Is there a demand for garden products to be certified as organic?

Certification of sustainable products has been suggested as an answer to consumer confusion surrounding labelling? We asked industry figures for their views ahead of the Garden Organic conference on the issue.

Retailer

"There is confusion in organic product labelling and there is a need for certification. But Garden Organic is a very pure organisation - perhaps too pure to run it.

"At Scotsdale we're asked a lot for products that are nature safe, safe for pets and for children and that are environmentally friendly. But organic is only one of the words used.

"We would find it commercially unviable - we have to offer choices."

Caroline Owen, president, HTA

Manager

"It's just about having trust in a product that has a sign or logo with which people can identify. At the moment mixed messages come through causing consumer confidence to drop.

"Standardisation is surely as good thing with everyone working to the same specification as with the Soil Association.

"With a bit of understanding what is behind the logo the trade can educate their customers."

Chris Day, plant publicity manager, Buckingham Garden Centre & Nursery

Gardener

"It is a good idea but I feel there's a steep hill to climb. The immediate negative element is that people might think of organic in terms of cost rather than environmental benefits.

"But it's worth a try because anything promoting organic has to be good. It might not be enticing enough for true gardeners who know what they want.

"For instance, F1 seeds are not organic but give the best performance."

Graham Clarke, organic gardener and horticulture writer

Charity chief

"There might be a role for Garden Organic. It's a lot of investment for a smallish charity but if that was something that the industry wanted and supported we would work out how it would be resourced and managed.

"This is an opportunity for chains and independents because there is no industry accepted norm.

"We know that consumers want to make better informed choices from an environmentally-sound perspective."

Myles Bremner, chief executive, Garden Organic


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