The organic food market in the UK is booming as younger consumers increase their interest in nutrition and traceability in food sourcing, claims the Soil Association.
Sales of organic produce rose by 7.4% in the 52 weeks to July 1. Organic fruit sales were up 12.6%, tomatoes 13.1% and salad 7.9%.
The Soil Association believes the rise in organic sales is in line with heightened consumer awareness and interest in wellbeing, with more health-conscious consumers making nutritious food choices by buying goods such as smoothies, salads, fresh dairy and cereals.
Growth is said to be driven widely by younger consumers, with the 24 to 44 age group being the most committed to buying organic.
Sales of organic dairy, the largest market sector for organic, went up by 1.25%, with butter growing by 9.2% and milk by 2.9%. Production of organic milk jumped by 4.4% in 2016 and the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative estimates that one in four UK households now buys it.
The momentum around healthier food has in turn fuelled the growth of new and innovative products in the organic sector, including non-dairy milks, nutty butters and confectionery, said the Soil Association. Combined innovation and market demand mean that organic products are now available in over 8,000 outlets, including all major retailers as well as online.
Soil Association business development director Clare McDermott said: “Organic product innovation is demonstrating a wide appeal for consumers prioritising food quality, taste and wellbeing simultaneously.”
Kate Gibbs, brand manager at Waitrose, added: “Organic fruit is very popular at Waitrose, with blueberries being one of our top selling organic products, appealing to those who are searching out healthy options.
“We are also seeing significant increases in sales of other fruits such as raspberries and apricots. We also find fish and other lean proteins to be examples of the growth in organic within the segment of consumers who are focused on health and wellbeing.”
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