June 25, 2008

Naturally Persuasive

By Abbott, Richard

Anna Rosier Managing director, Organix We've all been there - sitting at the back of an interminable sales conference, listening to some dullard waffling on about corporate synergies or blue-sky thinking.

Anna Rosier is no exception, having endured similar situations while store operations manager for Gillette. However, where the rest of us might emit a weary sigh and make a mental note to bring a book next time, Rosier decided enough was enough.

'I was listening to these salespeople and thinking "I just don't believe anything you are saying". I wasn't going to feel very proud of being at Gillette for the next 20 years. I decided that there had be more to life than this,' she says. She handed in her notice the following morning.

Fast-forward four years, and 36-yearold Rosier is running an entrepreneurial small business that is gaining a national reputation for a range of organic baby food products, backed by a 'no junk promise', that includes fruit purees, infant cereals and snacks. Baby Organix accounts for 10% of baby food sales in the UK, while Organix Goodies, a range of children's snacks, has a major presence in the growing toddler foods arena.

Organix headquarters are located on a small island off the Dorset coast - a designated site of Special Scientific Interest, thanks to its plethora of indigenous wildlife, including kingfishers and swans.

Rosier admits that when she was first interviewed for a job as senior national account manager at the company, she had no existing passion for organic living, and little in the way of an entrepreneurial streak. All that changed, however, when she met Lizzie Vann, who founded Organix in 1992. Vann's experience of poor health in childhood had left her with a passion for improving the UK food industry with healthier foods, more honest information and a greater choice of high-quality, nutritious, organic products.

Today, the Organix ethos has carried over to all aspects of Hosier's life. She removes all additives from her diet, grows her own vegetables, and uses fresh, unprocessed ingredients along with natural household and cosmetic products. However, she shows no sign of smugness about her idealistic lifestyle. She is down-to-earth, engaging and eternally grateful that she bailed out of the corporate world when she did.

Rosier started her career 'selling Dr Pepper off the back of a van' in South Wales, before working her way up to become operations manager at CocaCola Enterprises. 'I got to a point where there was nothing more I could know about the brands; where I thought I was not adding value anymore,' she says. It was then that she moved to Gillette.

In her current role, Rosier has spear-headed a common-sense approach to making Organix products, implementing measures such as ensuring that every product that uses orange oil sources it from the same orangery.

Since joining the company, she has witnessed a shift in competitors' production methods. More now include organic products - a development that she believes Organix was instrumental in driving. However, she asserts that successful organic brands must have the ethos running throughout the business, and, more importantly, breed trust in consumers. 'For the first years of life, trust plays a huge role. This baby is the most precious thing possible and mums need to have trust in what they feed their children,' she says.

Rosier is also concerned about misleading labelling, such as where a product is labelled 'low fat' but contains high levels of sugar. 'We need to give consumers a portal that enables them to see the benefits of eating clean food that hasn't been tampered with,' she says.

She is already an ambassador for all things organic. 'I have just convinced my mum to use Ecover washing powder,' she says. 'Organic living has a wider impact on what you want out of life. It is not just a token effort. It is a real position.'

The Food Standards Agency would be well-advised to prick up its ears.

Richard Abbott

Career history

1994-2000 Territory manager, rising to operations manager, Coca- Cola Enterprises

2000-2004 Store operations manager, Gillette

2004-2007 Senior national account manager, rising to head of sales, Organix

2007-prosent Managing director, Organix

Copyright Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. May 14, 2008

(c) 2008 Marketing. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.