The UK organic market grew six per cent last year, with independent retailers recording greater growth than the supermarkets.
The Soil Association’s 2018 Organic Market Report has found that the UK organic market is now worth more than ever at £2.2bn, growing six per cent in 2017. This means the market has now had six years of steady growth, with organic now accounting for 1.5 per cent of the total UK food and drink market.
It was a good year for independent retail, which grew 9.7 per cent. This is in contrast to supermarkets, whose sales increased, but by only 4.2 per cent. Non-organic sales increased by just over two per cent. Home delivery rose by 9.5 per cent, with almost 30 per cent of all organic sales now taking place online or on the high street.
Clare McDermott, Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification, commented: “One of the biggest stories for organic over the past couple of years has been the rise of online shopping, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Driven by convenience, an ever-broader range of choice, and by younger generations entering the market, it’s no surprise online sales are outperforming the traditional supermarket on organic. Online retail is also able to adapt and innovate at a faster pace than in-store, bringing new and trend-led products to market, and people are recognising that they can often find a better range online.
“As a result, home delivery already accounts for almost 13 per cent of the organic market and the expectation is that this could reach as much as 25 per cent in the near future. It’s a good fit for organic too; the local, fresh, farm-to-door approach of box schemes is in line with the ethos of organic and appeals to consumers who value food provenance.”
Key growth areas highlighted in the report include:
– Produce, up 6.5 per cent, had the highest value growth, equating to over £20m in sales.
– Chilled foods had impressive growth at 21 per cent, now accounting for 3.4 per cent of the total UK organic market.
– Dairy increased sales by around three per cent, and still have the highest share of the organic food and drink market at nearly 29 per cent.
– The popularity of organic wine continues to grow, with sales of beers/wines/spirits increasing by over eight per cent and many supermarkets expanding their ranges of wines.
– Sales of organic and natural beauty products grew by 24 per cent, totalling £75.9m.
– The organic textiles market increased sales by 25 per cent.
In other organic news, a new international report has revealed that global sales of organic food products are at an all-time high. Consumers worldwide purchased organic food products to a total value of approximately USD 90 billion in 2016, according to a recently published report by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM – Organics International).
This means that global organic food revenues have more than quintupled since 2000.
And according to Organic Denmark, the report placed the country clearly in the lead in terms of the organic share of total food sales. The organic market share in Denmark was 9.7 per cent in 2016, while the organic share for Luxembourg in second place was 8.6 per cent, and 8.4 per cent for Switzerland in third place.
“We’re truly proud of Denmark’s position as the leading organic country in the world. It shows Danes are keen to make a difference through what they put in their shopping baskets. Danes are taking joint responsibility for protecting our common natural surroundings and drinking water from pesticides and for ensuring a good life for livestock,” commented Helle Borup Friberg, CEO of Organic Denmark (Økologisk Landsforening).