Can the organics survive the current economy?

first_imgEmail Print NewsCan the organics survive the current economy?By admin – April 10, 2009 722 Twitter Linkedin WhatsAppcenter_img Advertisement IT’s the dreaded and now, quite annoying, “R” word, but it has hit everything in its wake. Probably because we have let it. Food, is no different and as we get cuter with our purchases, some will let the luxury of good sound choices slip them by as they aim to make their money go further. Top of the list for the chop would be your free range meats and most likely your organic produce. Some producers may differ and others will agree, but figures released recently can indicate a slight decline in organic sales.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up In Ireland, the decline is apparent but not fully quantified, but in the UK, sales of organic products present a mixed picture, according to a major report published by the Soil Association.Organic food sales have been hit across all sectors, as consumers tighten their belts in the face of the economic downturn. 2008 saw sales in both regions marginally rise by close on two per cent, but this statistic must be seen in the context of overall food price rises rather than sales volume increases.Industry analysts have said that this has been a really difficult period for all retail, and organic sales have suffered along with the rest of the economy. Reports of this nature describe a very mixed picture as consumers react to the financial crisis. But those consumers who are committed to organic products appear to be staying loyal. This shows the underlying resilience of the organic market, which it is believed will grow again once the economy picks up.Figures would suggest that the organic participants have their fan base and those that choose it as a way of life, but it also shows that the increase in conversion is not that forthcoming as people still adopt a “wait and see attitude”.Th UK based organic body, the Soil Association, issued a report recently and it shows there has been a sharp fall in sales of certain products, including fruit, bread and bakery products, soft drinks and prepared foodstuffs, although even in these sectors, some brands are bucking the recessionary trend. In tandem there has been dynamic growth in sales of organic food through farmers’ markets where figures increased an estimated 19 per cent.Tesco is still the market leader in terms of value despite a fall in organic sales of 9.9% in 2008. Other smaller areas of organic production such as textiles and health and beauty products have also experienced very significant growth.Organic shoppers, like all consumers, have been buying fewer premium products and prepared foods, and switching to lower-cost retailers. There is also a focus on cutting waste and cooking from scratch – sales of organic home cooking ingredients increased by a remarkable 13.5% in 2008, while sales of organic prepared foods dropped sharply.Core consumers who may be cutting back are still determined to stick to their organic principles. Over one third of committed organic consumers say they expect to spend more on organic food in 2009, and only 15% expect to spend less. Animal welfare issues attracted a high public profile in 2008 and sales of organic milk, cheese, some meat and poultry grow by 10.6%, 11.5%, 13.3% and 17.7% respectively, demonstrating that where the benefits of organic production are understood commitment remains firm among ethical consumers.Research shows that over a quarter of consumers who do not currently buy organic food “would like to know more about organic products than they do” suggesting potential to broaden the market still further in the future.Whilst volatility in the organic market looks set to remain in 2009, environmental and political challenges to our current food and farming systems will demand that we develop sustainable production methods in the future. Governments have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Such cuts can only be achieved in agriculture by deriving fertility from sunshine and organic matter – as organic farmers do – rather than from fossil fuel-based chemical fertilisers. That is a core belief of the organic way and one that they encourage leaders to exploreOrganic farms like all business face uncertainty and volatility. But there are still significant opportunities in some areas – fruit and arable for instance and in developing genuinely local and regional supply networks. Collaboration will also be key to the success of many farm businesses. Facebook Previous articleThe Expert Comment – Paul NestorNext articleOne giant step into Limerick city adminlast_img read more

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Secrets of recruiting and retention

first_img 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Kim Kreps Kim Kreps, VP & Executive Search Director, is often asked for her insight on pressing issues and industry trends.  Find out how today’s workforce is evolving when it comes to … Web: www.jmfa.com Details Q:  What are some ways a multi-generational workforce impact the banking and credit union industry?A:  For the first time in history, we have four generations working side by side. It is important to understand that each generation has different work and lifestyle expectations, and what worked 10 years ago—or even two years ago!— to recruit talent is not effective today. One size fits all just doesn’t work, and you can be sure your competitors are taking a much more aggressive approach to strengthen their arsenal to walk into this War on Talent every day.Therefore, we must reevaluate our recruitment toolboxes constantly and measure our recruiting and retention results in order to be successful.Q:  What do we know about Millennials as it relates to the current and future landscape of the workforce?A:  Millennials (born between 1982 and 2000) are the largest generation in history. According to Pew Research, this generation currently accounts for 34% of the American workforce, a number that is expected to grow to 75% by 2025. Generally speaking, Millennials seek tools and ways to make life easier; prefer to conduct business online; actively use social media, and prefer to shop local/family-owned/small businesses over “big-box” or large corporations. This is an exciting revelation that gives community banks a huge opportunity to attract Millennials as both customers and employees. You can best reach them via social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and the like.Q:  What are some common workplace values that each generation shares?A:  Regardless of age or job description, everyone needs to have a clear understanding of his or her responsibilities and know what is expected of them when it comes to priorities, goals, and performance.Whether you’re 25 or 55, you want to be recognized for your successes. A company should have recognition and reward systems in place, utilizing everything from verbal praise to coaching to incentive and bonus plans.Also, at every level within the organization, regular feedback and two-way communication are vital to making employees feel valued. While this does require leaders to seek out their employees and ask for input or ideas on important issues, the effort can produce innovative ways to improve service and performance.One CEO at the conference meets with a randomly selected group of employees for lunch once a month to bounce ideas around and solicit feedback. He said it has made a positive impact on retention and staff morale, and they have had fewer growing pains since opening up the lines of communication.Q:  How can a company attract top talent, regardless of age?A:  We live in a time where companies must build a brand and position itself as a great place to work, in order to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining talent. You don’t want to be just another place to work; you want to differentiate from your competitors and be a MAGNET. Using Millennials as an example, they would typically want to see evidence that your company is a fun place to work. Positioning your company in innovative ways also attracts talent and displays the organization’s culture in a powerful way.Q:  What are some ways banks can keep recruiting costs down while still being competitive?A:  Successful organizations are taking a much more aggressive approach with recruitment. This includes creating a recruitment culture within the company, letting staff serve as brand ambassadors and talent scouts. This also involves making vendors aware of hiring needs to build a network for quality referrals and leads.I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your current recruiting and retention strategy is relevant and frequently evaluated. Companies must attract the right candidates who not only bring the essential skills but also fit the corporate culture.Knowing these things, is it time to reevaluate your recruiting and retention strategy? To connect with one of our recruiters, contact us at 866-264-5017 or send us an email at [email protected] last_img read more

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Lions set for Ireland return

first_img Press Association Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, Rory Best, Cian Healy and O’Brien could all come into an Ireland side which was less than convincing in claiming an opening 26-3 win over Italy. O’Brien was a late withdrawal from the starting XV, but a MRI scan on Sunday night confirmed the tearaway forward suffered only a minor hamstring strain in the warm-up in Rome and he is poised to train on Tuesday, Ireland team manager Mick Kearney said on Monday. “Jonny Sexton is cleared to train fully and he is available for selection. “Cian Healy trained fully last week, including some scrummaging which he came through very well and he is available for selection.” Head injuries are under scrutiny after Wales wing George North played on despite two blows against England last Friday. Wales have been asked by World Rugby for a report on North. Ireland insisted Best was treated correctly. “As regards the George North situation, I couldn’t second guess the Welsh medical team,” Michael Kearney added. “They are saying they didn’t see the second knock he took even though it was very obvious to everyone that was watching on the TV that he was pretty well knocked out cold. “If you take them at their word there, it was obviously just a genuine error on their part. “Certainly looking at the Irish medical team, the way it is set up, with a physio at the far side of the pitch and two medics on the near side, I would hope we wouldn’t miss something like that. “In relation to Rory, the minute Rory got the knock, the medics went on to him and he was taken off straight away to do the head injury assessment which he failed. “Post game he then did another test, pretty much straight afterwards which he came through really well. “He has been very well since the game and is completing a gradual return to play protocol. “If he completes the protocol without any symptoms, he will be available for selection. He certainly will not be ruled out at this stage.” Scrum-half Conor Murray knows holders Ireland must improve against a France side which opened with a win over Scotland. He said: “The Italy game will not be good enough to beat France this weekend. We’ve got to up it. “They’ve got a lot of talent in their team. (Wesley) Fofana and (Camille) Lopez can change the game in a moment. “They can be really dangerous if you let them attack and leave them in space. “Against Scotland they won ugly and that’s the sign of a good team.” Sexton could displace Ian Keatley at fly-half at the Aviva Stadium after recovering from a head knock and number eight Heaslip could play following a shoulder injury. Prop Cian Healy is available following a torn hamstring which required surgery last September, while a fifth Lion could also be fit after going off in Rome. Hooker Rory Best is following return to play protocols following concussion. Scrum-half Eoin Reddan (knee) and wing Dave Kearney (shoulder) are fit for selection. O’Brien has not played for Ireland since the agonising late defeat to world champions New Zealand in November 2013 after two shoulder reconstruction surgeries. Michael Kearney said: “Sean O’Brien did an MRI scan last night (Sunday) which confirmed a hamstring strain on the minor end of the scale. “He is feeling good and we are hopeful that he will train with the squad tomorrow. “If he comes through that, he will be available for selection. Whether that will happen or not, we will have to wait and see. Ireland could have four Lions back for Saturday’s clash with France in Dublin, with flanker Sean O’Brien close to contention after a hamstring injury in the warm-up in Rome last weekend ruled him out of a first Test appearance in more than a year. last_img read more

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