to high and rigorous standards to gain our organic certification,” he said.
“That’s The Bud guarantee. It’s a clear symbol of authenticity our customers can look for and trust.”