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The UK’s lead organic body, the Soil Association,  has released new sales figures showing that the UK organic market has recorded its seventh year of consecutive growth (for the 52 weeks to 30 June 2018).

Consumer research undertaken by the SA identifies numerous key factors which are said to have ‘bolstered’ the ongoing growth, with ‘healthiness’ and ‘taste and inspiration’ featuring high on the list of consumer priorities. The latest Nielsen Scantrack data sales figures – for the 52 weeks to 30 June 2018 – support the research, showing an overall sales growth of +4% (slightly down from 2016’s +7.1%).
The sales growth broken down:

  • Organic delicatessen, including chilled vegetarian products: up 27.8% year on year
  • Organic beer, wine and spirits: up 8.7%
  • Organic canned and packaged goods: up 6.6%
  • Organic meat, fish and poultry: an increase of 5.6% spurred on by barbeques and the heatwave
  • Overall, sales of organic produce (+5.3%) and dairy (+3.5%) continue to grow ahead of the non-organic market

The research concludes that, increasingly, UK consumers view organic as a ‘signifier of health’, and this is especially true in younger demographics. Meat reduction, vegetarianism and the vegan movement, too, may have impacted the growth, especially in the produce category.

“This rising demand is a major opportunity for retailers to list new brands and products and seize the momentum surrounding organic”

The SA calls the figures ‘a sign that trust in the assurance of organic food production is peaking’ and says it is evident that provenance continues to matter to consumers, following ‘recent food scares’. To meet the rising demand for organic, the SA has certified more than 3,000 new products and producers in the past year, including seaweed gin, kefir and hot cross buns. Big-brand products are also crossing over into the organic space, with Babybel introducing organic cheese and Red Bull developing its Organicsrange.

Finn Cottle, trade consultation for Soil Association Certification, attributes this increase in product line diversity, along with changing consumer attitudes, as the ‘impetus behind organic’s continued success’.

Urging retailers to ‘seize the momentum’ and take advantage of this market growth by continuing to expand their organic stock, Cottle says: “The demand for innovative new products shows the wide appeal organic holds for health-conscious consumers who prioritize food quality, taste, and wellbeing simultaneously. Organic is food as it should be, with no artificial additives or GM, and grown with fewer pesticides; factors that we know are increasingly important to shoppers.

“This summer’s results clearly show that if there is supply, demand will follow”

“This rising demand is a major opportunity for retailers to list new brands and products and seize the momentum surrounding organic – momentum that is showing no signs of slowing down. This summer’s results clearly show that if there is supply, demand will follow.”