OTB welcomes new general manager

Cristina Dimetto

Last month saw the appointment of Cristina Dimetto as new general manager for the Organic Trade Board (OTB), who joins the organization at a moment of heightened planning and preparation for this year’s Organic September – which, in her words, is set to be ‘probably the strongest ever’.

Speaking today during a webinar co-hosted by Sainsbury’s, Dimetto reported the OTB has been ‘revamping’ its membership benefits. “We’ve got a lot of new things coming up in the next few weeks; the first one … is our new website.”

Speaking of her pre-OTB career, Dimetto said: “I’ve been working in retail for at least ten years here in the UK. I’ve come from a very foodie background – restaurants, producing organic oil … I’ve got quite a bit of experience in the field. I’ve been working in marketing for the past 20 years. I love the fact that this year the campaign first of all is opening up to all kinds of brands and products – it’s not just about food and drink anymore, it’s going to be about organic. My focus will be on making organic not just a purchase but a lifestyle.”

During the webinar Dimetto shared the latest Nielsen data which showed an 18.7% increase in organic purchases over a 12 week period which included ten weeks of lockdown. A YouGov poll also showed that four out of ten people ‘value food more’ since the coronavirus crisis and five out of ten people claimed to have ‘noticed cleaner air’.

51% of the people that have been most affected financially by COVID-19 are actually the most invested in companies that want to do good

“So hopefully people will realize that we need a change and it’s not going to be just a change of the moment, it’s going to be a change in attitude – and that brings us into actually focusing on organic. The number that I love the most is that 51% of the people that have been most affected financially by COVID-19 are actually the most invested in companies that want to do good – and who makes good if not organic companies? Nature has the answer. Organic works with nature. We are developing the campaign to show that just one simple gesture in buying organic is going to make a huge difference.”

Dimetto’s closing remarks to the audience were that with the current focus on sustainability, the time is now to make organic more ‘relevant and accessible than ever’.

Leading the second half of the webinar was Lorenzo Fiorletta from Nectar360, who helps coordinate Organic September activity for Sainsbury’s.

Fiorletta explained how the supermarket has increased its packages to get brands involved, and outlined its key strategy for this year, which included: POS wobblers highlighting organic products on shelf with clear ‘choose organic’ messaging; emails incentivizing organic purchases with Bonus Nectar Points and coupons at till, encouraging consumers to keep buying organic through October and November; partnerships with brands; and an organic online hub, with enhanced options for search sponsorship, cross-selling visibility, search banners and presence on the landing page.