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Data reveals continued growth of organic

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The organic market continues to show growth, increasing by 6.5 per cent to the end of September.

The latest data from NielsenIQ was presented at the recent Soil Association Certification Trade Conference and shows that the organic market remains in buoyant good health with 6.5 per cent growth in the year to September 25. This is in marked contrast to non-organic, which saw sales stall over the 12 weeks. It was also revealed that half of households now buy organic.

Delegates at the conference heard that non-organic food sales have slowed significantly following their ‘lockdown high’ as restrictions have been lifted on the hospitality and food service sector but sales of organic are showing good resilience.

The trend for more sustainable and healthier organic foods, which rocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, has persisted.
Online organic sales have continued their strong growth, found to be up 33 per cent, while supermarkets, which accounted for 13 per cent of total sales of organic two years ago before the pandemic, have seen their share of total organic sales rise to 22 per cent.

Soil Association Certification’s Business Development Director, Clare McDermott, commented: “Organic sales have shown phenomenal resilience after the unprecedented growth they saw in 2020 at 12.6 per cent. Despite a significant slowing of retail sales overall, the organic market has maintained its strong performance with growth at 6.5 per cent in the year to September.

Post lockdown, there has been the expected shift back to hospitality with non-organic food sales stalling as consumers look to eat out and stay out.”

The top reasons given by consumers for buying organic included to avoid pesticides, better for the environment, and perceived to be better quality. These factors have all increased in importance for shoppers, as has animal welfare, while the taste and health benefits associated with organic foods have remained the same.

With the increase in demand for organic, shoppers are now looking for multiple organic options – sales are no longer dominated by organic milk and baby food.

The three big opportunities for organic food and drink were identified as online retailers offering a wider assortment of products, increasing the frequency of purchases by offering different size packs and top-up options, and widening the
choice across categories to encourage higher basket spends.

Sustainability is high on people agendas and Covid-19 and the climate emergency has increased this. New findings from the latest Organic Shopper Research 2021 has revealed that 71 per cent of respondents have become more concerned about the environment since the pandemic. Customers are predominantly choosing organic for reasons associated with health and the environment, although animal welfare is also important.

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