A leading certifier has called on the organic sector to bring resilience to Britain’s farming community.
Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) says that the organic sector could help build much-needed resilience into food and farming businesses struggling in difficult market conditions.
OF&G, one of the largest organic control bodies in the UK, also pointed out that growing market demand for organic produce means there are even more opportunities for food and farm businesses to look to organic to help drive their businesses forward.
Roger Kerr, OF&G Chief Executive, said: “There is a huge amount of uncertainty in certain sectors, but organic offers opportunities for businesses to develop. Recent industry reports have pointed to strong sales growth, with some of our own licensees reporting double-digit growth over recent years.”
Kerr added that with renewed demand, more retailers are looking to the sector to meet their needs.
“Latest data suggests over half of the UK population buys organic, with one in three buying organic produce every week,” he said. “Supermarkets have realised that shoppers aren’t driven solely by price and that there are more and more shoppers who are making their purchasing decisions based on other values.”
He added that the biggest challenge now facing the sector is for producers to be able to keep up with demand, commenting: “Consumers who want to buy organic are being forced to shop around, and that’s holding back the sector’s ability to grow at an even faster rate.
“There are definitely opportunities out there for farm businesses to add value to their produce through organic, and we need more UK producers who can help the sector meet this increasing demand.”
His comments came as OF&G launched a major rebrand of its certification operations, including a new logo and website. The new site offers visitors an easy step-by-step guide to certification, along with a revamped classified section, clear and accurate technical information and updated resources section to provide members with the industry information.
In other organic news, Soil Association Scotland has announced new growth for Scottish organics.
Latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed in the 52 weeks to January 31, there was growth of 2.6 per cent and around £52.6m spent on organic food and drink products in Scotland.
Figures were announced at the first organic market trade briefing in Scotland, where Clare McDermott, Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification, discussed the trends, challenges, consumer insights and opportunities for Scottish organic businesses.
She said: “We’re excited that the organic market in Scotland is now back in growth and we want to encourage all our licensees to make the most of new opportunities across all routes to market, from multiples to catering.”
Some 36 per cent of Scottish independent retailers say sales have increased over the last 12 months. Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) expect this to rise in 2016, with most citing consumer demand as a reason for this.