Signs that the organic market is well on its way to recovery have been confirmed with new data showing the sector is outperforming conventional.
The Soil Association has announced new figures, which reveal acceleration in the growth of the UK’s organic grocery market, beating sales of non-organic in supermarkets.
The figures from Nielsen, and presented by Mike Watkins at the Soil Association’s annual market briefing, demonstrated growth in the organic grocery market of 3.2 per cent for the four weeks to August 16, 2014 compared with a fall in the non-organic grocery market of 0.9 per cent in the same period.
This follows a trend where organic sales have been growing at 1.2 per cent compared with a stagnant non-organic market for the year to August 16, 2014. Organic sales in the UK now make up a 1.3 per cent share of the £96bn food and drink market.
The growth trend is reflected in Soil Association licensees’ organic sales, which increased eight per cent year on year, with an 11 per cent increase since April 2014.
Speaking at the market briefing, Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification, commented: “The UK’s organic market is fast improving. In fact, on top of the positive Nielsen data, our own figures show that Soil Association symbol holders are reporting an increase of eight per cent in organic sales year on year. Consumers have evidence to help them feel confident about what they buy, in the wake of the Newcastle University report showing how we farm absolutely does impact on the quality of the food we eat.
“We are also seeing supermarkets and brands making more space for organic on shelves and investing more in innovation and marketing. Combined together, all these indicators reveal the growing confidence in the organic market is well justified.”
The Soil Association market briefing also heard that new innovations and market opportunities are not restricted to the retail supply chain. It is expected that organic products will become more widely available to the foodservice industry, a market that has been invigorated by the Soil Association’s Catering Mark. Attendees also heard from Ben Woodgate, of Whole Foods Market, Andrew Ovens, of Produce World, and Ben Pugh, from Farm Drop, highlighting the wide variety of businesses and channels investing in, and supporting, organic products.