The largest reported growth was in the sale of organic tea © USDA
Sales of organic produce increased by 4% last year despite an overall reduction in grocery spending, according to new figures from the Soil Association.
UK shoppers spent an extra £1.4m on organic products every week in 2014, as the market grew to more than £1.8bn. At the same time, food prices fell by 1.9% and the country’s general food spend went down by more than 1%.
“Feedback from retailers indicates that shoppers are becoming more health conscious and organic products offer answers to questions about food quality and provenance,” the organisation said.
It also claimed that innovation was helping to drive growth within the sector: “The organic sector is embracing innovation in a changing retail landscape with brands adding new and innovative products, keeping customers interested in the sector. The mood among organic [businesses] is confident with 63% predicting growth in 2015 and six out of ten of these (62%) anticipating double-digit growth,” it added.
The reduction in overall food expenditure – fuelled by a surge in popularity for discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl – has affected food labels in different ways; earlier this week, the Fairtrade Foundation reported a fall in sales of Fairtrade products for the first time in the organisation’s 20-year history.
Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning said; “Three years ago, commentators were writing off the organic market in the UK. Now, with a third year of steady growth, and against a falling overall food market, it’s clear that reports of organic food’s demise were premature to say the least. This reinvigoration may be partly related to an improving economy, but it’s also testament to the fact that retailers and manufacturers who continued to invest in organic lines have continued to thrive. Now, even the discounters are beginning to stock organic ranges.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019